Huge Barrage of Criticism Canceled After Conservatives Learn Governor Was Conservative Republican and Not Liberal Democrat
News That Did Not Happen, But Could Have (Well the Pardons Really Did Happen)
When Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour left office, a large number of convicts, some of them convicted for viscous murders left with him.
In his final days as
governor, Republican Haley Barbour gave pardons or early release to nearly 200 people, including more than two dozen whose crimes were listed as murder, manslaughter or homicide, state records show. Mississippi
A list released by the Mississippi Secretary of State's office on Tuesday showed some of the convicted killers were pardoned, while others were given medical or conditional releases. He had released five other convicted killers in 2008. One of them had been granted a conditional release earlier and was pardoned this time.
These were not convicts whose crimes consisted of tearing those labels off of mattresses something we all know is against the law.
The former inmates are David Gatlin, convicted of killing his estranged wife in 1993 as she held a baby; Joseph Ozment, convicted in 1994 of killing a man during a robbery; Anthony McCray, convicted in 2001 of killing his wife; Charles Hooker, sentenced to life in 1992 for murder; and Nathan Kern, sentenced to life in 1982 for burglary after at least two prior convictions.
Others benefiting from Barbour's clemency powers were:
—Michael Graham, whose sentence Barbour suspended in 1998 and who was pardoned Tuesday. He was convicted of shooting his ex-wife in 1989 in downtown
with a shotgun at point-blank range. Pascagoula
—Clinton Jason Moffitt of Hickory Flat, who was convicted in June 2009 of conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Moffitt was among 16 people indicted on fraud charges stemming from the 2007 elections in
. In July 2009, Moffitt was sentenced to five years in prison with two years to serve, two suspended and one under house arrest. Benton County
—Victor Collins, who was convicted of fatally beating his girlfriend, Peggy Campbell, in Marshall County in 1994 after Collins was released from jail on the larceny charges Campbell had filed against him.
The condemnation from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh was immediate and highly negative. “We have to stop these panty-wearing liberal Governors from unleashing murders into out society” said Mr. Limbaugh, and a Fox News spokesperson said the network would have a one day, 36 hour special broadcast devoted to “exposing the corrupt, socialist, leave-no-murderer-behind mentality of liberals.”
All of this rhetoric came to a sudden halt when Conservatives learned the perpetrator of the pardons was former Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour, who has just completed two terms as Governor of the great state of
. Fox News issued a strong apology, what for them was an almost unprecedented event. They admitted it never occurred to them that the pardons were the act of a Conservative, and blamed much of the confusion on Liberals, whom they said has distorted the story to lead Fox News to believe the Governor had just begun to let murderers out of prison. “We now know he has done this before, so we see no news value in pursuing the story” Fox News said. Mississippi
Rush Limbaugh was even more outraged, accusing the “lame stream media” of focusing only on the horrific crimes those receiving the pardons had committed. “Where was the story of how a courageous Conservative Governor acted to reduced prison costs and hence reduce taxes” Mr. Limbaugh thundered. “The fact is that by pardoning murderers and putting them back on the streets, the Governor will have freed up tax money to be used to hire more police to catch these people when they commit new crimes.
won’t hear that part of the story, will they?” America
But in conclusion Mr. Limbaugh cautioned that any savings in
from letting hardened criminals out of prison should go mostly to tax cuts for the wealthy. “The very rich in Mississippi are going to have a new worry, they have to fear being robbed and murdered in their homes by these newly released thugs, and they will need to buy added protection and more guns. A tax decrease will help them do so” Mississippi
As for Mr. Barbour,
On the way into the
House chamber for his successor's inauguration, Barbour had no comment when asked by The Associated Press about the pardons. Mississippi
which seems only fair, after all, what could he say?