These Are (NY) Times That Try Men's Souls
[Update: This post is long, for which I apologize. Let me summarize:
1. As governor of Arkansas, Republican Mike Huckabee enthusiastically worked to free a serial killer from prison because the rapist and murderer-to-be had become a cause celebre on the right.
2. Today Gail Collins of the Times wrote a column saying that Huckabee, while he'd make a terrible president, is a nice guy who essentially made just an error of compassion in freeing the serial killer.
3. Collins claimed that even though Huckabee is a rightwing nut, the other rightwing nuts won't support him because Huckabee supports child healthcare. The notion that the real reason might be that he pardoned a serial killer and that anyway you slice it, voters will think that is Not a Good Thing - that notion was really not considered by Collins.
4. In an earlier post, readers commented that I was being too hard on poor Ms. Collins. I think I wasn't angry enough.
Long version below. ]
I'm beginning to feel like my dear friend Bob Somerby over at The Daily Howler. It truly is incredible how manifestly corrupt our mainstream discourse has become. There is Gail Collins, with an opportunity in the NY Times to inform us about issues vital to understanding how to vote for the president of the United States in 2008 - literally, a history-changing election however it turns out - and she clowns around, and deceives, for an entire column about a loser candidate who even she admits would make a "terrible president."
But maybe, I think in my most mordant moods, we deserve such a discourse. In comments to that post, several folks said that actually, Collins was not supporting Huckabee at all - I never thought she was - and that actually the column was "about" how the right won't even get behind someone who seems to share so many of their crazy ideas because he's for children's health care.
Oh really? Apparently, it never occurred to Ms. Collins - or, alas, to the usually very astute readership of this blog - that the reason the right wasn't supporting Huckabee had nothing to do with his flirtation with the sticky, sensuous, liberal pleasures of socialized medicine and everything under the sun to do with Huckabee's bizarre support for Mr. Wayne Dumond, a little example of misplaced compassionate conservatism Ms. Collins indeed discusses, and to a great extent, absolves Huckabee for his role in the subsequent... But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Who the hell is Wayne DuMond? I'm glad you asked. Let's start here with "Murray Waas' prize-winning article for the Arkansas Times in 2002" about how far Mike Huckabee went to win good old boy Wayne Dumond's freedom. Turns out, Mr. Dumond raped a young girl. Said girl identified him. Some inexcusable things happened to Mr. Dumond at the hands of some sick Deliverance wannabes and an equally psychopathic sheriff, about which more later. Mr. Dumond went to jail.
Then things got interesting. "Interesting." Y'might wanna remember that word. Anyway, Mr. Dumond became a rightwing cause celebre for several reasons related to then governor Bill Clinton who wouldn't pardon him. it just so happens that the girl who was raped was Clinton's distant relative. Get it? Dumond's mutilation (see below) and incarceration was Clintonian- style revenge.
To make a long, sleazy story shorter, Governor Huckabee, who succeeded Jim Guy Tucker who succeeded Bill Clinton, really, really believed Dumond got a "raw deal." Huckabee was, as you might expect nearly totally clueless about the actual details of Dumond's case. His sources for the passion of his belief in Dumond's "raw deal?"
Jay Cole, like Huckabee, is a Baptist minister, pastor for the Mission Fellowship Bible Church in Fayetteville and a close friend of the governor and his wife. On the ultra-conservative radio program he hosts, Cole has championed the cause of Wayne Dumond for more than a decade. Wanna know who Steve Dunleavy is? I thought not. Nevertheless, here is what that cocksucker wrote in the NY Post only a few weeks after 9/11:
Cole has repeatedly claimed that Dumond’s various travails are the result of [rape victim] Ashley Stevens’ distant relationship to Bill Clinton.
The governor was also apparently relying on information he got from Steve Dunleavy, first as a correspondent for the tabloid television show “A Current Affair” and later as a columnist for the New York Post.
October 2, 2001 -- IT IS amazing how liberals, whom I regard as traitors in this time of crisis, like to quote the Constitution. And now you know Steve Dunleavy.
So, partly due to Cole, but also apparently on the basis of Dunleavy's "reporting" - and by all means consult the Arkansas Times article to get a flavor of how reliable a source Dunleavy is - Dumond enthusiastically supported efforts to release Dumond, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks (go ahead, read the Arkansas Times article some more, I'll wait).
Now, who was Cole, Dunleavy, and Huckabee trying so hard to set free? Oh, and did I mention that Dumond was of the Caucasian persuasion? Not that that had anything whatsoever to do with the championing of Dumond's cause:
Had Huckabee examined in detail the parole board’s files regarding Dumond, he would have known Dumond had compiled a lengthy criminal resume. That all happened before Cole, Dunleavy, and Huckabee succeeded in springing Mr. Dumond, which, God have mercy on their souls, they did. What happened after Mr. Dumond was released?
In 1972, Dumond was arrested in the beating death of a man in Oklahoma. Dumond was not charged in that case after agreeing to testify for the prosecution against two others. But he admitted on the witness stand that he was among those who struck the murder victim with a claw hammer.
In 1973, Dumond was arrested and placed on probation for five years for admitting in Oregon to molesting a teen-age girl in the parking lot of a shopping center.
Three years later, according to Arkansas State Police records, Dumond admitted to raping an Arkansas woman. (Dumond later repudiated the confession, saying he was coerced by police.) Dumond was never formally charged in that case; the woman, saying she feared for her life, did not press charges.
