Gov. Mitt Romney is on the attack. This isn’t surprising for a candidate at serious risk of political implosion by a force of nature named Mike Huckabee. One of Romney’s attacks is on Hucakbee’s granting of clemency for some prisoners.
Mr. Romney then transitioned to an expanded critique of Mr. Huckabee for what he did as governor of Arkansas with regard to issuing clemencies. Mr. Romney pointed out that he denied all of the clemency requests he received.
“Now in the case of Governor Huckabee, he also faced a number of individuals coming forward for pardons and commutations and he gave out 1,033, even more than the prior three governors combined and one of those prior governors was Bill Clinton,” Mr. Romney said. “That in my view is not the right course. If we’re going to show our commitment to the rule of law, we not only want to secure our border and not give special benefits to those that come here illegally paid for by taxpayers, we’re also not going to release people that have been convicted of crimes, provide commutations and pardons to them.”
In an Iowa ad, Romney proudly states that he didn’t pardon or grant clemency to a single prisoner. Huh? Not one? That is scary.
Do Americans really want a president who is so merciless, so unforgiving that he wouldn’t grant a pardon or clemency to a single prisoner?
Leave aside the willful manipulation of facts in Romney’s attacks – for instance not mentioning that in Arkansas, every person who is convicted of a crime and every person in prison is eligible for clemency; not mentioning that Huckabee denied 88% of the requests, etc.
Focus on the single point that Mitt Romney didn’t find a single person in the entire commonwealth of Massachusetts – in prison or released from prison – who deserved a pardon, a commutation, any sort of clemency. Is that utter disregard for mercy something we want to reward?
I hope not. Romney should apologize for this lack of mercy, not pat himself on the back for it.
I continue to have grave spiritual concerns about the Huckabee campaign. The whole pastor-in-chief thing bugs me enormously. But it is hardly a badge of shame to be governor for 10 years and have a streak of mercy. Our country doesn’t need to be harder and tougher and meaner. Our country needs to be more merciful.