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RSS icon Comments on Re: Re: What Should Obama Say?


He saw Little Children.

Posted by Rufio (From Hook) | June 25, 2008 2:21 PM

LOL... I thought he was against the death penalty?... He's looking better every day. Soon He'll be more conservative than McCain.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | June 25, 2008 2:23 PM

how ya like me now?

Posted by max solomon | June 25, 2008 2:26 PM

I know his opinion matters little to the court but matters for the sake of political expediency. Anybody who is driven to rape a child and knows they would face death will kill the only witness because the penalty is the same. It's just this notion that the bar for cruel and unusual punishment has been raised by him that I find strange.

Posted by Vince | June 25, 2008 2:30 PM

That's pretty much how I feel.....I'd prefer we don't have the death penalty but if its up to the states to have one or not I don't really see where the US Supreme Court gets off and deciding what's heinous enough to justify it. Either states are allowed to impose it or not, I don't see where the crime itself factors into "cruel & unusual".

Posted by Jason | June 25, 2008 2:31 PM

Pandering on crime.
Walking back on Nafta.
Willing to strike at Iran.
Turnabout on public finance.
Threw JW under the bus.
Pro ethanol and has Daschle on ethanol boards.....
gee maybe's he's mainly just a pol like all the rest? Only, better?

On the substance, if you are going to have a death penalty for murder I'd kind of agree this is comparably heinous. I mean
it's in the ball park.
Since he's for the death penalty in general this isn't too much of a pander really.
Meanwhile the big, big pander and hypocrisy remains drug laws.
They all did 'em.
They all support keeping everyone else who did 'em in jail. And mainly that's black people! Surprise, surprise, surprise.

So if we can't even get politicians to be sane and fair and smart about that why expect any better on more serious crimes?

I'd say all in all you don't see huge differences between them all, on the pander meter.

Posted by PC | June 25, 2008 2:35 PM

There is actually a more despicable person than a child rapist: a person who falsely accuses someone of being a child rapist. The Supreme Court decision is correct. Remember the Wenatchee cases in the 80s?

Posted by raindrop | June 25, 2008 2:35 PM

Aw, Obama's turned into a Pander Bear. How cute.

Posted by Angus | June 25, 2008 2:37 PM

pc, i too wish for a perfect politician. barak obama is not that. but i wonder what would satisfy you. obama has to play the game, other wise he won't get elected. so i really want to know what all these disappointed folks out there were expecting.

Posted by douglas | June 25, 2008 2:42 PM

Doesn't upset me very much.

I don't really understand how locking some dude in a stifling cell 23 hours a day, telling him the day he's going to die, postponing it several times, then taking away his shoes, strapping him to a table, leaving him there sometimes for hours before hitting him with a drug overdose, then poisoning him twice fails to violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. If I did that to some asshole on my own personal initiative, the prosecution would wax eloquently about my inhuman cruelty.


I understand this is a minority opinion. If I'd was a straight issue voter and backed the candidate who most closely mirrored my personal political beliefs, I'd have backed Kucinich.

President Obama's going to appoint Supremes who will tend to roll back Capital Sentences, because he's going to appoint Supremes who have strong records on civil rights.

That's good enough for me.

Posted by Max | June 25, 2008 2:47 PM

OMG! Obama's not perfect? Who would've thought?

C'mon, PC, did you really think that he wouldn't play the game like they all have to? Or beyond that, did you really think that those of us who supported Obama vs. Clinton were so naive that we truly believed we'd always agree with him on everything?

Posted by Hernandez | June 25, 2008 2:55 PM

While I don't agree with his opinion, I don't expect to agree 100% with anyone.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | June 25, 2008 3:00 PM

It's not like he has two daughters ...

Oh, wait, he does.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 25, 2008 3:06 PM

The way that is worded, Obama thinks that 8 is too old to be raped, 6 too young, but 7 is a sweet spot.

Posted by SteveM | June 25, 2008 3:34 PM
I don't really see where the US Supreme Court gets off and deciding what's heinous enough to justify it. Either states are allowed to impose it or not, I don't see where the crime itself factors into "cruel & unusual".

The Eighth Amendment forbids cruel and unusual punishment and the Fourteenth Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states, not just the federal government. That's where the Supreme Court gets off on making this decision.

