Is Huckabee Rapture Ready? And Why Did He Free a Born-Again Rapist? A Confidant Speaks
Max Blumenthal printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:11:50 PM EST
Of all the right-wing figures who have promoted Mike Huckabee's extraordinary political rise from a backwater church to the national pulpit of a presidential campaign--and there are many--perhaps none know the former Arkansas governor and current Republican presidential front-runner better than Jay Cole. A Baptist minister based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a right-wing radio talk show of his own, Cole has been instrumental in inspiring Huckabee's rise over more than two decades. Indeed, when Huckabee was the governor of Arkansas, it was Cole who persuaded him to arrange the release from prison of a convicted rapist, Wayne Dumond, who had become a born-again evangelical in prison--the most controversial act of Huckabee's career, which still dogs him on the campaign trail.
cole huck

(above, Jay Cole with Mike Huckabee beside the governor's private jet in 1997)

I reported for The Nation on a lengthy telephone conversation I had with Cole a week before Huckabee's surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses on January 3. Cole was supremely confident that his saintly friend would prevail over the hosts of darkness. "Mike is one of the finest and most gracious individuals God has ever placed on Earth," Cole told me in his thick Southern drawl. "Not only does he have speaking ability, he has the Lord looking over him."

Some mainstream media pundits have attributed Huckabee's rising fortunes to his likable demeanor. New York Times political correspondent Adam Nagourney has praised Huckabee's "easy-going, self-effacing, jaunty style" as his chief political asset. The Times's liberal commentator Frank Rich explained Huckabee's ascent in similar terms, comparing the sudden swell of support for his campaign to the phenomenon surrounding Democratic senator and presidential front-runner Barack Obama. "Both men [Obama and Huckabee] have a history of speaking across party and racial lines," Rich wrote. "Both men possess that rarest of commodities in American public life: wit. Most important, both men aspire (not always successfully) to avoid the hyper-partisanship of the Clinton-Bush era." Rich, who only weeks earlier had predicted the imminent self-destruction of the religious right, now viewed Huckabee as a welcome departure from the divisive Republican candidates of the past.

But the Huckabee Cole has known and loved for decades contrasts sharply with the sunny figure the media's leading lights have conjured up. According to Cole, Huckabee has connected with voters--specifically, evangelical voters--not simply because he is a charismatic speaker, but also because he shares their apocalyptic world view. As Cole told me, "To date there's well over 139 prophecies that have come to pass exactly as the Lord says. Mike believes those things. Anyone with any Bible knowledge would have to say that this looks like the time. We're so close to the Lord's return."

During the period when Huckabee rose through the ranks of the Arkansas Republican Party to the governor's mansion, Cole became one of the state's most popular right-wing radio personalities. Cole volunteered to me the sectarian views that made his radio show a favorite of Arkansas's far-right fringe. Taking a potshot at Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, Cole compared the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the Ku Klux Klan. "As you know from history, their original intent--[Mormon founding fathers Joseph] Smith and Brigham Young--was to take over the United States of America," he said. "They weren't just far behind the KKK in their efforts."

Cole was no more kind to Muslims. "If you think communism's bad, just think what the Islamics are doing," Cole warned. "Those people have no--they're just not human. They're just not human."

On the campaign trail, Huckabee has ventured some opinions that dovetail at least loosely with Cole's. Discussing Romney's Mormon faith with a reporter while stumping through Iowa, Huckabee asked darkly, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus is Satan's brother?"

Huckabee routinely warns of the threat of "Islamofascism" at campaign rallies and is perhaps the first major presidential candidate in American history to essentially call for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Huckabee declared during a New Hampshire fundraiser in October that a Palestinian state should only be established outside of biblical Israel, possibly in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, according to the Jewish Russian Telegraph. He reiterated this position during an appearance on Face the Nation in November.

Huckabee's advocacy of forcibly transferring the Palestinians to other Arab nations reflects his close association with some of America's most prominent End Times theological proponents. Among Huckabee's leading evangelical backers is Pastor John Hagee, head of a Pentecostal congregation in San Antonio, Texas, with 18,000 members, and the executive director of Christians United for Israel, a national lobbying group that organizes against a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis and in favor of a military strike on Iran.

