I defended Governor Mike Huckabee regarding his commuting Maurice Clemmons sentence so that it made him parole eligible.  I still believe in that instance (without the ability to see into the future) that the sentencing in this case was not just.

He explained the process involved, and it sounded like he received feedback from involved parties.  But then I read the following exchange after the Maurice Clemmons commutation.

Now this is anecdotal evidence, but it does have me scratching my head.  The first letter is from Robert Herzfeld, the Prosecuting Attorney of the 22nd Judicial District of Arkansas written to Governor Mike Huckabee on January 13, 2004.  You can read it below or here (if you don’t have good eyesight).

Then Cory Cox, the Deputy Legal Counsel and Adviser on Criminal Justice responded to Robert Herzfeld on January 16, 2004 on behalf of Governor Mike Huckabee.  You can read below or here.

I guess what I fail to understand is why Mr. Herzfeld’s letter was so funny, he expresses a legitimate concern.  Also why would the Governor (or his staff) respond in such an unprofessional manner?  This is certainly making me rethink my defense of his clemency policy in general.  Why would people want to express dissent if they are responded to in such a snarky manner?  If more items like this come out if he had any 2012 aspirations at all they are, if they weren’t before, effectively dead, dead, dead.

HT: Hawkeye Review

Update: Iowans Rock pointed out that Robert Herzfeld was a political opponent of Governor Huckabee, and likely had political motivation for writing his letter.

My response:

I’ll accept that there was political motivations on the part of the prosecuting attorney, but doesn’t mean his concern is totally without merit. Whether he was running for office or not he was still a prosecuting attorney in the state of Arkansas. Cox has no excuse for responding the way he did, especially on Governor’s office letterhead. Sorry. It was unprofessional, and if that isn’t what Governor Huckabee meant to convey then Cox did him a disservice and he should have been disciplined.

16 comments
  1. Well, well, well, Shane. It didn’t take you long to dash away from HotAir and jump on the four dead police officers political circus/2012 prospective commercials bandwagon.

    All I’ve got to tell you is do your own research on the man who wrote the initial letter, what he was running for at the time, and his relationsip with Huckabee, and then put the pieces together on why Cox responded the way he did.

    Interesting how other peoples’ manuscripts bear more weight in this than anything straight from Huckabee himself. But why bother, I’m sure the motives of these two people writing the letters are completely pure, right? Yeah, right…………

    You really try to sound so sincere but your motives are very apparent.
    .-= Iowans Rock´s last blog ..Tales from the Astroturf =-.

    1. @Iowans Rock, Oh yes because I’m trolling around looking for stuff to slam Huckabee with. Do you really think I turned into a Huckabee hater?

      I like Huckabee, and my defense of him was sincere, and I do believe with the facts presented at the time with Maurice Clemmons he did make the right decision. Perhaps you have motives when you criticize people, but I don’t in this regard. I would have liked to see him run in 2012. I think it would be good to have a vigorous primary. I may not have supported him, it really depends on who is running, but I would have given him a serious look again.

      So your attempt at impugning my integrity by questioning my motives is disappointing and insulting.

      I’ll accept that there was political motivations on the part of the prosecuting attorney, but doesn’t mean his concern is totally without merit. Whether he was running for office or not he was still a prosecuting attorney in the state of Arkansas. Cox has no excuse for responding the way he did, especially on Governor’s office letterhead. Sorry. It was unprofessional, and if that isn’t what Governor Huckabee meant to convey then Cox did him a disservice and he should have been disciplined.

  2. “I’ll accept that there was political motivations on the part of the prosecuting attorney, but doesn’t mean his concern is totally without merit. Whether he was running for office or not he was still a prosecuting attorney in the state of Arkansas. Cox has no excuse for responding the way he did, especially on Governor’s office letterhead. Sorry. It was unprofessional, and if that isn’t what Governor Huckabee meant to convey then Cox did him a disservice and he should have been disciplined.”

    Why couldn’t have this been included in your post? That is all it would have taken to present the two sides.
    .-= Iowans Rock´s last blog ..Tales from the Astroturf =-.

  3. And that is the most frustrating thing about all of this, Shane. Not many people out there consider sources when they find evidence. I’m not making light of Hucakbee’s weaknesses but he was a Governor for almost eleven years. I’m sure he has lots of enemies. Politics is ugly.
    .-= Iowans Rock´s last blog ..Tales from the Astroturf =-.

    1. @Iowans Rock, I understand that… I defended him numerous times throughout 2008. Politics is ugly, and unfortunately one of his staffers dived right in and put it on state letterhead for all the world to see since it had to be given up with a FOIA request. Reactions like that should have been left as verbal discussion and gone no further.

