There is currently a move underway to discredit Mike Huckabee over the rightful pardoning of a then 16 year old who had been sentenced to 108 years on robbery charges. I make this statement as someone who fully supports the death penalty for murderers and for child rapists, but also as someone who recognizes that getting tough on crime means fostering sensible rehabilitation, not turning first time offenders into violent career criminals.
Yes, Governor Huckabee pardoned more people than most governors do. That’s because Gov. Huckabee isn’t thoughtless, callous or cruel and recognizes that public service actually entails service to the public. Sentencing a 16 year old to months of hard labor generally serves as the greatest deterrent (except in cases of murder and the like). By contrast, sentencing a teen to years in prison has almost inevitably bred nothing more than a violent menace to society.
Yes, out of hundreds of deserved pardons granted by Gov. Huckabee, a few bad apples reemerged. That does not negate from the fact that hundreds of deserving people were spared the unbelievably inhumane (except in cases where society must be saved) punishment of life imprisonment. It also means that those who had been sentenced to prison sentences long enough to rob them of hope were now spared. This, in turn, prevented many from falling for radical Islamic recruitment, as thousands of inmates have each year precisely because long, harsh sentences have robbed them of hope and filled them with despair, and eventually with anger.
As I explained in an article over a year ago, in a column titled “America’s Greatest Terror Threat – A Threat From Within and Its Easy Solution,” there is an alternative to prison that would effectively deter crime instead of promoting it, fix our roads and public works and actually add to the budget of law enforcement while saving the public money and ensuring public safety. It would also provide stability to thousands of low income families, removing a key factor for the expansion of crime. Most of all, it would end the recruitment by terror cells of their most vulnerable populace. Huckabee seems to understand this, and understands that adopting such a system is key to saving American society.
To those who disagree, not because they have any argument of substance to offer, but because they attacked Huckabee since he first entered the national stage, purely out of spite for his openness about religion (going so far as to attack him for outlawing price gouging in the wake of natural disasters): Not only are you advocating the furtherance of a reckless policy ripe for a national disaster, you are also harming your own cause.
A Huckabee/Forbes ticket would not only be the strongest one that the GOP can put forward for 2012. Aside from uniting both sides of the party and appealing to a broad spectrum of voters who value Huckabee’s compassion and his sensible economic leadership, coupled with Steve Forbes’ expertise, it would also be the best ticket to govern the country. Huckabee’s commutation of a 16 year old’s life sentence proves this, unless hindsight were in fact 20/20.
Huckabee understands economic issues. He was a successful governor and, at the time of his retirement from public office, was one of the longest serving in America. He’s eminently qualified for the presidency. But what makes him a good leader is his sense of fairness and balanced compassion. Commuting a 108 year sentence for robbery that was handed down to a youth who was 16 at the time of his crimes is an example of fairness, and of nothing else.