2008 What Should Obama Say?
posted by June 25 at 9:17 AMon
The Supreme Court ruled this morning that the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the crime of child rape. Meaning: States like Louisiana can no longer threaten to execute guys like this.
This will please death penalty opponents (and whatever small constituency of child rapists there is in this country), but it’s a tricky political walk for Obama, mostly because of the echoes with this:
Obama, once an opponent of capital punishment, is in favor of the death penalty for certain crimes but expresses worry about wrongful convictions. That’s not exactly a Dukakis death penalty stance, but still: What will Obama say when he’s asked about this ruling? What should he say?
The universal consensus among the political class is that Dukakis should have begun the answer to that famous question about the hypothetical rape of his wife with something like this:
I’d want to rip the guy’s head off with my bare hands. If there was anything left of him by the time a court got to decide on the death penalty, then yeah, I’d support it, and volunteer for the firing squad.
Which makes me guess that, if he’s been listening to all the replays of that Dukakis answer over the years, Obama’s answer on questions about the Supreme Court barring the death penalty for child rapists will begin with something like this: As the father of two young girls…
Where he goes from there will be telling, though—for death penalty opponents and those on the Democratic Wimp Watch alike.