Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Republican love affair with Hitler continues

This time it's Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore
A commercial featuring death penalty proponent Stanley Rosenbluth has him looking into the camera and saying: "Tim Kaine says Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty. This was one of the worst mass murderers in modern times." [CNN]
Rosenbluth, whose son and daughter-in-law were murdered by Mark Sheppard in 1993 during a drug deal gone awry, was more than a willing participant in one of the two ads Kilgore plans to blanket the state with criticizing Tim Kaine's personal and religious views against the death penalty because Kaine was second chair in Sheppard's appeal after his law firm was appointed by the court to represent the murderer's appeal. The other ad featured the widow of a slain police officer stating "When Tim Kaine calls the death penalty murder, I find it offensive."

During a conference call Kilgore staged with Rosenbluth, Kilgore stated
"Everyone is entitled to [legal] representation, but not every activist defense attorney is entitled to be governor of Virginia." [Richmond Times Dispatch]
Kaine has been involved in the representation of 3 murderers in capital cases all, according to Kaine and his staff, by court appointment. The Kaine team has already issued response ads in which the Democratic candidate and current lieutenant governor of the state states that despite his religious convictions against the death penalty, he will follow state law which permits executions and will exercise the right of granting clemency sparingly.

The Kilgore camp defends their use of the Hitler reference because Rosenbluth was "speaking from his heart" and because Kaine had previously been asked about his views during an interview with the Richmond Times Dispatch in which he was questioned specifically about Hitler, Stalin and Idi Amin
Your conviction is so deep that you cannot name one person in history, who because of his malefactions and criminal behavior, deserved the death penalty?

KAINE: No, I -- again, the way I answered your question is -- they may deserve -- yeah. They may deserve it. Of course they may, for doing something heinous. They don't deserve to live in civilized society. They deserve the death penalty. I just -- you know, I look at the world. Most nations have decided not to have a death penalty. And -- and many are very safe. I don't think -- I don't think it's needed to be safe. [Richmond Times Dispatch]

As someone who is not against the death penalty (I believe it, sadly, has it's place it certain cases - especially since a sentence of life without parole, does not really mean no chance of parole), I can't help but notice that the ad featuring the Hitler reference is the one starring Rosenbluth. Call me cynical but I have a feeling Kilgore's cronies thought they were safe from Jewish criticism for using Hitler for their own political purposes, well, Rosenbluth is the one who uttered the reference. I also think it rather ironic that someone from a party that demands the imposition of conservative Christian views on secular law would use ads to attack the religious views of another candidate. Kaine, for his part, has stated his committment to uphold state law even though the law is inconsistent with Catholic doctrine. Lord knows the Freepers would be jumping all over Kaine were he to suggest that he think it appropriate for elected officials who are Catholic should follow the dictates of the Vatican (Republicans only support that for the issue of abortion and imposition of "Christian morals" & symbols in public schools and government grounds - and they limit the latter to those that just happen to be consistent with fundamentalist Christianity).

Kaine has served office in the way envisioned by our founding fathers: living in accordance with his own religious beliefs without imposing them on others. This is government service that is consistent with our constitution. It's truly a pity that Republicans are so averse to upholding the constitution they feel the need to attack someone obviously committed to its advancement.

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