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Sunday, May 15, 2005

I agree with Jeff Jacoby!

We both oppose the Massachusetts death penalty bill, but for opposite reasons. I oppose it because I'm opposed to the death penalty, period. Jacoby opposes it because he thinks it won't allow enough executions: "Romney's goal is a death penalty that can never go wrong, but his bill would guarantee a system so fraught with hurdles that no murderer would ever be put to death."

I would submit that that is precisely the point. People generally like the idea of the death penalty, but they just don't like it so much when lots of people are getting executed. This bill, if it passed, would let Romney tout the accomplishment of bringing the death penalty to Massachusetts--a nice credential to have in the Republican presidential primaries. At the same time, he wouldn't have to deal with criminals actually being put to death and all the controversy and unpleasantness that comes with that. Sounds like a win-win situation.

Why would Jacoby prefer to defeat this bill and maintain the status quo of no death penalty at all? I would've thought he might prefer a gradualist approach, allowing the state to get used to having a death penalty on the books for a while before expanding it in the years ahead.