Wednesday, October 12, 2005 :::
Sic Semper continues to deliver body blows to the Kaine stance on the death penalty.
One thing that has crossed my mind -- thanks to this post from Walt at CW -- is what seems to me to be a growing parallel between this campaign and the Dukakis-Bush campaign in 1988.
Bob Holsworth remarked about Kaine's "Bernie Shaw" moment on the death penalty. And he placed that remark squarely in the context of the Taylor Behl murder (which Old Zach mentions in his post as well). Recall that the Bernie Shaw moment was when Dukakis was asked in a debate the following:
Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?
No, I don't, Bernard...
Here's how Mark Shields characterized that response:
Last Saturday at Bates College in Maine, Michael Dukakis talked movingly about victims of crime and his own personal experience with it, and when his father then an aging physician was attacked and brutally robbed and assaulted in his own medical office, how his own brother had been killed in a hit and run driver, and he spoke movingly about it. Last night in the opening question, Bernie Shaw gave to him a hypothetical about Kitty Dukakis being raped and murdered and he didn't, I mean, his answer was an impersonal abstraction, instead of saying, look, sure, I know vengeance, and I know it boils up in all of us, and we want vengeance, but, you know, this is my feeling about capital punishment.
Shift gears, and today, we have Tim Kaine expressing his personal opposition to the death penalty, but also his commitment to enforcing the law as written.
A similar, impersonal abstraction. Even in the slightly more secure surroundings of the TD newsroom, Kaine stumbles his way to a response that leaves as many questions as it answers.
Some believe Dukakis lost the election because of his response to Shaw. Could it be possible that Kaine will, too?
One other parallel: Warner and Kaine tout the notion that Virginia is the best managed state in the nation. At its root, this is the same argument Dukakis made: elect me based upon my competence...and the Massachusetts Miracle.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 10/12/2005