Friday, December 11, 2009

New Poll: Huckabee trails Obama by just 1 point

The latest poll by Public Policy Polling shows that Gov. Mike Huckabee is once again the strongest Republican contender in a race with President Obama -and trails the President by just one point.

The poll - which reflects public opinion AFTER the Clemmons controversy broke - shows that if a vote were held today, Obama would get 46% of the vote, and Huckabee 45%.

Thus it looks as if the Clemmons issue has not adversely affected Huckabee's standing. Indeed, he has edged closer to the President despite it.

Of the other Republicans matched head-to-head against the President in the poll, the results are:

Obama: 47 Romney: 42
Obama: 50 Palin: 44
Obama: 48 Pawlenty: 35

In the previous poll (released in November), Huckabee had trailed Obama 49-44. His support went up one point, while Obama's dropped three in the past month.

Among independents, the new poll shows Huckabee trails Obama 49-41 - the best showing of the GOP hopefuls.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Huckabee addresses the Clemmons Case

Mike Huckabee: I Take Full Responsibility

The nation was stunned by the senseless and savage cold-blooded murders of 4 young police officers in Lakewood, Washington. Whenever a police officer or soldier is killed, I feel the loss is even more profound for they are the ones who stand between our freedom and anarchy.

At the time I write these words, police are still searching for Maurice Clemmons who is believed to be the one committing these unspeakable acts. Nine years ago, that name crossed my desk. I commuted his sentence from 108 years to 47 years. Many news reports, talk show hosts, and bloggers have erroneously said that he was granted a “pardon.” Others speak of me “setting him free.” As one who now hosts a talk show and who does daily radio commentaries, I can attest to how easy commentary is compared to actually governing. I am not seeking to justify or defend my actions of nine years ago, but it’s important that I answer for my actions and give some explanation as to how and why his sentence was commuted.

I take full responsibility for my actions of nine years ago. I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000. If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision.

Each state is different, but in Arkansas, a governor doesn’t initiate a parole—the Post Prison Transfer Board does after it conducts a thorough review of an inmate’s file and request. The board then makes a recommendation to the governor, who decides to grant or deny.

If the decision is made to grant any form of clemency (the broad term for a commutation or a full pardon), the governor gives notice of intent and the file is sent to the prosecutor, judge, law enforcement officials, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State as well as to the news media. A period of 30 days is then started for there to be public input as well as response from the above named officials. At the end of the public response period, the final decision is rendered.

Between 1,000 and 1,200 requests for some form of clemency came to my desk each and every one of the 10 ½ years I was governor. Ninety-two percent of the time, I denied the requests. When I did grant them, it was usually based on the recommendation of at least five of the members of the PPTB, with consideration given to the input from public officials.

Maurice Clemmons was 16 years old when he was charged with burglary and robbery. He was sentenced to a total of 108 years based on the way in which the sentences were stacked. For the crimes he committed and the age at which he committed the crimes, it was dramatically outside the norm for sentencing. The PPTB recommended in 2000 by a 5-0 vote for his sentence to be commuted.

He had served 11 years of his sentence. A pardon would have set him free and cleared his record. A commutation to “time served” would have set him free and released him from any parole reporting. As per the recommendation, I commuted his sentence to the term of 47 years, still a long sentence for the type of crime he had committed, but it would make him parole eligible. It would not parole him, as governors do not have that power in Arkansas. He would have to separately apply for parole and meet the criteria for that.

Despite news reports to the contrary, the only record of public response to the notice to commute was from the trial judge, who recommended the commendation in concert with the board. There were letters of support, but no record of letters of opposition.

Following the commutation, he met the criteria for parole and was paroled to supervision in late 2000. When he violated terms of his parole by participating in additional crimes, he was returned to prison and should have stayed there. For reasons only the prosecutor can explain, charges were not brought forth in a timely way and the prosecutor ended up dropping the charges, allowing him to leave prison and return to supervised parole.

He moved to Washington state and had intermittent criminal activity that increased in violence and frequency. He was allowed to post bail in Washington state and while on bail from there committed the unspeakable acts of murdering four valiant police officers. I can’t explain why he wasn’t prosecuted properly for the parole violations or why he was allowed to make bail in Washington state and not incarcerated earlier for crimes committed there.

