HUCKABEE AND DUMOND….Today in the LA Times, Richard Serrano has a story about the Wayne DuMond affair that’s headlined “Parole case may dog Huckabee.” The question at hand is: why did Mike Huckabee, as governor of Arkansas, push for the parole of Wayne DuMond, a convicted rapist who was then serving a 39-year sentence in the state Department of Correction’s Tucker Unit? Let’s listen in (all italics mine):
Three [parole] board members…said Huckabee raised the issue of DuMond’s release, asking to discuss the matter with them in a closed session. They said his religious beliefs, and the influence of the evangelical community from which he came, drove him.
….[Jay] Cole, the minister who befriended DuMond, said: “The governor felt compassion for Wayne. He was sorry for him. So, I asked the governor to help. I asked him if anything could be done. And Mike had a lot of people on his neck trying to get him to get Wayne released.”
….Cole, meanwhile, was working to help DuMond. Cole said he talked to “probably a hundred people” about his hope of winning DuMond’s release, turning foremost to the evangelical community….”All of them thought Wayne was innocent,” said Cole.
Interesting! Out of all the Arkansas prisoners who claimed to have discovered God, the Arkansas evangelical community chose DuMond as its poster boy. I wonder how that came about?
The answer, of course, was not merely that famous Southern evangelical compassion for convicted rapists serving out long sentences in state prison. It was because DuMond’s victim was Bill Clinton’s second cousin once removed, and the Clinton-hating fever swamp had long since turned DuMond into yet another of its spittle-flecked conspiracy theories about the endless treachery and hellish vengeance of William Jefferson Clinton upon his enemies. But you’ll find not a single mention of this in Serrano’s story.
Now here’s the thing. Maybe DuMond got a raw deal of some kind. It would hardly be the first time. And maybe Arkansas evangelicals were partly motivated by a sincere belief that DuMond had found God and deserved a second chance. I even understand that in a mainstream news story Serrano can’t harp on a particular piece of the backstory that partisan bloggers like me tend to emphasize.
But still, this is part of the story, isn’t it? Doesn’t it deserve at least a mention, instead of being pushed studiously down the memory hole because it might offend someone? Why did the Arkansas evangelical community choose Wayne DuMond as its champion, rather than the hundreds of other convicted felons who all claim they’re innocent? The question just hangs there, twisting, as if merely recounting the well-known background to the case would constitute an unconscionable slur. And so the story is only half told.