Apr 15, 2011


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Why Mike Huckabee Can’t Run for President

The former Republican governor released a criminal who went on to kill four cops. He never apologised – nor for anti-gay slurs

Fred Karger, Tuesday 12 April, 2011 14.30 BST


While governor of Arkansas the Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee commuted the 108-year sentence of convicted felon Maurice Clemmons. In November 2010, Clemmons shot to death four police officers in Seattle. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP

Does the name Willie Horton ring a bell? Sure, the murderer of a 16-year-old boy who then Governor Michael Dukakis let out of prison on a weekend furlough. While furloughed, Horton left Massachusetts and went to Maryland where he brutally attacked an innocent young couple in their home. Rape and torture went on 12 hours until Cliff Barnes, who was stabbed 22 times, managed to escape and called police. Horton was captured, went back to prison and two more lives were forever changed.

I am very familiar with the case. I ran committee for the presidency on behalf of George HW Bush in 1988. We helped the victims of Willie Horton tell their stories.

Now, 23 years later, former Governor Mike Huckabee finds himself in a similar situation, only worse. While governor of Arkansas, 11 years ago, Huckabee commuted the 108-year prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons then went on a crime spree and ended up in Seattle, Washington, where on 19 November 2010, he casually walked into a coffee shop early one morning and shot and killed four police officers while they were eating breakfast. He fired at point blank range, killing all four instantly.

Mike Huckabee has the blood of those four police officers on his hands. He has never even apologised to the families of the slain officers, or showed any remorse for what happened in Seattle that day.

One year ago, Mike Huckabee said terrible things about my community and me. He compared gay marriage to incest, polygamy and drug abuse. He said that gay couples should not be able to adopt: “These are not puppies, raising children is not an experiment.” Who the hell is he to cast aspersions on others?

I don’t like self-righteous bullies. So, I will from time to time bring up the hypocrisy of those others who are considering running for president in 2012.

I have written three previous columns asking Mike Huckabee to apologise to the victims of these horrific murders and to the millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans whom he brands as unfit parents. He certainly owes us an apology, as well.

So, Mike, if you are thinking of running for president, you might think again.