When the board paroled Dumond in January 1997, he had been in prison since 1985 for the rape of Ashley Stevens, a Forrest City high school student. That's right. Mike Huckabee worked hard to parole a serial killer.
The board made Dumond’s parole conditional upon his moving out of state, but initially authorities in Florida, Texas, and other states declined to allow him to move there. Dumond was finally released in October 1999, when he moved to DeWitt to live with his stepmother.
In August 2000, Dumond moved to Smithville, Mo., a rural community outside Kansas City. He had married a woman from the community who was active in a church group that had visited Dumond in prison and believed him to be innocent.
Only six weeks after Dumond moved to Missouri, Carol Sue Shields, of Parkville, Mo., was found murdered in a friend’s home. She had been sexually assaulted and suffocated.
In late June 2001, Missouri authorities charged Dumond with the first-degree murder of Shields. The Clay County, Mo., prosecutor’s office asserted that skin found under Shield’s fingernails, the result of an apparent struggle with her murderer, contained DNA that matched Dumond’s.
Missouri authorities also say that Dumond is the leading suspect in the rape and murder of a second woman, Sara Andrasek, of Platte County, Mo., though he has not yet been charged with that crime.
Andrasek was 23. Like Shields, Andrasek had her brassiere cut from her body; Dumond cut Stevens’ bra off before he raped her.
“It’s as if he wanted to leave us his calling card,” a Missouri law enforcement officer said.
But yes, it is because of Huckabee's support of child health care that the extreme right shuns Mike Huckabee. Uh-huh.
It is in the light of the above story, I would like you to read the following comments left by various and sundry in that previous post:
...the fact that [Huckabee] is both insane and likable makes him a rather interesting person... Obviously, Huckabee made a big mistake in letting him go but it isn't that hard to see how he could have made it...Folks, we are talking about electing the president of the United States here. I have a pretty good sense of humor but there is nothing funny about an entire column devoted entirely to a candidate who'd make a "terrible president" [update: but not only because he would be terrible.] As for Collins touting him as an example of rightwing hypocrisy - however you spell it - because they shun him on account of his support for healthcare? Please, the real reason is because Huckabee was so utterly out of it he let an idiot like Dunleavy tell him what's real. And because of that, Huckabee worked hard to get a serial killer out of prison,
I'll also join the bandwagon of Collins' supporters here. She was pointing out the hipocrisy [sic] of the religious right...
[Collins] was obviously trying to point out the hypocrisy of the Christian right supporting the likes of Giuliani or Romney, while overlooking the candidate that is the lease [sic] sanctimonious of the group. She was merely a little clumsy. Cut her some slack
Collins said that [Huckabee] is a human being. He has made mistakes. He is not all around evil, but his party is so overwhelmed with hypocracy [sic] that these qualities are not enough for him to be considered, they just want another semi-fascist to get them the power.
I would love for Huckabee to run, because he is such a weak personality, and has such a strange name...
so he could rape and kill tragically and stupidly providing him fresh opportunities to rape and kill.*
Huckabee's an "interesting" man, all right. And Collins is behaving in an utterly irresponsible fashion.
PS. I somehow forgot to add this. Caution: Very gruesome description coming up. While out awaiting trial for the '85 rape, two men broke into Dumond's house, forced him to suck one of them off, then cut Dumond's balls off [NOTE: See important update below.]. The local sheriff then came by, scooped up the newly liberated testicles and displayed them in a jar for a while. The extreme right believes Clinton was behind this. That's because, well, let's let Wayne Dumond tell us himself:
One of [the guys who castrated him] , DuMond later said, chortled, 'Mr. C would be proud.' They left him to be discovered by his children.Got that? Clinton's distant cousin gets raped. So, as he would later with Vince Foster, according to the ever so Reverend Falwell, Clinton indulged in some ultraviolence and paid back the "alleged" rapist (oh, Dumond raped the girl, alright) by having him castrated.
And that is why the right just loooooooooooved Wayne Dumond and worked to pardon him,
so he could kill at least once, if not twice, a pardon which put an extremely disturbed man back among the public where, in less than a year he raped and killed at least once, if not twice.*
Oh, by the way, Dumond died in prison coupla years ago. LIke anyone cares, but thought you should know.
[UPDATE: Digby herself has written about Dumond and Huckabee here. ]
[UPDATE: In an email Gene Lyons wrote:
I think it'd be worth an update noting there was never any evidence of vigilante justice in DuMond's castration. Only his say-so. State police thought he probably did it himself.Seems to me like more circumstantial evidence that Dumond was far more disturbed than Huckabee, Cole, or Dunleavy either bothered to learn about or let on they knew.
He was all alone in a trailer at the end of a dirt road in a cotton field. No sign of intruders.
Grotesque as it seems, it's apparently not unheard of for crazed sex offenders to geld themselves.
Clinton, on the other hand, ignored and/or turned away the right's efforts to reduce Dumond's sentence or parole him. Back in May, Gene Lyons posted about Dumond here.]
*Originally this sentence was ambiguous and could be read in such a way as implying that I believed the right released Dumond in order to kill. That is, of course, ridiculous but the original wording does have that as a valid interpretation. So I struck it and rephrased it. Hat tip to My Man Godfrey for noticing and my apologies for not originally believing him.