Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life and Death in Texas

Texas Governor Rick Perry is in a tough Republican primary fight with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and now he is accused of covering up the possibility that the state executed an innocent man. This is being used by Ms. Hutchison as a campaign issue; not because she is against the death penalty — you can’t run for office in Texas and be anti-death penalty — but because she’s afraid that Mr. Perry’s attempt to cover up the possibility that the state’s Forensic Science Commission would rule that Cameron Todd Willingham was innocent will shut down the Texas state killing machine.

As hard as Rick Perry’s office and his campaign may try to divert from the issue, this is not about one man or one case. The issue is Rick Perry’s heavy-handed politicization of a process and Commission established by the legislature to provide critical oversight. First, Rick Perry delayed the formation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, then he tried to ensure it didn’t have funding and when all else failed, he fired everyone he could. The only thing Rick Perry’s actions have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a steadfast supporter of the death penalty, voted to reinstate it when she served in the Texas House and believes we should never do anything to create a cloud of controversy over it with actions that look like a cover-up.

This from a party that calls itself “pro-life.” The irony would be really funny if it wasn’t so cynically tragic.

HT to John Cole.