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Dukakis or Obama should say that if it was their wife or child who is raped that they want the perpetrator killed via the most vicous means available. But also explain that is why the families victims are not allowed to make that decision in a court of law. Our justice system is not based on blood lust revenge but instead justice for the victim.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | June 25, 2008 9:28 AM

What he do is change the subject, duh:

Today the Supreme Court cut the Exxon Valdez punitive judgment award in half. It's now been XX years since the oil spill and the oil companies are making record profits and Exxon hasn't paid one dime in these damages....Meanwhile they are getting huge tax subsidies & the fishermen/women are dying off.

They insist we plug more and more into the oil dependent energy infrastructure and drilling which can cause spills and increased dependence on foreign oil, to.

We need to get off the addiction and not take "just another hit."

I now announce no more subsidies till they pay up that judgemnt. Not one dime.

And I want Congress to pass a law saying that in any oil spill there will be added a 100% tax on the punitive judgement to go to new energy R & D.

oh and here's a good writer saying lots of things you heard here first:

Posted by PC | June 25, 2008 9:30 AM

Child rapists should be put in a cell with Bubba so that they may enjoy a little forced penetration. Then, they should be drawn and quartered. Then burned. And their ashes flushed down the toilet so that they may rest peacefully amongst the sewage. That is all.

Posted by DanFan | June 25, 2008 9:31 AM

The right answer, IMO, goes something like this:

..."I would want to kill them myself. But we don't live in a country of vigilante justice and kangaroo courts. We live in a country of laws, of courts, of our Constitution, of principles handed down from centuries of human society, of democracy. We live in a country of justice for all, not just for the victims or the outraged. We believe in setting good examples. We believe in the basic goodness of man. We believe in the good of the many outweighing the good of the one, or of the few. And despite what my own anger, my own human desire for revenge and retribution, would want; I would place the dispensation of justice into those careful systems and honored principles, and not into the emotion and outrage of my own broken heart."

(OK, part of that is really Star Trek III, not American history, but dammit, it applies.)

Posted by K | June 25, 2008 9:41 AM

Obama should echo the well-reasoned arguments in the majority opinion:
- By making the penalty for child rape the same as for child murder, you increase the liklihood that a case of child rape becomes a case of child murder.
- By obligating the victim to participate in the more lengthy death penalty appeal process, you're potentially doing more harm than good to the child.

Both arguments are aimed at the welfare of the victim, which is important. By contrast, the minority opinion explicitly says "The Eighth Amendment protects the right of an accused. It does not authorize this Court to strike down federal or state criminal laws on the ground that they are not in the best interests of crime victims or the broader society."

Can it really be that hard to argue that the Court does in fact have an obligation to victims and broader society?

Posted by also | June 25, 2008 9:42 AM

Here's something I'd like to hear Sen. Obama comment on:

Yikes! Ralph Nader rears his head again.

Posted by lark | June 25, 2008 9:44 AM

Dukakis' daughter graduated from Brown in the same class as my sister, and I stood next to him for a good bit of the graduation party that night (this was two years after his disastrous run for the White House and after he'd become about as popular in MA as herpes). There's no way that poor little man could have convincingly made a case for being able to tear anyone apart, unless it was that Vern Troyer midget guy from the Mike Myers movies that raped Kitty.

Posted by Just Sayin' | June 25, 2008 9:44 AM

How about: "Child rape is certainly one of the worst crimes imaginable, and of course the states will want to punish it with the most extreme form of punishment at their disposal. But executing an innocent person is also one of the worts mistakes that the state can make, and it's understandable that the judicial branch of government would take strong measures to prevent that mistake, which we know occurs far too often, from happening. I believe we should work toward a justice system that was transparent enough, honest enough, and fair enough that we don't need to worry about the very real fact of wrongful conviction anymore. The current administration and it's allies in congress have taken big steps back in that regard, treating judgeships as political gifts to be awarded without regard to character or merit. We clearly have a long way to go to restore the sort of trust in the justices system that would make capital punishment in any form an option for anyone more concerned about justice than about vengeance."

Posted by kinaidos | June 25, 2008 9:56 AM

I agree with your assessment and this morning's Supreme Court ruling (yet another example of the court's independence). As a reluctant advocate of Capital Punishment (I support its rare use but not in cases of child rape), I believe Sen. Obama has a fine line to tow. Clearly, there are far too few opponents of the Death Penalty to consider his support of it a problem in the general election. But, he's probably gonna be asked that kind of a question. I remember that debate quite well. Dukakis remarked later to his wife Kitty that "he blew it".

Posted by lark | June 25, 2008 10:04 AM

what number 1 said.

Posted by konstantconsumer | June 25, 2008 10:05 AM

I still can't believe that Bernard Shaw asked that question on national television. And apparently, he asked the "edited for content" version. The original went into gruesome detail about what the hypothetical murderer would hypothetically do to Kitty D. in this hypothetical situation. Milking the Kitty was involved.

Posted by Bub | June 25, 2008 10:12 AM

Obama is tacking hard to the middle now that he's got lefties like me in the bag. His flip-flop on the FISA/telecom immunity bill is only the first stupid thing he's going to say so this stupid country will elect him.

Posted by Matthew | June 25, 2008 10:20 AM

@3 - Child rapists should be put in a cell with Bill Clinton? That would be cruel.

Posted by Mahtli69 | June 25, 2008 10:20 AM

@5. That is the correct answer. Go you!

Posted by Matthew | June 25, 2008 10:56 AM

@13 - I wasn't referring to him. It was just a "name" that popped into my head. Picturing big, dumb, professional criminal, that feels the need to punish child molestors in the slammer. Child rape: Sensitive subject for me. I don't know why since I wasn't raped as a child, but the thought of someone even looking at my daughter that way sends me into "Mama Bear" mode. That's why people like me don't get to decide what happens to these guys. :)

Posted by DanFan | June 25, 2008 11:00 AM

Why should this impact the President.

It's not his job.

It's Congress and the Supreme Court that are supposed to care about this.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 25, 2008 11:14 AM

@7 - Dukakis and my mom went to some of the same classes at Swarthmore, actually.

But Obama shouldn't get involved in this, it just brings up the whole GOP Fear Agenda.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 25, 2008 11:17 AM

I remember how deftly Mario Cuomo (on 60 Minutes, or some other news magazine) answered the same question that Dukakis fumbled...

...too bad he had Mob ties.

Posted by pgreyy | June 25, 2008 1:52 PM

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