Hagee's zealous support for Israel is kindled by his belief that Jesus will one day return to "biblical Israel" to usher in a kingdom of Heaven on Earth. "As soon as Jesus sits on his throne he's gonna rule the world with a rod of iron," Hagee told his congregation in a sermon this December. "That means he's gonna make the ACLU do what he wants them to. That means you're not gonna have to ask if you can pray in public school.... We will live by the law of God and no other law."

Huckabee made a pilgrimage to Hagee's Cornerstone Church just one week after the pastor's anti-ACLU jeremiad. During the first of two sermons Huckabee delivered there, he was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation. The candidate returned the sentiment, hailing his gracious host, Hagee, as "one of the great Christian leaders of our nation."

Huckabee has also welcomed the endorsement of Tim LaHaye, the co-author of the bestselling Left Behind pulp fiction series, which tells of the coming apocalyptic battle between followers of Jesus and forces of Satan. Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Huckabee once studied (he dropped out to work for a televangelist), is an outspoken believer in End Times theology as well. Patterson is one of the chief organizers of the right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Just as his surge in the polls began, Huckabee addressed the student body of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in November. There, he assured his enraptured audience that his sudden rise had nothing to do with his "easy-going" style. "There's only one explanation for [my surge] and it's not a human one," Huckabee insisted, inspiring gales of applause from the overflow crowd. "It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people."

Huckabee made his remarkable statement in response to a question from a student--not a reporter. Political reporters with access to the candidate have so far shied away from asking him pointed questions about his theological beliefs. They have been especially reluctant to ask Huckabee how he thinks the world will end or how his Messiah will return. Consequently, the image of Huckabee as a transcendent, post-partisan politician has prevailed. He remains the affable, bass-playing Republican counterpart to Barack Obama, not the sectarian ideologue who sought the counsel of fringe characters like Cole.

Huckabee has burnished his likable sheen by replacing the ornery clergymen who propelled his early ascendancy in Arkansas politics with a cast of telegenic evangelical celebrities. His new boosters include Chuck Norris, a B-level action movie star who has converted to evangelical Christianity and become a fixture at Huckabee's side on the campaign trail.

Cole, for his part, told me he has not spoken to his old friend "Mike" in six months. "He's so busy it's an impossibility to get to him," Cole said. "I've been meaning to call him." Now 78 years old and afflicted with terminal heart disease, Cole has been left behind.

Yet back when Huckabee launched his preaching career in 1980, he went straight to Cole for assistance. "He's actually known me longer than I've known him," Cole said of Huckabee. Cole, who had operated a missionary supply organization that established Christian television and radio stations in the Third World, said he helped the young Huckabee when he started his own television show in Arkansas. Huckabee's show, Positive Alternatives, which first aired in the cities Pine Bluff and Texarkana in 1980, became his vehicle for statewide recognition. By 1989, with Cole's support, Huckabee had become the youngest-ever president of the 500,000-member Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

A Rapist's Release

When Huckabee leveraged his popularity in the Baptist community into a political career, declaring a run for lieutenant governor in 1993, Cole urged his listeners to vote for him, helping deliver him a narrow victory in the heavily Democratic state. Huckabee then replaced Jim Guy Tucker as Arkansas governor in 1996 after the Democrat announced he would resign while appealing his federal conviction in the Whitewater scandal. With Huckabee in the governor's mansion, Cole pressured his pal to act on a cause he had championed for almost a decade--the release of Wayne Dumond, accused of raping a 17-year-old cheerleader who happened to be Bill Clinton's distant cousin.

Dumond, a father of six and a Vietnam veteran, had been arrested twice during the 1970s for sexual assault and another time for attacking a man with a claw hammer. While awaiting trial in 1985 for raping Clinton's cousin, Dumond was allegedly attacked by two masked men who forced him to perform oral sex on them before they castrated him. The doctor who examined Dumond after the incident raised the possibility that his castration was self-inflicted. A half-gallon bottle of Jim Beam whiskey was found two-thirds empty at the scene of the crime. Meanwhile, according to investigators, no signs of a struggle were present.

Cole, a vitriolic Clinton critic who calls the former president "trash" and says he helped produce the infamous anti-Clinton propaganda video The Clinton Chronicles, immediately embraced Dumond's cause, taking to the airwaves to paint him as the victim of a dark conspiracy. Cole claimed without evidence that a vindictive Clinton and his surrogates had framed Dumond and had possibly orchestrated his castration as well.

