Pundits and TV anchorcreatures love pronouncing about politicians ’ “character,” when all they’re really talking about is personality. Hence glib, superficially charming candidates invariably win plaudits in the reality-TV epics we call presidential elections. This year’s GOP Prince Charming is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. When it comes to ingratiating himself, few surpass the one-time Baptist preacher. He’s witty, he’s warm, and doggone it, people like him. Character consists of something deeper. That’s why it’s important to know the truth about Wayne DuMond, the serial rapist and murderer Huckabee freed from the Arkansas penitentiary to kill again. Unfortunately, that’s the last thing you’ll hear from the candidate himself.
Today, Huckabee alibis that nobody could have predicted DuMond’s Missouri crimes. Many people did. Even this column warned that: “Rape’s not a crime of passion; it’s a crime of rage. Violent sex offenders, innumerable case studies show, keep at it until something stops them. If Huckabee doesn’t understand that, he’s got no business getting involved.” Instead of backing off, Huckabee got tricky. He held an improper closed-door meeting with the parole board, several of whom say they’d felt pressured. Last week, Huckabee’s then-chief counsel, Olan “Butch” Reeves, basically seconded their claims. After the board voted to parole DuMond to Missouri, Huckabee wrote a “Dear Wayne” letter stressing “my desire... that you be released from prison” —the proverbial smoking gun he can’t now rationalize or whine away. Angry Missouri cops say DuMond’s victim’s severed bra straps were like a calling card. They found his DNA under her fingernails. Huckabee’s latest book claims that DuMond died in prison before coming to trial. In fact, he was convicted of murdering Carol Sue Shields on Nov. 12, 2003, and at the time of his death was a leading suspect in the murder of a second Missouri woman. You’d think Huckabee might have noticed.