Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mitt's DOA Death Penalty Bill

The Boston Phoenix has a great rundown of the political fallout from Governor Romney's so-called 'foolproof' death penalty bill. Apparently, Mitt is fooling no one with his transparent ploy to shore up his conservative credentials. Here are a couple of the best bits:

The Massachusetts citizenry apparently doesn't care about the measure: although polls show a majority favoring the bill, legislators and their aides say they are receiving no calls about it.
The New York Times Magazine mocked Romney in its most recent "Year in Ideas" issue, calling his "foolproof death penalty" "the first effort to write a purely symbolic criminal statute." No prominent Republicans from out of state have spoken up for the plan.
Romney's plan can best be described as a right-wing parody of a liberal's perfect death-penalty bill: an expensive and complicated new bureaucracy that would execute nobody. The bill calls for layers and layers of new processes and legal requirements, while restricting death-penalty eligibility so narrowly that it's hard to find any real case to which it would ever apply.
[The bill] has become a focal point for discussion of what his administration has not done to improve public safety and criminal prosecution. Why not add police, increase prosecutorial budgets, improve crime labs, raise pay for court-appointed defense attorneys? "Why is this the best way to spend money?" asks State Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), a member of the judiciary committee. "There was no answer to that."
And Romney thinks he has the political acumen to be President? He singlehandedly managed to turn a slam-dunk "tough on crime" wedge issue into a showcase of how he's let our criminal justice system here in the Commonwealth stagnate.