Part of deciding what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment rests on whether the crime fits the punishment. Throwing someone in prison for 20 years for jaywalking is excessive and severe punishment for a minor crime and would not hold up to judicial review. Executing someone for doing anything other than taking a human life is punishment that is too severe for the crime, and is a rule already established in Coker v. Georgia. Someday the court will likely decide that execution for murder is too severe.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 25, 2008 4:15 PM

Basically he's saying it's a States Rights issue. I happen to agree with the court, but I'm sure as hell not going to vote for the other guy.

Posted by Dingo Rossi | June 25, 2008 4:26 PM

Ouch. I'm an Obama fan, but I disagree with him on this.

(A) Much as we feel sorry for child victims, they make terrible witnesses. Way to high a chance of a false conviction.

(B) If a child rapist is worried about getting executed for rape, what's to stop him from killing the child (the only witness)? Same penalty either way.

(C) Should we execute 20 year olds bonking 17 year olds? Should we execute Roman Polanski?

Posted by Reverse Polarity | June 25, 2008 4:51 PM

I'm quite disappointed in Obama, though I do think his opinion is sincerely held and not merely a move to the center. He was a Constitutional law professor after all.

I wrote about this topic on my own blog and for Talking Points Memo Cafe today.

Posted by joe perez | June 25, 2008 5:07 PM


Wenatchee cases? What happened with that?

Posted by Non | June 25, 2008 5:12 PM

He's becoming Hillary.

Posted by Bob | June 25, 2008 5:13 PM

17, was that (polanski scandal) classified as child rape? i thought it was statutory, which isn't the same as "child rape." sex with a minor isn't automatically termed "child rape." but i agree with you, actually. these draconian measures are never the answer. sister prejean writes quite eloquently ad convincingly about why the death penalty in general is a bad idea in "dead man walking."--a must read for everyone, imo.

Posted by ellarosa | June 25, 2008 5:20 PM

is a political decission. its not practical to apply the death penalty in this case because it will not reduce the number of child rapes. most of these happen in families and its usually somebody they know. these laws are passed by legislators who are reacting to headlines and dont really care about long term solutions that produce an actual reduction in these barbaric crimes.

yes, child rapists deserve to die in my opinion.

if they are truly guilty, they should be crucified with with a rusty hammer or tossed in a bath tub with a toaster.

but it is not the state's job to seek revenge or to give us a false sense of security.

the majority of these cases are not the ones that grab the headlines. most happen inside families and "communities" and death penalty will make it less likely for people to testify. in other words, there will be a bigger increase. stats always show that tough on crime laws and ill advised legislatures actually have the reverse effect.

remember the drug war?

it will not have the desired effect in reducing these barbaric acts which should be society's role. im sure a progressive chicago liberal like senator obama knows this, but he feels he has to get elected. it will be important what happens once he is in office. what he says now to election day is not really all that important in my HO.

Posted by SeMe | June 25, 2008 5:29 PM

I oppose the death penalty but I'm not sure I buy the reasoning of the Supreme Court decision. Narrowly focusing on whether or not a particular crime is sufficiently atrocious to merit death is a dodge that's going to sidestep all the most devastating criticisms of the death penalty for ANY crime. This is simply not a productive debate. Ideally Obama would say that. But he probably won't. Oh well. I care a lot more about whether he sells out his constituents on foreign policy.

Posted by Trevor | June 25, 2008 5:39 PM

@17 I agree with everything you've said.

Moreover, what impact would the potential for a death sentence have on the reporting of the crime? Often these things are done by members of the family or family friends. Getting raped is awful enough for a kid—I can't imagine how hard it would be to compound the fallout from the rape with the guilt the kid might feel from having a role in the execution of a step-father or uncle or whatever. This also is to say nothing of how *long* death penalty cases drag on with appeal after appeal after appeal. It would potentially end up making a rape the common thread throughout somebody's entire childhood (the average time, I think, from conviction to execution is 8 years).

Posted by Andrew M. | June 25, 2008 6:33 PM

Right, the guy won't get a needle in his arm.
Too bad, now we will stick him in a jail cell with Bubba the Nightly Ass-Raping cellmate for the next 20 years AKA "the rest of his life."
Or just give him the Jeffrey Dahmer Special, a homicidal cellmate. Like the warden or anyone is going to really investigate that crime.

Posted by robot2501 | June 25, 2008 8:58 PM

So Obama as awesome and all, but... Europe is sooooo going to lose their hard-on for him. This kind of stuff goes over like a shit balloon on the other side of the pond.

Posted by Big Sven | June 25, 2008 11:15 PM

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