Friday, December 14, 2007

No Willie Horton

Remember Willie Horton? The Massachusetts murderer who committed assault and rape while out of prison on an extremely ill-advised weekend furlough program? His case was used by (the evil and thankfully dead of brain cancer – hello, karma!) Lee Atwater, head of the presidential campaign of Bush Sr., to bury their rival, ex-Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, under charges of being soft on crime. Never mind that Dukakis was only continuing a program brought about during the administration of his Republican predecessor. Never mind that he was not remotely involved in the exceedingly bone-headed decision to furlough a man who had been sentenced to life without parole. He was the guy in charge when it all went down, and was therefore responsible.

Imagine if we applied that same standard to Giuliani?

Also, I just have to mention that William “Willie” Horton never went by the name “Willie.” The nickname was Atwater’s idea, presumably so that even the blind, who couldn’t see the mug shot used in the commercial, would understand that Horton was black-ity-black-black.

Atwater, and then-media consultant Roger Ailes (why yes, it is the same Roger Ailes who’s now president of Fox News) vowed to make Horton a household name, and they succeeded. Famously unrepentant about stirring up racial tension in the campaign, Ailes remarked "the only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it."

Hey, what’s with the subtleties, guys? How about a knife in one hand, and a watermelon in the other?

In the ensuing years, the Horton commercial has become infamous in the annals of campaign dirty tricks. And now, Mike Huckabee would have us believe that he has become the latest victim of a Horton-style smear.

The perp’s name was Wayne DuMond. He was one of several men whose sentence was commuted by Huckabee at the urging of the perp’s pastor.

DuMond was a bad guy with a history of sexual assault and other crimes. But he was in prison for raping a third cousin of then-governor Bill Clinton, and that made him somewhat a cause célèbre for the rabid Clinton-haters, who said, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that DuMond was framed.

Huckabee had a bad habit of freeing criminals over the objections of the parole board and seemingly based solely on recommendations of right-wing pastors with whom he was personally acquainted. Apparently, all you had to do to get out of prison in Arkansas during Huckabee’s tenure was to buddy up to one of those gullible Christian crackpots.

Predictably, after his release, DuMond wasted little time in returning to his former ways, and within a month of moving to Missouri he had raped and murdered the first of two women.

So much for the “Dumond is an innocent victim of the evil Clinton empire” theorists.

Although Huckabee has been benefitting from a lot of “aw shucks”-type press coverage, I have been suspicious of his motivations from afar for many years.

Why? Because during his entire tenure as governor, he turned a deaf ear to the overwhelmingly obvious innocence of the West Memphis Three.

Has there ever, in the history of American justice, been a more grievous example of railroading than in the case of these three young men? I doubt it. These kids were accused and convicted basically because they were Goths and loners in a town spooked by the gruesome murders of three young boys. But because the so-called “ringleader,” of the three, Damien Echols, is not Christian, Huckabee couldn’t be bothered with him, and that makes him just as bad as the ignorant, malevolent, incompetent bigots who put Damien on death row.

So unlike the frustratingly hapless Dukakis, Huckabee’s current scandal is entirely of his own making, and is further proof that the former preacher would be, as president, more inclined to favor one kind of American over another.

P.S. For more on the West Memphis Three, watch the two excellent documentaries that have been made about them.


Anonymous said...

The paroled rapist story is finally gaining traction, yet I haven't heard anyone else compare and contrast it with the story of the West Memphis Three. You get extra points for doing your homework.

chimpy said...

I'll always hate them for turning the name "Wille Horton" into something infamous. Wille Horton, black leftfielder for the Detroit Tigers was my favorite player when I was a kid. It grieves me to no end he will always be linked to the other Horton. My Willie was a peacemaker who could h it the hide off a ball, Atwater was a fucking punk ass racist jerk off. He got what he deserved,.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

The above comment is mine, Chimpy is a name I write under for another blog. Sorry for any inconvience.

Chris said...

Wow, Vikki! Thanks for connecting those two things for me. I, too, would recommend both "Paradise Lost" films to anyone who wants to witness just how unjust our justice system can be. You are absolutely right about Huckabee freeing this "Christian" convict so that he could commit further crimes while three harmless "non-Christians" sit in prison for crimes they obviously didn't commit. It's fucking wrong! Wrongfully imprisoning someone is about the worst thing you could do to a person besides kill or rape them.

Fuck Huckabee. I seriously question his sense of morality.

Vikki, I repeat my postion that you should be getting paid to write this sort of stuff. It's better than most of the political stuff I come across in print on the web.

Distributorcap said...

huckabee is one scary piece of shit --- a fundie/lunatic wrapped up like Gomer Pyle -- and the MSM cant get big enough boners for him.....

in the "it's too late baby" (with all due respect to Carole King) Atwater asked for 'forgiveness' for his 'misdeeds' as he lay dying ---

i hope the worms are having a field day with him ---

as for Ailes -- the worms will surely have a field day with him because there is so much of him....

Ailes IMHO is the most dangerous man in america today -- worse than bush, cheney or tom delay

Bubs said...

I can't imagine how I'd feel if I ever locked up the wrong person. Jaysus. No.

dguzman said...

Definitely doing your homework, Vik--very impressive post. It's disgusting to think that Huck freed this guy because he was supposedly christian and supposedly railroaded during the Clinton years--this just shows you what a clueless bastard Huck is when it comes to criminal justice--easily swayed by the christian/conspiracy cards. NOT the kind of guy you want as president.

Grant Miller said...

Huckabee both scares me and doesn't worry me. I really doubt he could get elected, but I worry if the stars are aliged how his administration actually would be worse than GWB.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I saw the first one and it was excellent. I netflixed the other one.

Grant Miller said...

Congratulations on your Drysdale Award!

Mombi said...

This is my first trip to your blog and the only comment I have at the end of most of your posts is, "holy f*ck!"

Wonderful writing, great points, looking forward to killing many more Sunday mornings reading your stuff... and your brother's!