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June 12, 2002

Max on Clinton & Death Penalty

Over at MaxSpeak.org, Max rightly highlights Clinton's terrible record on death penalty issues. And thinks this is a reason to justify his vote for Nader.
...I oppose the death penalty, but honestly, on my list of progressive issues that matter to me, it ranks way down the list. The obsession by many liberals with the death penalty actually surprises me, since with 2 million people in US prisons, having their lives destroyed for mostly small-time drug crimes, why anyone would see a handful of (yes largely guilty) murderers as a prime voting issue is beyond me. Now, I think the Innocence Project, which uses DNA testing to free actually innocent folks, is great. But most of those condemning the death penalty, including those who attack Clinton's killing of Billy Ray Rector, are dealing with folks who were guilty of the murders involved.
...Death penalty work is considered the perfect "pro bono" charity work by corporate law offices, I think largely because it is so marginal to the real racial and economic destruction of the prison-industrial complex. In the recent movie Changing Lanes, after the firm commits some scummy ripoff of a charity, the senior parter tells the conscience-stricken Ben Affleck character, "Take off a few months and go do a death penalty case. It will make you feel better and you can come back."
...As for blaming Democrats for the 1996 "Effective Death Penalty Act", Clinton did sign it (the scum), but it passed because this was the first Congress controlled in both chambers by the GOP since the 1950s. So it hardly helps Max's pro-Green position.
... On crucial amendments such as whether federal habeous corpus decisions should defer to state court determinations, the Democrats overwhelmingly voted against such deferral.

Posted by Nathan at June 12, 2002 08:35 AM


Largely guilty maybe Nathan, but I live in Illinois. 12 Executions 13 reversals. I too "use" the death penalty to justify my (former) support of Nader and the greens. Illinois was going for Gore. The Illinois Death penalty system is a disgrace and the only reason we know is because of the Innocence Project. I agree with your comments about small time drug crimes, but can you really envision an America that has an enlightened harm reduction approach to drug crimes but still has the death penalty? Cart before the horse methinks.

Posted by: Biz at June 12, 2002 04:40 PM

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