Friday, June 27, 2008

Was Obama Being Honest?

In the last week or so I've discussed Obama the politician, but over at Ezra I'm reminded that Obama can be rather sincere:

"Yesterday, I expressed frustration with Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court's decision to declare the death penalty unconstitutional as a punishment for child rape. Obama's position may be politically expedient, I argued, but it's wrong on the merits. Jeffrey Rosen, however, has a good catch from The Audacity of Hope suggesting that Obama's take is actually tethered to a fairly long-standing belief in the applicability of the death penalty to crimes beyond murder:

"Obama's support for the execution of child rapists wasn't invented for the presidential election; it dates back to The Audacity of Hope, where he wrote: "While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes--mass murder, the rape and murder of a child--so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."

Some times Obama panders, but sometimes his mental complexity does lead to nuances in thinking that cross partisan lines. The question remains: Will he have the wisdom to know which to follow?


Gib said...

I never thought Obama was being dishonest about this - from what I've seen, more Americans support executing child rapists than oppose it - so it wouldn't be a huge surprise for Obama to be in the majority on this point.

That being said, if Obama were President, the judges he would appoint will be just like the ones who were in the majority on Kennedy, and there's really no way he can credibly claim otherwise.

I suppose he could promise to nominate judges who believe in both Roe v. Wade and the existence of a consensus for allowing the execution of child rapists, but I think he's more likely to announce that he's resumed daily email correspondence with Scarlett Johanssen first.

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