Tristero got it right

>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009

on Mike Huckabee's choices as governor:

In the comments to my last post about Huckabee, several folks felt that the real issue in the Clemmons case was a miscarriage of justice, namely sentencing a juvenile for life imprisonment for armed robbery, and that Huckabee's behavior was perfectly sensible. It is astounding that anyone would fall for Huckabee's obvious, and lame, attempt to change the subject, yet so many people have, including prominent liberals I respect. It's almost as if Huckabee has a reality-distortion field around him as powerful as Steve Jobs'.

First of all, it is Huckabee's delusion that he is Jesus Christ, not genuine compassion, that spins the Clemmons case as a miscarriage of justice against a hapless juvenile. It is clear from the record that Clemmons was then, and continued to be, an extremely troubled person with a propensity for extreme violence. Huckabee ignored this, focusing - Christ-like - on an opportunity to show mercy towards a young sinner who showed what Huckabee misapprehended as signs of redemption. The issue is Huckabee's lack of judgment.

If you argue that it is unfair to sentence a juvenile to life in prison for an armed robbery committed when he was 16, I won't disagree with you. But that is not the issue here. The issue is Huckabee's spectacularly bad judgment and his failure to take responsibilty for his behavior. The justice system, for all its incredible faults, has numerous mechanisms, including but not limited to commuting a sentence, for dealing with mitigating circumstances, like the age of an offender, signs of redemption, and an unfairly long sentence. Flawed they surely are, imperfect and inadequate no doubt, but they exist. Huckabee, imitating Christ, chose to deal with the Clemmons case in a very particular way, showing not mercy, but simply awful judgment that set into motion further tragedy.

The incredibly cruel, incredibly unjust way that juvenile offenders are treated in the United States has nothing to do with the fact that Huckabee behaved the way he did. It simply gave him an excuse to exercise his egomania, his delusions of grandeur, and his incompetence. As a result, innocent people died.


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