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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Kaine's Campaign is on Death Row

Yesterday, I exposed the Mack truck sized hole in Tim Kaine's position on the death penalty. Today the Kaine camp is taking a beating over the issue in both the media and the blogosphere. It is clear the Kilgore has now made the death penalty the driving issue of the campaign. It is a smart and pertinent move in the wake of a number of relevant cases here in the Commonwealth, including the murder of VCU student Taylor Behl and the recent conviction of the DC sniper.

Kaine's response to the controversy has been weak at best. First of all, he is sticking to defense that his personal beliefs wouldn't affect his actions as governor, despite the flaws in his argument we have already discussed.

Second, as we can read in this morning's Roanoke Times, the Kaine camp is attacking Kilgore's ads as misrepresenting his actual beliefs. In the RT article, a Kaine spokesperson rebutts the assertion that Kaine doesn't believe Hitler qualifies for the death penalty by saying that "he makes exceptions for killings committed in self-defense or acts of war. Dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Amin would meet the latter exception."

However, if you read the transcript of the interview, you find it is the Kaine campaign that is twisting their candidate's words. Over at OMT, Norm has the text of the RTD interview. In response to the Hitler question, Kaine says this:

God grants life, God should take it away. That's my religious belief. And -- except in the, you know, kind of rare instances. Self-defense. I mean, a person who -- you know, who kills somebody in self defense, or -- or a nation that -- that wages a just war, that is essentially to defend itself or -- or others, that would be an exception.

What Kaine is saying here is that nations have the right to defend themselves if attacked and that the resulting deaths are not murder. He IS NOT saying that he supports the death penalty for war criminals. In fact the RTD goes on to clarify by asking:
Your conviction is so deep that you cannot name one person in history, who because of his malefactions and criminal behavior, deserved the death penalty?

To which Kaine responds, "No."

Finally, the Kaine campaign trots out Democratic Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert to defend Kaine's stance on the death penalty by saying:
I have a number of people on death row and [Kaine] has assured me that he will not interfere with the existing law

Ebert's comment, while it may be technically true, misses the entire point of the debate over the death penalty. As Governor, Kaine would not have to interfere with the existing law in order to overturn death sentences. It would be perfectly within his powers as Governor to commute the sentence of every person sent to death row, for ANY reason. Kaine would have the power to right what he considers a moral wrong, yet claims he would do nothing. The position is untenable. In fact, I would respect Kaine a great deal more if he simply stood behind his beliefs and indicated that he would not execute criminals if he were Governor.

This point brings us right back to the question posed in yesterday's post. Is Kaine being dishonest with the people of Virginia when he says he will enforce the death penalty just like any other Governor? Or, is it the case that Kaine simply cares more about getting elected than he does about doing what he believes is right?


Blogger Jim Hoeft said...

If it looks like B.S., it probably is B.S.

As I stated over in my post, the simple fact of the matter is that Kaine is trying to placate conservative voters with this commentary.

It's so obvious, it's almost embarrassing to even mention it.

The bottom line is that voters can either vote for someone who is insulting their intelligence with pseudo-conservative arguments, or the REAL conservative who walks-the-walk, talks-the-talk, and will pull the switch.

4:19 PM


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