Fund on Huckabee; Plus an Offer

Over at the Wall Street Journal, the incomparable John Fund pops more of Mike Huckabee’s bubbles. He paints the former Arkansas governor as fiscally moderate-to-liberal, a mediocre long-term manager, and as somebody who harmed rather than built his state Republican Party.

On the matter of Huckabee, his campaign manager’s two letters complaining about my column earlier this week are a little worrisome, in that I do take my obligations as a journalist — to be fair and accurate — seriously. If my columns are “riddled with inaccuracies, allegations and half-truths,” I would feel horrible about it. For instance, I quickly corrected my mistake to the effect that rapist Wayne Dumond was released via Huckabee pardon. (Instead, according to considerable evidence to which I linked yesterday, Huckabee reportedly lobbied the parole board to release Dumond, and as I mentioned in the letters section today, David Sanders of the Arkansas News Bureau, a former Huckabee aide, added to the story last week.)

But other than that small distinction, I have continued to stand by my story, for the plain reason that the words I used are accurate descriptions of what occurred. I did NOT say, for instance, that Huckabee broke any criminal laws. Instead, I described the actions themselves, actions where the facts have long been established even if the explanation, or interpretation of what they mean, can be in dispute — just as, in the realm of opinion, all sorts of facts can be spun all sorts of different ways. Example: Fact: The weather is partly cloudy right now. Interpretation one: That means it might rain. Interpretation two: It is not raining right now. By analogy, the reporting in my column, though, is of the variety that merely says, yes, there are indeed clouds in the sky. Of that, there can be no dispute.

Unless there is something I am missing, the FACTS as stated in my column remain unchallengeable. And I stand by my contention that there is no need to call a campaign to get explanations when the explanations are already on record, especially because I was there in Little Rock when some of the explanations were offered in the first place and covered them at the time. My column Wednesday dealt entirely with the public record, and provided the links to back it up.

But — and this is the point of this post: Here is a very sincere offer: If the Huckabee campaign will specify to me where my facts — not intepretation, but facts — are wrong, and convince me thereof, I will correct those facts just as quickly as I corrected my self-editing oversight concerning the use of the word “pardon.” I do not want to leave an inaccurate record — and firmly believe that I have not done so.

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