I wish his file had never crossed my desk, but it did. The decision I made is one that I now wish were different, but I could only look backwards at his case, not forward. None of this is of any comfort to the families of these police officers nor should it be. Their loss is senseless. No words or deeds by anyone will bring them back to their loved ones. Our system is not perfect and neither are those responsible for administering it.

The system and those of us who are supposed to make sure it works sometimes fail. In this case, we clearly did.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Huckabee and the Clemmons case

This explains the issue so well:

This post is the personal opinion by HucksArmy Director David Schmidt.

Let me first start by saying that the killing of the four police officers in the state of Washington was a revolting and horrific act. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with all those who are grieving and we trust that justice will be swift and strong.

The following are the details connecting Clemmons and Huckabee:

Maurice Clemmons is wanted for questioning by police in connection to the killing of four officers in Lakeland, Washington

Maurice Clemmons was sentences to a 108 year prison term for his actions in 3 incidents as a 16 year old youth. These actions appear to be the:

Robbery of cell phone and house appliances from unoccupied house
Robbery of purse off of a women without the use of a weapon
Possession of a firearm

Huckabee On May 3, 2000, Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted (lessened) Clemmons’ 108 year sentence to 47 years, 5 months and 19 days, which made him eligible for parole that day.

The Parole Board granted his parole July 13, 2000.

He was released Aug. 1, 2000.

In light of what appears to be Clemmons killing of 4 officers, would anybody want this guy to ever be free to do that? No.

Is it excessive to sentence a person to a 108 year sentence for 3 serious but non-violent crimes as a 16-year -old youth? I think so. You may disagree.

Did Huckabee know that Clemmons was going to apparently kill four police officers 9 years after his parole from prison? No.

The question in regards to Huckabee is whether he showed negligent judgment in commuting the sentence of Clemmons.

It is my opinion that Huckabee did not show a serious lack of judgment for allowing Clemmons to be eligible for parole after serving for 11 years. When considering that the crimes were non-violent and committed at the age of 16, I don’t believe that it is unreasonable to allow a person to be eligible for parole after serving 11 years.

We can’t blame Huckabee for a decision that he made without knowledge of future crimes although we can blame him for poor judgment based on what he already knew. Based on that, I think his judgment was well within the bounds of reason. You may differ in your opinion and you are welcome to do that.

Download official Arkansas court and clemency documents behind this post at:

DISCLOSURE: I like Huckabee. I have met him a few times and have found him warm and consistent. I also am a leader of a grassroots group called HucksArmy that supported Huckabee in 2008 and helps advocate for conservatives and common-sense government. While this association may make you think that I only want to defend Huckabee because I like him, I encourage you to make your judgement based on the soundness of this post and not who I am.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving message from Huckabee

Thanksgiving is a special day for our nation. It is a day to give thanks for the bounty we have been so blessed to receive. It is also a day to give thanks and offer prayers for our military. As I sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends, I find myself thinking of all the things we have to be thankful for.

I give thanks that I am an American, free to live and worship as I choose, free to speak my mind on important issues and free to travel where I choose when I choose. We truly are a land of plenty. Our nation and our people have been blessed with a standard of living unprecedented in the history of mankind.

Although we recognize that these are challenging times, and that millions of Americans are suffering from unemployment, let us gather together on this special day, enjoy our families and friends and say a special prayer for our country and its people. May we remain the land of freedom.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Huckabee on Palin and his Own Pro-life Views

Some folks have tried to balme Mike's supporters for a hit piece put out on Palin and her pro-life views. This clip makes it clear how he feels about her.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Superficial reporting?

Our local newspaper ran a syndicated story from the Associated Press by Liz Sidoti ("GOP hopefuls begin jockeying for 2012").

Who are mentioned in the lead? Palin, Pawlenty and Romney. Huckabee is buried deep in the article along with the "others."

I posted the following on the newspaper's forum:

I read the AP story in the 11/15 issue ("GOP hopefuls begin jockeying for 2012") with interest - and then disappointment.

The article seems prompted by Palin's book tour and the media attention she is getting - which is fine. I like Palin.

But then as the writer analyzes the Republican hopefuls, she sticks Mike Huckabee at the tail end as an afterthought.

