Minister of Death
Mike Huckabee – "Surging" Republican
Mike Huckabee is the "surging" candidate to watch in the Republican presidential primaries, at least for the moment. The former Arkansas governor is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a believer in the "inerrancy" doctrine of Biblical scripture. Inerrancy means, quite simply, that the believer accepts every bit of the Bible as literal truth (Adam & Eve, an earth just 6,000 years old, etc.)
As governor, Huckabee was an enthusiastic death penalty supporter. He now supports World War III against Muslim "fascists" and he's taking his message of death on the road.
A panel of talking heads on Chris Matthews' "Hard Ball" conferred legitimacy on the Huckabee candidacy last week. A more professional group of journalists at the Pew Forum treated Huckabee with deference by avoiding any hard hitting questions. There was nothing about Huckabee's February declaration of World War III or his beliefs in a final judgment in our times and no mention of his tainted past in Arkansas. Only Kathy Kay of the BBC raised questions about the specter of the candidate's extreme views.
Let's see what the former Arkansas governor and minister has in store for the United States if he's selected to win the Presidency.
After becoming governor in 1997, Huckabee signed death warrants for 16 executions by lethal injection. This violates the clearly worded, but frequently forgotten commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." He must know that World War III means even more killing and death. But neither position seems to bother him. In fact, he recently used death imagery in estimating the reaction of fellow Republicans to his fund raising gains: "If I were some of these guys, I'd have to be sitting in a warm tub of water with razor blades,"
Selective Forgiveness as Governor
Charles Singleton was convicted of murder in Arkansas and executed by lethal injection during Huckabee's term as governor. Singleton was a diagnosed schizophrenic. Huckabee was unimpressed and issued the required death warrant.
Supreme Court decisions mandate prisoner mental competence prior to execution. Singleton was given (his lawyer says forced) antipsychotic medication to relieve his schizophrenia. As a result, the prisoner regained a grasp on reality. Singleton's successful treatment for a serious mental illness then became the vehicle that allowed the state to kill him.
Of the 16 Huckabee era executions, there is a pattern of dismissing or refusing to examine legitimate questions or claims concerning mental illness.
Huckabee did find forgiveness in his heart for at least one Arkansas criminal. Wayne Dumond was convicted for raping a 17 year old girl in 1985. This fourth sexual assault conviction earned Dumond a sentence of life plus 20 years.
At the start of his first term, Huckabee took a special interest in the Dumond case and had plans to commute his sentence. When an irate public stopped that, the new governor effectively lobbied the pardon's board. Just four months after they'd denied a Dumond parole request, the board ruled favorably. These events and a broader narrative of the case were well documented by investigative journalist Murray Waas.
Dumond was released on parole in 1999. Just months after the parole, he bound, gagged, and suffocated a Missouri woman. He was convicted of that murder and a suspect in another by the time he was confined to a Missouri state prison where he died in his cell.