Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Huckabee and the Double Standard

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, is doing well in the Republican primaries, appealing to the religious right. Huckabee according to the press contributed a hockey rink to the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, a school that is considered an international joke (what do you expect when the claim to have fossils that prove the biblical story to be correct). A student of mine went there briefly for personal reasons and realized where she was (she has not only secular but progressive views) and got out quickly, only to be told by her fellow students who initially welcomed her because they thought she was one of them that she would go to hell.

Huckabee also admires the "left behind" books, fundamentalist melodramas about those unfortunates who will not do to heaven after the last judgment.

Huckabee is entitled to his beliefs and his support of hockey among fundamentalists , although what that means as qualifications for a president is very questionable (separation of church and state must trouble those who care about the U.S. Constitution) but what interests me is the revelation that Huckabee, as governor of Arkansas, used his influence to directly commute the sentences of prisoners and indirectly influence parole boards to parole prisoners. One of those prisoners, Wayne Dumond, accused of rape and murder, was removed from the state (he was white and had supporters) only to rape and kill again, at least once, for which he was convicted (he subsequently died in jail, and authorities believe he was responsible for at least one other murder).

Remember the Republicans notorious racist Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis in 1988. William Horton was Black (the Republicans made sure to call him Willie in order to highly his ethnicity) and committed a heinous crime after he had been released on a work release program in Massachusetts which Dukakis, the governor, supported (even though he was not directly involved in the case). Dukakis was vilified for being soft on crime. Huckabee, as a right religious Republican isn't getting too much flak on that issue. Instead he is being attacked by Mitt Romney, another former governor of Massachusetts and would-be spokesmen for the religious right (as a Mormon he has some difficulties in that respect, for being soft on illegal immigrants, letting them get all sorts of state services as they were over-running Arkansas.

The Republicans sink deeper and deeper into a vat of political chicken fat, caricaturing themselves as they appeal to constituencies that they assume will go for the lowest and most absurd common denominator. Given their campaign, it becomes harder and harder even to satirize them, since they are doing such a good job of that themselves.

Norman Markowitz

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