Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fluffy Tarantulas

The Salon has a critical piece on Mike Huckabee. He seems to be the new media sweetheart among the presidential candidates, other than the always straight-shooting McCain. The piece refers to the Wayne DuMond scandal:

If I could resurrect one batch of files, it would be those reflecting the advice of his staff that he not pursue his desire to free convicted rapist Wayne DuMond. By "advice," I mean I think some of them all but pleaded with Huckabee not to do it.

Though DuMond's prior record included a conviction for assault and his alleged involvement in a slaying and one other rape, by the start of Huckabee's governorship DuMond had become a national figure thanks to Republican efforts to depict him as a victim of the Bill Clinton machine. The rape victim was a distant relative of Clinton's.

Huckabee, perhaps persuaded by DuMond's supposed conversion to Christianity, announced his intention to commute DuMond's sentence without talking to the victim. Outraged, she stepped forward to protest publicly. The backlash was swift and powerful. Huckabee backed away from commuting DuMond's sentence, but in a private meeting lobbied the state Parole Board to release him. Huckabee said, in writing, that he supported DuMond's release. DuMond moved to Missouri in 2000, where he molested and killed one woman and was suspected of doing the same to another, but died in prison before he could be charged in the second case.

I have read about this earlier, with a suggestion that the victim's family relationship to Bill Clinton had an effect on the urge to free DuMond. If that is true the other murdered women must weigh heavily on the consciences of some politicians.

Whatever the truth about all that might be, I find it astonishing how being a social conservative is somehow seen as almost the same as being a cuddly and furry pet. Like a tarantula, perhaps, at least from the angle of those whom the social conservative would like to put back into their proper places. So we can read reams about McCain, the straight-shooter, but very little about McCain, the anti-choicer. Because social conservative issues are irrelevant for most of the political writers, I think. They're on the other side of the fence. It is not their freedoms which will be curtailed, not their human value which will be doubted.

This is perhaps also why Glenn Greenwald thinks that Ron Paul is getting a bad deal among the liberals. After all, the guy wants to honor the constitution and to get the U.S. out of Iraq. That he also otherwise resembles the Taliban in his social values is not that important for Glenn, it seems. There are certain tradeoffs one can contemplate when called Glenn rather than Glenda, I guess. Though I'm not sure what Ron Paul might have in stock for gays, so it could be that Greenwald is serious about the tradeoffs involving his own life.

All this is somehow linked to that idea of politics as all about hard stuff: money and bombs and jostling elbows. In that definition it is mostly men who are into politics and nobody much cares about those fluffy labels such as "social conservative." It's other people that fluffiness would suffocate, and it's not really politics but special interests. Or so I have been told by some liberals on the net.