Sunday, April 10, 2005

Tango With Death

Senator Sam Brownback acts more like a presidential candidate every day. In December of last year a Quinnipiac Polling Institute poll showed when given a choice Americans preferred life in prison over the death penalty in cases of murder. At that point in time Brownback was a staunch death penalty supporter.

Brownback's support of the death penalty goes way back to his days in the House of Representatives. In 1995 he voted yes on HR 729 which made it harder for persons convicted in State Court and given the death penalty to get a hearing in Federal Court on constitutional grounds. In 1996 he voted no on an amendment to HR 2703 which was trying to strengthen the right for a person given the death penalty in state court to appeal to a federal court.

His pro-death penalty pedigree has been well established for a long time and was not generally considered something that was likely to change. Then on Sunday a San Francisco Chronicle article reveals that 'ole Sam may be moderating his tone. From the article:
"If we're trying to establish a culture of life, it's difficult to have the state sponsoring executions," he told U.S. News & World Report this month. He also suggested that taxpayer funding for abortions and capital punishment should be eliminated.
Is this a part of the moderation that so many presidential hopefuls go through? Perhaps he is worried that his constituents will begin to see the hypocrisy in supporting the death penalty while giving lip service to the "culture of life."

The key here is to not let Brownback get away with a giant "flip flop." No news story about Brownback and the death penalty should be without prominent mention that he sung a different tune before becoming a presidential hopeful. Voters hate panderers almost as much as they hate hypocrites.

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