      You just don’t respond to concerns like that regardless of where they are coming from in that manner. He is the Governor of the State responding to a prosecuting attorney, and political disagreements/personal issues should have been left out of it. If Cox was on his own doing this without Huckabee’s knowledge he should have been disciplined. If you have proof that he was I’ll update this post with that information.

      And you need to stop assigning motives… I believe you, rightly, rebuked me for doing that very thing not so long ago.

  4. Sounds more like the dissent coming from this prosecuting attorney upset Cox than Huckabee. Speaking of assigning motives, I have to wonder to what extent all this backlash against Huckabee is just a Palin talking point. I mean, he’s the only competition she’s got on the populist front. Really, who else benefits from taking down lovable old Huck? Seems like the Republican primaries start earlier every election.
    .-= Guy Incognito´s last blog ..You Don’t Say =-.

    1. @Guy Incognito, Well since Romeny right now is the only one clearly running, him.

      Governor Huckabee took himself down. I don’t necessarily feel he made the wrong decision at the time, but I also understand there are political consequences when it backfires.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, the difference is Huckabee appeals to the same demo that Palin wants all to herself. Romney is far to liberal, and if I was him Romney rather go up against a Huckabee than Palin, or better yet both. You summed it up perfectly yourself, Romney is the only one “clearly running.” He doesn’t benefit from Huck going down this early. Only Palin does.

  5. I agree with you, Shane. Reading that was a ‘head-scratcher’ moment for me, too. I would have to take issue with Iowans Rock because obviously you have come to the same position even after learning there may have been political motivation. I tend to believe you thought of that aspect before posting. You’re a smart guy. One thing I love about you is that you are a skeptic, not a cynic. Cynicism is like when Iowa Rocks offers the argument that it’s politically motivated “therefore” it is not true. That’s textbook cynicism there, and I hate cynicism.

    Great work. I think Mike Huckabee is generally a good guy….but can you imagine his legal office sending a letter like that from the White House? Also, the Dumond case is very disturbing to me……..even more so than this one.

    I don’t want to beat up on Mike Huckabee. (I supported him in the 2008 presidential primary.) Seems he’s doing a pretty good job of it all by himself.
    .-= Lisa Graas´s last blog ..Book Review: Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue – Strength in Adversity =-.

  6. Guy Incognito, fyi, “assigning motives” as proof of evil intent is actually the definition of cynicism. It’s ugly….and we need a lot less of it in our great American political discourse.

    Skeptics are prone to doubt that something is an objective truth.

    Cynics assign bad motives, even to good acts. For instance, many people believe we went to war so that Bush could make money simply because they have found he made money……and so, Bush is hated by many for that. But how about this? How about if, in the president’s heart, he really believed Americans would be in grave danger otherwise? How about if his conscience informed him that even if he knew he would be chastised for the profit aspect, he did it anyway for the good of the country as he saw it?

    We all have a long way to go in turning things around in this country. A good start would be for us to turn away from cynicism and begin practicing skepticism. My buddy Shane can help. He’s a skeptic….not a cynic.

    Thanks.
    .-= Lisa Graas´s last blog ..Book Review: Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue – Strength in Adversity =-.

  7. I haven’t read all of the comments Shane but I can affirm that you are not a cynic. I really appreciate you doing a follow-up post on Huckabee. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the story over the long haul.. you know this one is not going away.
    .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..313 Miles on Single Charge =-.

  8. Please tell me where I said what Shane wrote about wasn’t true. I asked him in my own gentle and loving way to consider that it might not be. He checked it out and still came to his own conclusions. Notice that I was okay with that and then went on to say how I was frustrated when people don’t consider the source. Asking someone to consider two sides is not cynical, it is how stories should be covered. Sadly, this story has become about political gain and not the tragedy.

    And by the way, as far as imagining what it would be like if a letter like this came from the President’s office…….can you imagine if a President stepped down before filling their first term? Those that live in glass houses……

  9. In an article I read today, Kevin McCullough makes a very important point…several actually. The one that really stood out to me was this one.

    “3. Huckabee had nothing to do with Clemmons release.

    Following the short period of time that Clemmons had been paroled, he violated his parole by committing another minor offense. As is the case in all probation issues, that violation brought him back to prison to serve time for his crimes. Once back in prison, the Governor ceased to play any role. His sentence was back in effect. Prosecutorial malfeasance and a judge’s lack of action caused Clemmons’ second release from the Arkansas prison system. ”

    He is right. Clemmons was already back in the system for a minor violation, thus, it no longer falls to Mike Huckabee.

    Here is the whole article for your perusal.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/KevinMcCullough/2009/12/06/why_huckabee_aint_dead_yet?page=2
    .-= Dominique´s last blog ..Lt. Colonel Allen West: It’s time to FIGHT 4 this COUNTRY! =-.

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