OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Monday, October 17, 2005 :::

A Closer Look at the Scolders

The TD editorial page takes a closer look at the hyperbolic scoldings of various newspapers in and near Virginia regarding the Kilgore/Kaine death penalty flap. Many interesting revelations:

The Washington Post calls Jerry Kilgore's television advertisments regarding his opponent, Tim Kaine, and the death penalty a "smear." The Virginian-Pilot says Kilgore is taking the "low road." According to The Roanoke Times, the Republican is engaging in "demagoguery." In sum, the editorials say Kilgore is a scumbag for bringing up such a non-issue.

Well, to some, including the victims' families spotlighted in the Kilgore ads, a capital-punishment debate deserves an airing. Perhaps it's a debate not worth having to The Post, The Pilot, and The Times, because they are out of the mainstream in the Commonwealth.

The majority of Virginians support the death penalty and consider it a deterrent. Yet The Post noted on June 9, 2004, "We oppose the death penalty," when it smacked Maryland governor Robert Ehrlich for overturning a moratorium imposed by his predecessor, Parris Glendening. On December 12, 2003, The Pilot argued that Virginia "would be well-served by a moratorium" on executions. On November 14, 2003, The Times said with glee that a conservative group had weighed in with its opposition to capital punishment, adding, "The death penalty is evil. It is wrong."

So the loudest denunciations of the Kilgore positon and ads come from the very press organs who, in the past, have made their opposition to the death penalty perfectly clear.

At least they are being consistent on the issue (without telling anyone...a nice touch, that). And, without question, these same papers will be endorsing the Kaine campaign in the days ahead (though said endorsements were never, ever in doubt). So their defense of Kaine, too, is consistent. Liberal newspapers defending a liberal candidate. Who ever heard of such a thing? Virtually anyone paying attention.

It must be noted that the TD spanked Kilgore for his death penalty ads. But, it must also be said, their endorsement of Kilgore (when it finally runs) should shock no one. Yet a conservative paper criticizing a conservative candidate...what are the odds? Not inconsiderable, again, to anyone paying attention.

The TD does the wider public a service by showing the shifting nature of Kaine's death penalty opposition -- from policy grounds, to faith grounds, to a mix of the two. The longer this story runs, the more Kaine looks like a sail trimmer.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 10/17/2005 2 comments


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