There ought to be sympathy for Mike Huckabee.
He was vested with the power to free convicted criminals, and one of them appears to have committed a crime so despicable it's almost surreal: gunning down four uniformed police officers simultaneously. What an awful thing to happen -- and surely Mike Huckabee will be haunted by regret and sorrow for his decision to release the suspected shooter in 2001.
But for now, Huckabee is disgusted by some in the pundit business -- many on the right -- who are attacking his clemency decision. "It is disgusting," he told Joe Scarborough, "but people use anything as a political weapon."
Agreed. It is disgusting. But the attacks of late aren't the only things mucking up the political arena.
There was that time in August, when Ted Kennedy had been dead for only about 48 hours, when Huckabee wondered aloud on his radio show that if Democrats had their way on health care reform, whether someone with Kennedy's brain cancer would have been told to "give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die?"
Huckabee was fishing for his great rhetorical extremity in the Republicans' silly season of August. He succeeded in drawing attention and rebuffed those who cried foul on his weekly Fox News show: "I pointed out that when Senator Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal cancer he chose to fight with all that was within him and to do that for life, instead of choosing the pain pill that President Obama spoke of."
That was a lie -- one that insinuated that the sick and elderly might be put to death or forced to suffer under his Democratic opponents' plan. Would Huckabee consider that kind of fear-mongering to be "disgusting?"
No. Because Huckabee has not admitted to his lie about Democrats and the safety of your family members. In fact, he marched right on with them. If you tuned into his Fox News program three weeks later, you'd see him plucking at his bass guitar, playing backup for a woman singing a song about the looming health care reforms.
"No surgeries for you, just pain pills because you're old."... "If I live to be 95, will they say I should be euthanized?"
Watching a top contender for the presidency of the United States bopping along to this cutesy bile was, in a word, 'disgusting.'
So there ought to be sympathy for Mike Huckabee, but one has to wonder whether Mike Huckabee would find Mike Huckabee disgusting?