Okay, granted, for months and months Mitt Romney’s camp has been one of the fiercest at attacking other GOP candidates — which is one thing that first left a semi-bad taste in my mouth about him — but I am here to say that EVERYBODY (sorry, my fellow AmSpec bloggers!) who has attacked Romney’s supposed “Willie Horton problem” is WAY off base. As I write, Hardball is doing a whole segment on the issue. But Romney’s role in the release of the murderer in Massachusetts was so indirect as to make him almost entirely blameless. By the standards being used to criticize him, George Bush the elder would be personally responsible for every murderer whose habeas corpus appeal is upheld by David Souter. It’s an unfair attack, and unworthy of this campaign. It is FAR different from the Horton case, where Dukakis personally took actions that directly led to Horton’s release. All Romney did, after all, was appoint the judge. Maybe it was a bad appointment, but it was not an intervention in the murderer’s specific case.
But there IS a real Willie Horton equivalent in the Republican race: It is Mike Huckabee’s direct and personal intervention in publicly calling for, and privately lobbying for, the Arkansas parole board to release vicious convicted rapist Wayne DuMond, not as part of a group of felons, but specifically and only DuMond — after which DuMond went out and committed another vicious rape. The intervention in the DuMond case showed a terrible lack of judgment.
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