Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Most Serious Error of Judgment

Timothy Egan, New York Times blog columnist, claims that conservatives are not holding Mike Huckabee accountable for his role in the early release of a man (still at large) accused of shooting four police officers dead this past Sunday. Egan claims that if Huckabee had been a Democrat, "right-wing blowhards" (such civility there) would be assailing him.

Well, Egan is wrong, at least concerning one conservative. Yesterday, radio host Hugh Hewitt said that Huckabee's political career was over. He made no excuses for him. If Huckabee did, in fact, play a major role in this serial offenders early release (which seems certain), then I can only agree. (I have never been a big fan of his anyway.) Conservatives are historically known for their support of "law and order." That doesn't mean that all offenders should be sent to jail for as long as possible, but it does mean protecting civilians from incorrigible criminals and justly punishing serious criminals.


ryan said...

I think even Hugh is wrong on this one along with the New York Times.

Huckabee reduced his sentence from 62 years down to 40 years with the possibility with parole based on the recommendation of the judge and a 5-0 vote of the parole board.

The man was convicted of robbery at the age of 16 and the sentence was seen as to extreme for someone who was under age at the time.

I think Hugh should have done a little more homework before taking Huckabee to task on this matter.

This is really where our instant media fails us as it cares nothing about finding out the facts or the process that took place or that is normative for a certain situation.

Seth L. Cooper said...

Whoa there, NYT blogger guy. It's not as if there is a 24/7 Anti-Huckabee Center or full-time Against-Huck Foundation around to fire off an immediate press release. This NYT guy seems overeager to blast conservatives for not blasting Gov. Huckabee. But plenty of conservatives have voiced their dismay over then-Gov. Huckabee's decision. All the NYT guy needs to do is open his eyes. One need look no further than Michelle Malkin's blog to read a well-known conservative take on Huckabee's "Horton moment." There's lots more of that to be found around on conservative media outlets and blogs--such as this one. And Dr. Grouthius is spot-on with the law & order views of many conservatives.

The apparent cop killer clearly bears ultimate responsibility for the horrific murders of those four police officers. Yet, Huckabee (among others) does bear some responsibility for what happened. After all, he directly intervened to help put the cop killer back on the street.

So the cop killer committed some crimes and got a stiff sentence as a young man. Let the punishment fit the crime, I say. Substituting one's feelings or good intentions for the verdict of a jury and the sentence provided under law is never a good thing. (What about the victims?) But that's what appears to have happened here.

(Interestingly, the US Supreme Court is now considering whether it constitutes "cruel or unusual punishment" to incarcerate a juvenile for life without parole for a non-capital offense. For one, I simply don't think the constitution gives federal judges the power to sustantively second-guess sentencing ranges. Determining the range of criminal punishment in law is a legislative task. But maybe this awful crime will put the issue into perspective.)

I was never a Huckabee supporter, and before Sunday I thought his chances in 2012 were very slim. Now, as far as a Presidential run goes, Huck is toast. I'm sorry it had to be for this reason. And while I won't hesitate to reiterate that Huckabee made a fatefully awful decision entirely deserving of blame, I can't help think the demise of his political future utterly pales in comparison to the loss to the slain officers' family, friends & colleagues. I used to live and go to school just down the street from where the four police officers were gunned down in cold blood. Cops who served in that area have a tough and important job. This was an evil, sickening crime.

The cop killer is now dead. I hope that anyone who aided him in his flight from justice are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And I welcome further sunlight on the particpants in the legal & political process that led to his repeated release on the streets--including examination of Huckabee's role.

pgepps said...

Yeah, I think one reason many conservatives and roughly-Republican-leaning folks, like me, have not felt the need to "distance" ourselves from Huckabee is that we were never standing very close to him. I opposed his entry, denounced his politics, hated his gainsaying in Christ's name both as a televangelist huckster and a politician, and never have thought he was authentically conservative. Having said all that, why would I (or many like me) feel the need to either defend or attack him? This argument was hashed out in the primary quite publicly, as I recall. It's not the "smoking gun" against Huck--his speeches, record, and policy stances are enough to drum him out of the movement.

We don't need more gross populists. We need reliable defenders of the Constitution and opponents of statism.