Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Right Outcome, Wrong Reason

You've surely heard about the four police officers in Washington State who were gunned down in a donut shop, and how their killer -- Maurice Clemons -- would have been serving a 95-year stint in an Arkansas prison if not for clemency granted by then-governor Mike Huckabee. This is considered by many to be the end of Huckabee's presidential hopes.

I don't at all like the idea of Huckabee for Prez, mainly because for all his intelligence and (I think) honourable intentions, he's too right-wing and too politically Christian for my taste. But if Huckabee's shot at the presidency is blighted over Maurice Clemons, I'd say it's a matter of the right outcome happening for the wrong reason.

Huckabee granted clemency not to a mass murderer, but to a 28-year-old who had been in prison since 18, after being sentenced to 95 years. Granting clemency was the right thing for Huckabee to do, because Clemons got an unjustly harsh sentence for a kid who at the time showed signs of criminally bad judgment, yes, but not of being a dangerous monster.

Consider: a few years ago, while visiting Quebec, I walked toward a shopping centre entrance when a giggling little toddler boy who'd broken away from his mother burst through and was about to run out into a streetful of traffic. I was in the perfect position to reach down and grab him before he could. A couple seconds later his mother caught up and said something to me in French with several merci's thrown in, and that was the end of that.

Suppose the boy grows up to become a serial killer, or the next Hitler, and in retrospect my grabbing him that day turns out to be the single most harmful action I've ever taken. Meanwhile, I've gone into politics and even contemplate a run for the presidency. For all the reasons I might disqualify myself from a political career in contemporary America -- off the top of my head, I'm thinking "childless unmarried living-in-sin female atheist libertarian ex-stripper" ought to do the trick -- holding "Jennifer saved Baby Hitler's life" against me really wouldn't be fair.

And holding Mike Huckabee accountable for the crimes of Maurice Clemons isn't fair, either. Especially not when there are so many better reasons to refuse to consider voting for him.


Blogger Windypundit said...

My sentiments exactly. Except for the saving-baby-Hitler thing. That's pure you.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

He was really, REALLY cute, Windy.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

I disagree (with some of this). Not at all a Huckabee fan, for the very same reasons as you. However he got this guy out of jail with SOME knowledge of his past. You, on the other hand, grabbed some little kid with NO history on him whatsoever, just doing a good deed. Perhaps similar situations in some people's minds, but to me even that much is pretty far-fetched.

Aside from that, long-live the non-Huckabee fans!!!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

Oh, I'm sure THAT child was cute. But would you have saved this child?

5:13 PM  
Anonymous wayne said...

"I'm thinking "childless unmarried living-in-sin female atheist libertarian ex-stripper" ought to do the trick..."

Jen, the ex-stripper thing would cause me to vote against you. If, on the other hand, you are a current-stripper, well then, my vote is yours.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Jennifer, the problem is that this is not an isolated incident for Huckabee. I give him a hard time about the Clemons case in my post, which I guess you will disagree with, but it is the history of his poor judgment that maybe we could agree on -- see the other example in my post. Hard to see how a person with good judgment would help in any way to set DuMond free, if Wikipedia's history of DuMond is accurate. That aside, I think Huckabee's nannyism, which Reason has covered a few times, is the biggest reason to hope he doesn't win national office.

6:11 PM  
Blogger bass invader said...

Dammit! Now i'll have to time travel again. *I* was the one who told that kid the street was paved with "bon sucre". But you had to step in a foil my plans, and now we all get to die at the hands of giant robots.

Well done, Jennifer.

10:31 AM  

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