Besides antipathy toward Clinton, Cole's support for Dumond's freedom was influenced by religious motives. Cole pronounced Dumond a born-again Christian and frequently visited the rapist in prison as his "spiritual adviser." He claimed that Dumond and his wife had had a notable history in the Baptist community, heading the youth department of a church in Forrest City, Arkansas. "I talked to [Dumond's] pastor and the high school principal of the school -- not a single one of them said anything bad about him," Cole said.

As Dumond's 1996 date with the state parole board approached, Cole and Dumond's wife lobbied Huckabee on the rapist's behalf. Cole said he organized several "get-together parties," where he impressed on the governor his case for freeing Dumond. According to a state official who advised Huckabee on the Dumond case, Cole quickly convinced the governor to pressure the parole board for Dumond's release. "I don't believe that he had access to, or read, the law enforcement records or parole commission's files--even by then," the official told journalist Murray Waas. "He already seemed to have made up his mind, and his knowledge of the case appeared to be limited to a large degree as to what people had told him, what Jay Cole had told him...."

After persuading the parole board to commute Dumond's sentence, Huckabee congratulated the rapist upon receiving his liberty."Dear Wayne," Huckabee wrote in a letter to Dumond. "My desire is that you be released from prison. I feel that parole is the best way for your reintroduction to society to take place."

After Dumond relocated to Missouri upon his release in 1999, he was linked through DNA evidence to the rape and strangulation of a new victim, Carol Sue Shields. In 2005, months after being sentenced to life in prison for the killing, Dumond died in his cell. At the time state prosecutors were preparing to charge him with raping and murdering yet another woman. Despite the overwhelming evidence connecting Dumond to a spate of killings, Cole maintained that his friend was once again the target of a frame-up.

"What possibly could have happened," Cole mused, "is, as you know, the law enforcement people are under real pressure from the public to solve these crimes. In all probability they needed a victim real quick. They said, well, we got one here in our county, he fits the profile." And though Dumond's death was by all accounts a suicide, Cole insisted that "it's possible" he was killed by unknown parties who wanted revenge.

Huckabee's role in engineering Dumond's release became an issue in the weeks leading up to this year's Iowa caucuses. In December, the mother of Dumond's last confirmed victim, Shields, surfaced in a highly circulated YouTube video with a pointed message: "If not for Mike Huckabee, Wayne Dumond would've been in prison, and Carol Sue would've been with us this year for Christmas." Now Huckabee has gone from denying any part in securing Dumond's release to confessing his regret. "There's nothing you can say, but my gosh, it's the thing you pray never happens. And it did," he explained to Byron York, a columnist for the conservative National Review.

The mounting evidence that Huckabee orchestrated the release of a serial rapist and killer at the urging of a preacher has proven inconsequential to the evangelical ranks who vaulted him into the front of the Republican presidential pack. To Huckabee's swelling flock, he has emerged as the perfect candidate, blessed by "God's anointing and calling," Pentecostal televangelist Kenneth Copeland declared. Cole sees Huckabee in similarly wondrous terms, but questions whether a spiritually bankrupt nation like the United States deserves such a godly leader.

"We're living right on the edge of the Lord's return, I believe, and it may be that the Lord will give this country something that it really deserves," Cole remarked to me. "And that is a Hillary [Clinton] as president." The old minister went on: "We have turned our backs on the Lord. We've thrown the Ten Commandments out of every place that we could. Every effort in the world is being made right now to eliminate any mention of the name Jesus, and the Lord who's made such a sacrifice for his children is not going to tolerate it."

Huckabee would undoubtedly disagree with his old preacher friend that America "deserves" a Hillary Clinton presidency. He would not be running for president if he believed that. But when I asked Cole if Huckabee would agree with the rest of his statement--that the world is "on the edge of" suffering God's wrath--he gravely responded, "Our belief in what the word of the Lord says will match very closely."




Display:
This country has endured years of hell under a man who is the forerunner of Huckabee. I refer to George W. Bush who was probably the worst president in American history. I look to the day when American voters consider a candidate by the actions of the candidate and not by the candidate's declaration of religious principles. Alas, too many voters are seduced by a smooth talking pseudo Christian. Huchabee was fooled by a convict's vows of religion because he could not see beyond the convict's words. Now Huckabee wants us to be fooled by his own pretentions.

by planeman on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:37:11 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (5 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (6 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (4 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.