Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jerry Rigged

Bill Clinton was famous for helping solidify his centrist bona fides by taking what some called the "double death" position -- aggressively pro-abortion and pro-death penalty. A majority of Americans agreed, and Clinton was right there with them. It appears Jerry Brown is serving up the same cocktail in his bid to be elected governor of California:

Brown was a vocal opponent of the death penalty when he served as governor in the 1970s and '80s, once suggesting that banning capital punishment would elevate society to a "higher state of consciousness."

He vetoed the death penalty in 1977, and his chief justice appointee was removed from the bench in the 1980s for her constant overturning of death penalty convictions.

Brown has taken more moderate stances since he ran for attorney general in 2006 and vowed to carry out the laws of the state. His office has been fighting for the resumption of capital punishment and defends death penalty convictions before the state Supreme Court.

Brown remains reliably pro-choice. Clinton's already shown that double-death works politically. What would be interesting if someone, whether Democrat or Republican, ever tried double life: Anti-death penalty and in favor of an aggressive campaign to reduce the number of abortions (without taking away the legal right to choose). It's something you'd expect a principled Jesuit-trained candidate to try -- someone, for instance, like Jerry Brown.

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