Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The clemency issue: A solution?

As a Huckabee supporter, the whole clemency issue worries me. I don't think it is as fatal as some supporters of other candidates seem to think (hasn't moved Huckabee one bit in the polls), I honestly think there are more people out there than previously thought who can understand how he was thinking and sympathize with him.

Having said that, there are some people who won't. I think that those people are mostly in the south, a region known for being tough on crime (with death penalty etc being common), and Huckabee will win the south anyway since he is a southern conservative (the only major candidate from the south).

Still, you never know what an attack ad might do. An ad showing pictures of the police officers who died, or even worst, of the grieving family, may be hard to respond to.

Here is my advice to Gov. Huckabee: No more clemencies, no more pardons, no more commutations or whatever it's called. Promise that you as a president would never pardon anyone, not during any circumstances. Show that you have learned your lesson.

No-one thinks that Huckabee enjoyed seeing those police officers get killed, I'm sure he felt horrible about it. And people understand this too; no-one thinks that he wanted to get anyone killed. All he has to do now is to show that he really does regret it and will do anything, even something as radical as never issuing any new pardons as president, to make sure it never happens again.

Huckabee wasn't responsible for those deaths. Maurice Clemmons was. Washington State bears more guilt than Huckabee, but as long as Huckabee can be associated with Clemmons in some way, he'll have to respond. Perception matters in elections.

Will this completely repair any damage caused by the clemencies? No, of course not, but people may get tired of hearing of it if you hammer it long enough, especially if Huckabee has already stated he'll never pardon anyone. Just like cap-and-trade is unlikely to hurt Pawlenty, now that he has turned around completely on the issue (in light of new evidence which seems to contradict the man-made global warming hypothesis). No, it's not the same thing, but the best way to make an issue die away is to just apologise and promise never to repeat the mistake. If you can do so credibly (and Huckabee is good at appearing credible), it's not too hard to earn the voters' forgiveness. If Huckabee were to promise not to issue any pardons as president, who wouldn't believe him? Like I said, it's not like he wants anyone to get killed, if he says that he has learned from experience, that will be hard to dispute.

What do the rest of you think? Would it be enough of Huckabee to simply promise never to pardon anyone if he becomes president, or what does he have to say?


RockyTFS said...

"what does he have to say?"

two things:

1. I'm sorry
2. I'm not running for President

He can't have one without the other.

John said...

Haha, I think the first one, together with "As President, I will never issue another pardon" will do.

zeke said...

His problem can't be explained away.

Apologizing now would only make him look like more of a hypocrite that he is already.

The time to apologize was when he had NOTHING TO GAIN from it.

Not now, when the stakes are high!

John said...

He has already repeatedly said he is sorry about it. I'm just saying he should add that he will never pardon anyone as president. That should calm things down.

C4H said...


You should post the title and link of your blog post on the pro-Huckabee sites. You'll get more comments that way:

The clemency issue: A solution? http://www.rightspeak.net/2011/04/clemency-issue-solution.html

Anonymous said...

No. he must not run. This is a big issue. With huck, if a terrorist at Gitmo finds the Christian God, will he be set free?

Anonymous said...

the steps to 'repentance' are this:
1. recognize you've done wrong.
2. work to correct the wrong, if possible
3. promise to never repeat the wrong.

which means, we should not put him a position where his 'repentance' will be for naught. In other words huck, keep your day job at Fox.

Anonymous said...

"What do the rest of you think?"

That you repeat yourself an awful lot. Five times you suggested that Huck promise to not pardon anyone if elected president.

John said...

Sorry about repeating myself, I'm a tad tired (it's 4 Am where I am).

Since no politician is without flaws, I suppose that means no-one should seek higher office then? Or would you seriously like to claim that there is a flawless politician?

C4H, thanks for the advice. I'll think about that.

We don't want to take a chance with a pathological pardoner said...

I think we may have a 'Doubting Johnny' on our hands.

If you have DOUBTS John and you're looking for others to help you through this doubtful period,
SORRY, no sympathy here.

Right Wingnut said...

John, I know you are from the other side of the world, but people from regions other than the south want their elected officials to be tough on crime. I'm from blue/purple MN. I don't know many liberals who are accepting of dangrerous criminals being let out of prison. The conservatives here are just as conservative as the conservatives in the south.

There are exceptions of course. Pablo is from South Carolina, for example. He would not be viewed as a conservative by most Republicans that I know.

Ironically, Norm Coleman lost to Al Franken because he wasn't conservative enough. A significant portion of the base refused to vote for him last time. Dumb move, IMO, but I know a handful of people that left the Senate race blank.

Noelle said...

Sorry John. Huckabee's clemencies disqualify him, in my opinion, from being president. There are other reasons why I don't support him, such as his support of the nanny state, his raising taxes, and his ethical problems, not to mention that I perceive him to be petty and vindictive, but the clemencies are the absolute deal breaker.

Anonymous said...

"He would not be viewed as a conservative by most Republicans that I know."

RW, get over Pablo's intellectual superiority.

John, Huck can't promise not to do it again, because he will. Maybe he'll even break his record. I suppose that depends on how many are willing to 'come to Jesus'. But it doesn't matter anyway. Huck can't unring the bell.


Right Wingnut said...


I'll concede that Pablo is a better writer than I am, but to suggest that he has "intellectual superiority" is a bridge too far. Furthermore, Intellectual ability has nothing to do with my assertion that he would be viewed as a liberal republican by most conservatives I know.

Anonymous said...

RW - chill, I didn't say anything about your writing. (I don't happen to like your foul mouth, though!) I'm just joking around because you guys have your shorts in a bunch over Pablo all the time.

My guess is that Pablo is a pretty smart guy, though. And yes, he is totally a conservative.


Anonymous said...

John, one thing that really bothers me is that you Huck fans don't really give a darn about the lives Huck destroyed with his lenient policy of clemencies.

Huck got the ball rolling on Clemmons, no matter how much you all try to say otherwise. And the man was dangerous--Huck knew it, and now he's lying to cover the tracks. Either that, or he didn't read the file. I think it's sick to sit here and pretend that Clemmons was some kind of victim. Sick sick sick.

Huck didn't give a damn about the victims or their families. He kept right on rinsing and repeating.


Anonymous said...

Sure huck has apologized several times but it was more like a " sorry but its not my fault". He went to blame race, the arkansas parole board, and everybody but himself, when in the end it was his signature at the bottom line that released his criminals.

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton apologized for staining Monica's dress. And we believe him right? Apologies from politicians aren't worth spit.

OhioJOE said...

"Huck didn't give a damn about the victims or their families. He kept right on rinsing and repeating." Sound like your Geogian friend with regards to mandates. 'mandates work for MA, lalalala, it sucks to be a resident of the other 49 states lala' Maybe Mr. Huckabee should use that same logic 'Oh well, who care about the police in WA, at least the police in AR are OK.' I know that sounds harsh, but logically, that it what it sounds like to me.