Huckabee currently leads in all the recent GOP polls. He is also is out on a book tour of his own with a bestseller, and has the highest rated cable show on weekends. His radio commentaries are carried on hundreds of stations. Why is he stuck at the end? Did someone not do her research?

At the moment, the polls show Huckabee, Palin and Romney are the leading contenders for the GOP nomination. A fair article should reflect that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Smart move by Huckabee (NY 23)

A few weeks back, Huckabee took some heat for not getting involved in a Congressional race here in New York.

Post election, he looks like he showed good judgement.

Republican conservatives and moderates were caught up in a battle over New York’s 23rd Congressional district. The GOP endorsed candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was pro-abortion and pro gay rights. She was battling the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, and a Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, whose views fit in better with Huckabee's on these and other issues.

But despite calls to endorse Hoffman - as did Sarah Palin, and eventually, Tim Pawlenty - Huckabee declined. (So did Mitt Romney.)

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich endorsed Scozzafava.

Huckabee was reluctant to endorse outside the Party. His policy has been to push conservatives to primary fellow Republicans, not to run in the general election again them (Rubio vs. Crist down in Florida, for example). But he also could not openly support a Republican whose views so differed from his own.

Just before the election, Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed the Democratic candidate. Egg on the face of Gingrich.

Then the Democratic candidate bested Hoffman - giving a normally safe Republican seat to the the Democrats.

That won't make Palin look good - though at least she came in early and was consistent. Pawlenty looked like he was being opportunistic, so that won't help him either, especially since the Republicans lost what had been a safe seat.

In the end, Huckabee showed good political sense without compromising his beliefs - and he did not antagonize GOP leaders. Even if they are not enthusiastic about him, he will seem less of a threat than Palin.

And if it comes down to Romney and Huckabee, at least some of the Romney-leaning leadership will have an easier time backing Huckabee when he wins the nomination.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Huckabee: Former PP director turns pro-life

This clip of Abby Johnson, the Planned Parenthood director who quit and became pro-life after watching an ultrasound of an abortion has been getting wide play. It can only help to cement Huckabee's credentials among pro-lifers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Huckabee tops latest Rasmussen poll

Governor Mike Huckabee continues to built a lead among Republicans. The latest sign of that is a Rasmussen poll dated October 16:

Huckabee 29%
Romney 24%
Palin 18%
Gingrich 14%
Pawlenty 4%

The accompanying article mentions, "These numbers reflect an improvement for Huckabee since July when the three candidates were virtually even. Huckabee’s gain appears to be Palin’s loss as Romney’s support has barely changed."

The article also notes - "Romney leads all prospects among voters who attend church once a month or less. Huckabee leads among more frequent churchgoers. Huckabee holds a huge lead among Evangelical Christians with Palin in second and Romney a distant third. Huckabee and Romney are essentially even among other Protestants while Romney has the edge among Catholics."

We have to work on that Catholic part.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Value Voters Favor Huckabee

Among the contenders for the GOP Presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee is the clear front runner among Value Voters.

At the Values Voter Summit in Washington this weekend, Huckabee easily won the Presidential straw poll taken Saturday with nearly 29 percent of the vote - getting more than double the support of any other candidate, and, in fact, besting any two other candidates combined!'

Romney, Pawlenty, Palin and Pence each won roughly 12 percent of the 597 votes cast.

It's a long way to 2012, but if he can sew up the conservative and religious base, he can then reach out to broaden his appeal to independents and moderates.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Romney reveals what he believes?

Romney's true beliefs? Or just what he thinks the audience believes or wants to hear?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Poll: Huckabee on top

The results of a Washington Post poll:

27. (ASKED OF REPUBLICANS AND GOP-LEANING INDEPENDENTS) If the 2012 Republican presidential primary or caucus in your state were being held today, and the candidates were (READ LIST) for whom would you vote?

Mike Huckabee 26%
Mitt Romney 21%
Sarah Palin 19%
Newt Gingrich 10%
Tim Pawlenty 4%
Jeb Bush 3%
Haley Barbour 1%
Bobby Jindal (vol.) 2%
Charlie Crist (vol.) *

It's only 2009, but Huckabee is slowly beginning to edge ahead in some polls. A recent Public Policy Polling poll also had him closer than any other Republican to Obama in a head-to-head race, trailing 48-42. Last month he trailed by seven points.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Have a Nightmare

Yesterday, our new Attorney General made a public speech commemorating African-American History Month. Among other notable statements, Holder called this country “a nation of cowards”, because “we, average Americans” fail to discuss and work out “unresolved racial issues”.

