The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kaine's Inconsistency on the Death Penalty

Tim Kaine is getting beat up around the blogosphere today for his views about the death penalty. While Tim Kaine wants to limit the debate to his "personal opposition" to the death penalty, the fact is that Kaine has spent his entire adult life opposing the death penalty and trying to get it eliminated in Virginia.

As a candidate for Governor, Kaine admits that he would prefer that Virginia not have the death penalty, and has stated his personal belief that not even heinous criminals like Adolf Hitler should be executed. However, he also says that his personal views would not affect how he acts as Governor with respect to the death penalty. This position can lead the voters to only two logical conclusions: Tim Kaine is either a liar or a coward.

During the debate, WSLS' Jay Warren asked Kaine whether he was "walking away from his convictions" in order to get elected. Kaine protested the characterization, but the question was right on. Kaine either believes that the death penalty is morally wrong or he doesn't. If he does, how can he justify signing off on those death sentences or say his judgement won't be affected. If he doesn't then he is lying to make himself appear more religious. If Kaine believes what he says, as I think he does, then he is doing precisely what Warren has suggested. Either way, it makes sense for voters not to trust Kaine on this issue and it makes sense for Kilgore to point out this logical inconsistency.

Today, the Kilgore campaign has released two new ads to highlight the candidates' differences on this issue. They can be found here. I will admit that the Stanley ad makes me uncomfortable because it implies that murderers are not enitled to be defended. I do not believe that is the case here (I think that Kaine represented the defendant only for the purpose of overturning his death sentence, but not on the initial finding of guilt) but the ad walks a thin line nonetheless. The Kelly ad, however, is extremely effective and makes a legitimate point.

In addition, Chad Dotson has done a good job rounding up reaction on this issue.


Blogger Ranger03 said...

Your slam of Kaine may be warranted depending on his convictions, but as you have portrayed them I'm tempted to say it is not. Let me explain...

You wrote, "Kaine either believes that the death penalty is morally wrong or he doesn't. If he does, how can he justify signing off on those death sentences or say his judgement won't be affected."

But we've got to ask ourselves the root of his moral convictions. Are the based in his Catholicism? If so its entirely legitimate for him to say that "I won't govern on my religious beliefs out of deference to those that don't share them." If, however, his convictions are based on non-sectarian principles then he runs into some problems and can be driven into the ground.

9:44 PM

Blogger Old Zach said...

Are you really saying that for Catholics deeply held religious beliefs give way to a greater sense of duty to the law? I don't buy that. Kaine is in fact saying that he will put aside his religious beliefs in order to be elected Governor.

There is a big difference between saying I wont allow my religious belief to supplant the law or the will of the people and saying that, if elected, i will do nothing to affect change of those laws which I morally oppose.

11:21 PM


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