Death penalty in Massachusetts

Monday 21 November 2005

Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, recently had a death penalty bill defeated. I don't think anyone was surprised by the outcome. Romney did it for political reasons. Not that he doesn't want a death penalty law, I'm sure he does. But he knew it would be defeated. He proposed it because he is going to be making moves on the national political stage, and he wants some conservative credentials to talk up in the red states. Now he'll be able to say that he pushed for the death penalty in Massachusetts.

I don't know what Romney is thinking when it comes to national politics anyway. Not only is he a RINO, but he's from Massachusetts, the bluest of the blue states. Here's my prediction for how the Republican primary debates will go:

Romney: I successfully trimmed the state budget..

Any other candidate: In MASSACHUSETTS!

Romney: I pushed for the death penalty bill..

Any other candidate: How'd that go over in MASSACHUSETTS?

etc..

BTW: in other death penalty news, even trigger-happy Texas is realizing the death penalty is prone to error: Executed man may have been innocent. In my mind, this is what is wrong with the death penalty. No matter how many safeguards are in a bill, it is still people who apply judgement all along the line, and those people may not behave impartially, honestly, or flawlessly. Abuses of power, however slight or even unintentional, happen all the time. The death penalty is too final.

Comments

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Robert Kieffer 9:41 AM on 21 Nov 2005

A while ago I heard an interview on NPR with a singer/songwriter whose name I can't for the life of me remember. The interviewer was asking about one song in particular, based on the story of a man on death row. The conversation turned to the singer's political views and, when asked why he was so vociferous in his opposition to the death penalty, he replied simply (paraphrasing here), "I believe killing is wrong, regardless of cause or context. But I live in a democracy where I am responsible for the politicians I elect and the decisions they make. It would be hypocritical for me to stand by and do nothing."

I am not doing his argument justice, but the fact that his motivation for action came from the tension between his personal beliefs and responsibility he was obligated to carry as a citizen of our country was very compelling. It is certainly a sobering perspective, especially nowadays. :-\

If anyone has heard this interview and remembers the name of the singer, please drop me a line!

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Nate Finch 9:53 AM on 21 Nov 2005

Heh, love your prediction of the republican debates :) I agree with your assessment of the death penalty. While I personally have no problem with heinous villains getting a lethal injection, your point remains true - the legal system can never be perfect, and therefore we should never punish people in such a way that it can't be reversed later (not that you can truly reverse a decade or more of prison time, but you can at least let the guy out).

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Damien Katz 10:29 AM on 21 Nov 2005

Mitt Romney sure is handsome though.

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Matt 10:54 AM on 21 Nov 2005

Didn't he do something with the Olympics too?

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Ned Batchelder 11:05 AM on 21 Nov 2005

Yes, Mitt was instrumental in running the Salt Lake Olympics, and is handsome. He has quite a resume. I just think he'll have a tough time competing as a Republican.

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Sylvain Galineau 11:27 AM on 21 Nov 2005

And he loves ice cream, too.

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Pete Lyons 11:30 AM on 21 Nov 2005

The far right might not find him appealing but his association with MA may actually appeal to the moderates in both parties. I'm not predicting a victory here, but I wouldn't count him out yet either. The run up to the next elections should be interesting.

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Nate Finch 9:48 AM on 22 Nov 2005

Pete - I think Ned is actually dead on with his prediction. Sure, he'll get more moderate votes, but he's going to alienate the vast majority of republican voters who live in the midwest and south, just by virtue of being a Masshole. He lives in "the big city" and couldn't stop same sex marriage from being legalized in his state. There's just no way he's going to get the nomination from all those small town folks in the bible belt.

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Hill 12:28 PM on 22 Nov 2005

Don't talk shit about the death penalty. I live in Massachusetts. Death Penalty is cool, dogg.

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Pete Lyons 12:56 PM on 22 Nov 2005

Yo, it was a fizzizle Hillzzizle. The big G in the house got it branged.

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Bob 1:16 PM on 22 Nov 2005

Nate, your description of Republican voters as living in the "midwest and south" is not entirely accurate at least as it applies to the 2004 presidential election. Look at the election results. The voting was divided into rural vs. urban states including states outside of the midwest and south. George Bush appealed to the rural working class.

So a wealthy New Englander was appealing to these voters. (Okay, he grew up in Texas). With the right spin, Mitt Romney could appeal to these same voters.

Coming from Massachusetts may not be Mitt's big problem but there could be an issue with his religion. Romney is Mormon. Some conservative Christians have theological problems with Mormons. His religion wasn't raised as a big issue during the gubernatorial campaign but did cause some controversy during his unsuccessful Senate campaign in 1994.

A related matter: before college, Romney earned a draft deferral by going to France for a two-year missionary tour with the Mormon Church. And according to Wikipedia he speaks fluent French. He spent two years in France?? Now that could be the real deal breaker! ;-)

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Bruce Perry 4:34 PM on 22 Nov 2005

He spends a lot of time travelling out of state and giving speeches about how he's fighting the good fight against our terrible liberal ways. That's probably how he'll play it when he runs. If he had no presidential plans, he wouldn't spend so much time sucking up to out-of-state conservatives.

Here's a funny story about Romney laughing at a joke about MA being controlled by the KKK (Kennedy Kerry Klan)

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/11/11/romney_distances_himself_from_kkk_joke/

He later said it wasn't funny and that he wasn't paying attention.

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