Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The Huckabee Conundrum

A few days ago, the Marshall Project's Ken Armstrong wrote a great piece about clemency titled The Politics of Mercy.  Among the revelations there:

-- Former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, a conservative Republican who cared about clemency (and acted on it) is pondering a run for President.  He is a good guy; in 2013, he came to St. Thomas to speak and made a strong impression.

-- In 2008, Mitt Romney prepared an attack ad against Mike Huckabee focused on his use of clemency (about 1,000 instances during his time as governor of Arkansas), but decided not to use it.

-- Huckabee links his use of clemency to his faith.  As I said in the article, this creates a great opportunity to re-cast the political debate over clemency.

The 2016 election is going to be fascinating...

I think you forgot to mention that Rick Perry now wears glasses. And Biden might run! So, like you said...fascinating.
More seriously--and backing down slightly from the glib comment above--this field of candidates is rife with conundrums, as you put it.

Clemency, I think, is a particularly interesting manifestation of this. Take the Perry example. Despite his hang 'em high persona, he's actually pardoned more folks in his time as governor than did Mitt Romney (who may have granted zero pardons, if my facts are right). Heck, he's exercised clemency more than Obama, at least in the early years. I think most people would find this counterintuitive.
CTL== On clemency, what is surprising is that there is no right-left split. We might expect that Mitt Romney would ignore the pardon power… but so has Duval Patrick, the current Democratic governor.
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