Friday 6 June 2008
Obama and the Death Penalty
I don't want to rain on Obama's parade, but it is unfortunate that he has not taken a clear position opposed to capital punishment. Obama's views on the death penalty seem to have evolved with his political career, from outright abolition a decade ago, to the views you see here in this clip from a debate during the 2004 Senate race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyOL8TxtexM. Obama says the death penalty is 'appropriate in certain circumstances' such as 'extraordinarily heinous crimes'. He's certainly not a rabid executioner, like the current tenant of the White House. When Bush was governor of Texas he was responsible for scores of executions. Getting him out of Texas was an important step forward in fighting the death penalty, although there was a stiff price to pay for it! It's a shame that in the US there isn't even a debate about this issue at the political level. Politicians are simply terrified to come out and fight on the subject, fearful it will destroy their chances.