Seldom have we seen a politician who so relished and justified the grisly business of state killing. Mike Huckabee actually brags about his willingness to kill. And justifies it by talking about Jesus.
This from the
reactionary conservative Washington Times:
Mike Huckabee has started to cite the 16 executions he oversaw as Arkansas governor in his presidential campaign, pointing to them as a type of experience no other candidate in the Republican race can claim.
It’s a grisly claim to make, but Huckabee is trying to counter Mitt Romney’s attacks that he is soft on crime.
“The 16 people I carried out execution on in Arkansas would hardly say I’m soft on crime,” Huckabee told supporters while campaigning in Indianola, Iowa, over the weekend.
Last week he made a similar statement to voters in Pella, telling them, “Ask the 16 people on which I carried out executions.”
The implication is this: Huckabee is tough and will kill. Romney is weak. He has not killed as governor.
If this were isolated tough talk it would be disgraceful enough. But, in fact, it’s part of Huckabee’s long willingness to act as executioner.
More across the jump.
In the Youtube debate Huckabee continued the theme and provided some biblical “justification” for it. This from ThinkProgress:
At Wednesday’s CNN/YouTube debate, a questioner asked former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee “what would Jesus do” on the death penalty. He replied:
You know, one of the toughest challenges that I ever faced as a governor was carrying out the death penalty. I did it more than any other governor ever had to do it in my state. As I look on this stage, I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person on this stage that’s ever had to actually do it. […]
Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office, Anderson. That’s what Jesus would do.
So Huckabee dodged the question. But as Think Progress reported:
[I]n 1997, Huckabee claimed that Jesus would have agreed with him on supporting the death penalty. Shortly before a triple execution in Arkansas in Jan. 1997, a caller called into Huckabee’s show on Arkansas Educational Television Network and asked how he squared his Christian teachings with his support for the death penalty. As the Arkansas Times reported on Jan. 22, 1997:
“Interestingly enough,” Huckabee allowed, “if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued against the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, ‘This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency’.”
Jesus, though, did not ask for clemency. Therefore, according to Huckabee’s logic, Jesus must have been in favor of capital punishment.
You didn’t misread that. It said, “on the eve of triple execution in Arkansas”. This is “logic” to Huckabee. And it supports barbarism. But again, this is not just isolated talk from a politician trying to impress a rabid, knuckle dragging, fundamentalist base.
Which brings us to Frankie Jusan Parker. Frankie Parker was convicted of a brutal 1984 murder of his in laws. After about 5 years in prison Parker found buddhism, and the New York Times described his sincerity. This was not a typical “jailhouse conversion.” Other inmates referred to him as “SiFu”, teacher. No one seems to have disputed the change in him.
Parker was scheduled for execution May 29, 1996, but was granted a stay until July 11, 1996, by the governor at that time, Governor Tucker. On June 17,1996, Governor Tucker announced that the execution date was set for September 17, 1996. Governor Tucker stepped down from his office in July of that year. At that point, the primary hope and efforts for a commutation to life in prison without parole for Parker were placed in the heart of the new Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister.
In a remarkable display of what can only be considered contempt for life, Huckabee chose to move the execution date forward by 6 weeks to August 8, 1996, thereby depriving Parker of 6 additional weeks of life. Why did he do this? According to my friend, Ven. Kobutsu Malone Osho, the zen priest who came forward and was Parker’s spiritual adviser, Huckabee’s representative said, “We could see no reason for the victim’s family to wait any longer.” In other words, Huckabee couldn’t wait to get his hands bloody.
Is Huckabee pro life? Sure, as long as you’re not yet born. If you’re convicted, he’s ready to strap you to the gurney and kill you.