Higher ground | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 18, 2006

Higher ground

Posted By on Mon, Dec 18, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Gov. Mike Huckabee's new book, "From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 STOPs to restoring America's greatness," was peddled to gala guests Saturday night. Huckabee said it wouldn't be available in bookstores until January. But, like a lot of things the governor says, you don't want to take it to the bank.

We just picked up a copy at a bookstore after seeing AP had run through some of the highlights, including his warning to read blogs less and the Bible more. (Other similar advice: listen to more music, less radio talk. Read more newspaper features, fewer letters to the editor.)

We note the governor accuses an unnamed "tabloid" of regularly speaking inaccurately of his "pardon" of Wayne Dumond. We know who he's talking about and we have done no such thing. We are well aware that he issued no pardon, but he did pull strings with the parole board to do the deed to let the killer out of prison to kill again. Check our article for yourself here. In this brief book passage, the Huckster also makes it appear that all the parole board members were Democratic appointees, though a a reappointee of his -- a lifelong Democrat who desperately wanted to hang onto the well-paying job -- was a key vote for Dumond's release and others who went with Huckabee would likewise be reappointed by Huckabee.  In short, the book blames Dumond's release on Clinton and Tucker, overlooking his own loud and long advocacy of Dumond's cause, including through a right-wing tabloid columnist in New York using Dumond to beat up on Clinton, then popular. Huckabee has always looked good joining a parade. He could tell the truth here and not look so bad.

He could say accurately: He thought a wrong had been done to the castrated Dumond. He backed off executive clemency -- with its immediate release -- in the face of the victim's outcry. But he encouraged a supervised parole because he thought Dumond was rehabilitated and had served long enough. He was wrong in his judgment of the man's character he came to find out. He's sorry.

No breath will be held for this outcome. Indeed, Huckabee's book erroneously says Dumond died in prison in Missouri without having been convicted of another murder and with questions unanswered. But he was convicted of a killing in Missouri, with the help of DNA evidence. He did die before a second similar murder could be pinned to him there but he was the prime suspect.

The book is a litany of wonderful achievements against great odds and an abiding feeling that he is underappreciated. About being in public life:

"People you thought were your friends will abandon you and people you knew were your enemies will prove it! While some people will accuse you of breaking your promises to them, other people will break their promises to you.

"People will often tell me that they are behind me, but what that means is that they are way behind me and nowhere near when the bullets are flying. While occasionally a corrupt politician like Randy Duke Cunningham of San Diego will sell his office for personal wealth, more often than not people in public service will sacritfice their level of income compared to what they could have made had they used the same talents in the private sector.

"During my tenure I had the distinction of being the lowest paid governor in America ...

Et cetera. Et cetera  This from a man who says earlier in his book: "I learned early in life that complaining, whining or blaming others for my problems not only failed to garner much sympathy from those around me, but did nothing to improve my situation."

UPDATE: A fun link to NY Post's Steve Dunleavy on the terrible mistreatment of Wayne Dumond and how a new governor was going to ride to the rescue, months before it happened. (And don't forget the "Dear Wayne" letter, which said, Huck to Wayne: "My desire is that you  be released from prison.")

Many say that Dumond is the victim of one of the most bone-crunching and infuriating examples of Clinton-clan justice the country has ever seen. And now, because Clinton's alleged bagman, Gov. Jimmy Guy Tucker, is going to jail, Dumond is set to see freedom.

"The new Governor, Mike Huckabee, has assured me Wayne will be a free man," Mrs. Dumond said Thursday. "He is not one of the Clinton crowd. He is a very fair man. He has always been disturbed about the way the Clinton people never wanted my husband free," she added.

...Dwayne Harris, a spokesman for Huckabee, the Republican lieutenant governor who will succeed Democrat Tucker, told me Friday that Huckabee " has voiced a very special intention to thoroughly review the case of Wayne Dumond."

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