A Cautious Man
July 27, 2004
That Execution Line
From TalkLeft, I learned today that, as it is adopted tonight, "the Democratic Party Platform will not contain an endorsement of the death penalty." That post, and a linked article from the Capital Times of Madison, contain some details:
The Democratic Party platform that will be adopted tonight will include one particularly significant change from the platforms adopted by the party conventions of 1992, 1996 and 2000.

During the platform-writing process, the drafting committee quietly removed the section of the document that endorsed capital punishment.

Thus, for the first time since the 1980s, Democrats will not be campaigning on a pro-death penalty program.

Asked about the removal of the pro-capital punishment language, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who chairs the committee that drafted the document, explained that "it's a reflection of John Kerry."

Kerry, who is often accused of flip-flopping by his Republican critics, is made of firmer stuff than most politicians when it comes to the issue of capital punishment. He opposes executions in virtually all cases - making an exception only after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, when he said he would consider supporting capital punishment, in limited cases, for foreign terrorists.On the domestic front, Kerry has earned high marks from death penalty critics. Last fall, when the Students Against the Death Penalty project of the American Civil Liberties Union rated the nine candidates who were then seeking the Democratic presidential nomination on a variety of death penalty-related issues, Kerry and Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Dennis Kucinich were the only two who received perfect scores.

Kerry opposes the execution of juveniles, supports greater access to DNA testing for death row inmates, and argues that studies "reveal serious questions, racial bias, and deep disparities in the way the death penalty is applied." Kerry was a co-sponsor of the National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2001 and of the National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2003.
Other opponents of capital punishment (such as Mario Cuomo) found that issue to be dangerous for them. And, as I've noted here previously, the Democratic governor of my home state refused to even allow a study of the death penalty, which had passed with bipartisan support.

Now, if Kerry is attacked for his opposition to capital punishment, does that mean that his opponents are being anti-Catholic?



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