There's a Mike Huckabee mystery that won't go away.
Send a public records request seeking documents from his 12-year stint as Arkansas governor, as Mother Jones did recently, and an eyebrow-raising reply will come back: The records are unavailable, and the computer hard drives that once contained them were erased and physically destroyed by the Huckabee administration as the governor prepared to leave office and launch a presidential bid.
In 2007, during Huckabee's campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, the issue of the eradicated hard drives surfaced briefly, but it was never fully examined, and key questions remain. Why had Huckabee gone to such great lengths to wipe out his own records? What ever happened to a backup collection that was provided to a Huckabee aide?
Huckabee is now considering another presidential run, and if he does enter the race, he would do so as a frontrunner. Which would make the case of the missing records all the more significant. These records would shed light on Huckabee's governorship—and could provide insight into how a President Huckabee might run the country. Meanwhile, observers of Arkansas' political scene—including one of Huckabee's former GOP allies—say the episode is characteristic of a politician who was distrustful and secretive by nature.
In February, Mother Jones wrote to the office of Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe seeking access to a variety of records concerning his predecessor's tenure, including Huckabee's travel records, calendars, call logs, and emails. Beebe's chief legal counsel, Tim Gauger, replied in a letter that "former Governor Huckabee did not leave behind any hard-copies of the types of documents you seek. Moreover, at that time, all of the computers used by former Governor Huckabee and his staff had already been removed from the office and, as we understand it, the hard-drives in those computers had already been 'cleaned' and physically destroyed."
He added, "In short, our office does not possess, does not have access to, and is not the custodian of any of the records you seek."
"Huckabee just absolutely doesn’t trust anybody," says one former high-ranking Arkansas Republican. "In my experience, if you don't trust people, it's because you're not trustworthy."
Perhaps focusing on Huckabee is as pointless as focusing on the suddenly-invisible Sarah Palin, or the media's latest favorite MILF, that crazy-ass Michele Bachmann, under the doctrine of These Nutjobs Cannot Get Elected. However, if you think that a mean bastard with Gomer Pyle's aw-shucks manner like Huckabee can't get elected, or an aging high school mean girl like Palin who can't accept that she's not the prettiest girl at the prom anymore can't get elected, or a crazy bitch like Bachmann who wants Congresspeople investigated for un-American activities can't get elected; you're forgetting two things. One is the power of the media, which cares more about who makes the best copy to fill the giant maw of the 24-hour newsotainment cycle than who is capable of running the country. The other is this: that Republican state houses nationwide are rushing to pass laws to address the NONEXISTENT issue of "voter fraud" that would essentially disenfranchise three groups that are most likely to vote Democratic: students, minorities and the elderly:
According to data from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, at least 27 state-level voter ID bills -- from Alaska and Arizona to Wisconsin and West Virginia -- have been proposed in recent months.
"It's unbelievable, probably half the states in the country have bills in play and more than a dozen are seriously in the pipeline," Tova Wang of the left-leaning think tank Demos told TPM in an interview. "It's really unprecedented in terms of geographic scope. I've never seen anything like it certainly since I've been working on voting rights issues that voter suppression bills would be introduced in so many places at the same time."
"Definitely students are a target here. It's totally clear to me that you saw in 2008 this unprecedented historic turnout among African-Americans, Latinos and young people -- and those happen to be the exact groups of people that are being targeted by these laws to disenfranchise them, and that's really sad," Wang said.
Wang said the most restrictive bills are in Ohio and Wisconsin, which Wang said require identification issued by the DMV. "Perhaps most interestingly, it doesn't even include student ID even from schools that are public universities," she said.
"This apparently concerted effort on the part of Republicans in state legislatures nationwide to effectively suppress voting is as disturbing as it is un-democratic," said Carolyn Fiddler, spokesperson for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, an arm of the Democratic Party charged with boosting the number of Democrats in state governments. "Additionally, these restrictive measures are often costly and do nothing to balance state budgets and create jobs, which are the top priorities in statehouses across the country right now."
Of course these measures do nothing to balance state budgets or create jobs, because that's not what Republican legislators are about. From the lowest councilman in a town like mine that has been Republican for thirty years in elections that are almost always uncontested to the Presidency, Republicans are about one thing -- gaining and keeping power, and rigging the system so that no one who disagrees with them can ever be elected again.
Right now there is a voter ID bill winding through Scott Walker's legislature in Wisconsin. It would require anyone wishing to vote to present one of three types of identification: a driver's license, a military or state identification card or a certificate issued by (for some reason) the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. A passport would not suffice, even though it is a better proof of citizenship than a driver's license, which can be obtained by non-citizens as well. Consider this while pondering such a law: Yesterday there was an election for the state Supreme Court in Wisconsin. With 98% of precincts reporting, the race is too close to call, with the Democratic challenger, Joanne Kloppenburg, having been given no chance until Scott Walker turned his state into a dictatorship, within 1900 votes of Teabag Republican David Prosser. A recount is likely, and the election could still go either way. What do you think happens to an election like this when the young, the elderly, and minorities are blocked from voting?
Still think Huckabee, Palin, Bachmann, or God Help Us even Donald Trump can't get elected?