Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on Wednesday defended his advocacy of early parole for a convicted rapist who killed a woman after his release. Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, said he had not pressured the Arkansas Parole Board to release the man, Wayne Dumond, even though he had expressed sympathy for him. “I can’t fix it,” Huckabee said. “I can only tell the truth and let the truth be my judge." (The Boston Globe, free registration)
What the commentators said
Huckabee is trying to “whitewash” his involvement, said Murray Waas in The Huffington Post. He received letters from a woman raped by Dumond saying that he would rape someone else—and maybe kill her—after his release. Huckabee has tried to keep documents on the case—and the full extent of his involvement—quiet, and that says something about his “honesty and integrity.”
The 1984 Dumond case was “the single most controversial event” during Huckabee’s time as governor, said Byron York in National Review Online. Huckabee, who took office in 1996, has long said he had doubts about Dumond’s guilt, and that he felt sorry for Dumond because he was allegedly castrated by two men who broke into his house as he awaited trial. He has no choice but to explain himself, though, because the case that haunted his years as governor is back as “a potential threat to his now-soaring candidacy” for the Republican presidential nomination.
The question is whether it’s fair to hold Huckabee responsible for Dumond’s crimes after his parole, said Marc Ambinder in his blog at TheAtlantic.com. The mother of the 17-year-old Missouri girl Dumond raped and murdered in 2000 blames Huckabee, “but the logic chain suggests a more complicated, tiered regime of blame.” There were seven people on that parole board, and it’s a stretch to blame Huckabee for “nefariously swaying” all of them.