My first reaction to Holder's comments was that Obama's election is living proof that he is right, i.e., that the nation would rather elect the left-most US Senator (from the corrupt Chicago political machine, no less) to the Presidency just because he is black, in order to pretend it had gotten beyond the race issue, than to confront it. (This is the meaning of the satire, "Barack, the Magic Negro", based on an idea expressed by an African-American LA Times reporter.)

But the more I read Holder's statements, the more troubled I get. Specifically, Holder acknowledged that America has done “a pretty good job of melding the races in the workplace”, but then decried the largely segregated lives that black and white Americans continue to lead “(O)n Saturdays and Sundays.”

So, what’s the DOJ got to do with what Americans do in their spare time, you ask? “Through its work and through its example, this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must—and will—lead the nation to the ‘new birth of freedom’ so long ago promised by our greatest President (Lincoln).”, continued Holder.

Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but I just don’t seem to remember that Lincoln ever tried or suggested using the US Department of Justice “through its work”, to enforce any sort of social agenda for the private lives of Americans.

But it sounds like our new Attorney General intends for the DOJ to get into the business of criminalizing non-integrated church-going and socializing. Outside of the fact that this seems to portend an Orwellian nightmare of government intrusion into citizens' private lives, it is also ironic in that it has been the liberals all along who have hijacked the civil rights movement and consistently sought to divide the nation racially, fighting the noble "I have a dream"-type dream of an integrated society every step of the way.

In truth, of course, there is only one human race; racism belonging on that scrap heap of fictitious ideas that have wreaked such havoc with modern society, right along with man-made global warming, Keynesian economics and "safe abortion”.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Stand your ground, Chip!

It might seem that there's already too much being made of the flap over our good friend, Chip Saltsman's including Paul Shanklin's "Barack, the magic Negro" parody in a Christmas gift CD to fellow Republicans. But I'm jumping in here for the simple reason that every published quote I can find on this one misses the point.

Let's just look at the reactions in the mix: First, we have the Democrat opposition types already pulling their "R word" trigger, with RNC Chair Mike Duncan, fellow RNC Chair candidate Saul Anuzis, ND party chair Gary Emineth and no less prominent a figure than Newt Gingrich piling on and suggesting that this episode should end Chip's bid to succeed Duncan as national Party Chairman.

Then we have some real stand-up guys like fellow RNC Chair candidate Ken Blackwell supporting Chip and chiding other RNC members for dissing him. Blackwell said: "When looked at in the proper context, these concerns (about Chip's sending the parody around) are minimal." Said OK committeewoman Carolyn McClarty: “I don’t think he intended it as any kind of racial slur. I think he intended it as a humor gift,” adding “I think it was innocently done by Chip.”

So what's missing here, you ask? I would suggest a little perspective is missing. There's no question that a good perspective has to take into account that there is still a tremendous race-counsciousness and racism in America. So in fact, one really can't put out a parody about a "magic Negro" without provoking that 800-pound gorilla.

But here's the problem, as I see it: The Democrats want us all to pet the gorilla and keep him fat and happy and full of bananas. And those in the GOP who are afraid of them and their media sponsors want us to go along and do just that. That's what poor ol' Senator Trent Lott did, and the gorilla sat on him!

I would suggest that thoughtful Americans--certainly thoughtful Republicans--want to get rid of that gorilla called American racism. And how best to do that than with a great parody that pokes fun at racists and race-baiters like Al Sharpton? That's what Shanklin's parody of Sharpton does so brilliantly in "Barack, the Magic Negro". I remember when my old college friend Dwight Raiford organized the re-institution of the Harlem Little League baseball team some years ago. I was hoping he might call the team the "Harlem Whiteskins", as a way to do the same thing: make a mockery of racism.

So hang in there, Chip. And thank you for being unafraid to help us all laugh at America's foibles. Feeding the gorilla will only make it grow. But laughing at it ultimately might just make it go away.