Huckabee and Dumond: Succumbing to the Anti-Clinton Zealots

Sam Stein at Huffington Post has a new article on Mike Huckabee and the parole of Arkansas rapist Wayne Dumond. Shorter version: He succumbed to the anti-Clinton zealots.

The individuals who served on Arkansas' parole board recounted a similar Huckabee mindset. And Butch Reeves, the governor's top aide, told the Huffington Post on Wednesday that, contrary to his now former boss's claims, Huckabee lobbied the parole board to reverse its previous rejection. Huckabee has said that in supporting Dumond's parole he was merely following the judgment of the board. But just one month earlier the board had voted 4-to-1 against Dumond's parole

By that point in time, those who have followed the case claim, Huckabee was convinced both of Dumond's rehabilitation in prison and of his victimhood at the hands of the Clinton machine. Throughout the case, they claim, Huckabee exhibited poor judgment and a lack of political skill.

Stein interviewed Dumond's lawyer, John Wesley Hall (who contributes to TalkLeft as Last Night in Little Rock) about whether he ever met with Huckabee. The answer is no.


When Huckabee's predecessor, Jim Guy Tucker, was considering commutation, he and Hall Jr. had a two-and-a-half hour meeting to discuss its merits.

With Huckabee, Hall Jr. says, "I never talked with the governor. In fact, I can't recall ever meeting him."

My lengthy interview with John is here.

Max Brantley, Executive Editor of the Arkansas Times who has reported in depth on the case for many years (here's an excellent example) tells Stein:

"The whole deal about the Dumond case, and it can be overanalyzed, was that this was a bad guy with a proven record of sexual misconduct and violence. This is the last guy you want to set free,....And Huckabee formed the judgment to do this not after consulting anyone but after being sold a story and buying it. It's kind of like Bush and weapons and mass destruction."

Because Clinton was a distant cousin of the victim, he was blamed for Dumond being in and remaining in jail. It seems Huckabee's actions in advocating for Dumond's release were primarily motivated by these anti-Clinton sentiments:

"Huckabee saw East Arkansas County [where Dumond was arrested] as a Democratic political machine and probably assumed the worst," Jay Barth, a political science professor at Arkansas' Hendrix College and an authority on state politics, told the Huffington Post. "There were people pushing that story and Huckabee was clearly susceptible to it. But he also had this basic notion that people can be taken care of through the system... You have to recognize what an immature - in terms of time - governor, Huckabee was at that point. I don't know if the Mike Huckabee of four years later would have been susceptible to these forces."

A roundup of prior coverage at HuffPo and TalkLeft is here.

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