It still boggles my mind that the focus-group-derived phrase "compassionate conservative" still gets used with a straight face. If you don't giggle at the phrase, you're still left tacitly acknowledging that conservatism (minus the modifier) lacks compassion as currently practiced. Which sounds about right to me.

We've had a couple of real compassionate conservatives in the White House in the past quarter-century (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton), and they didn't have to use some stupid catchphrase to remind you how compassionate they were - at least "I feel your pain", and other such things, wasn't trotted out on an hourly basis ("Is the cameras rollin', sweetheart?") And, of course, Clinton showed his Bushian compassion, once upon a time, by hyping the compassionate lethal injection of Ricky Ray Rector during the '92 campaign.

Correction - that is 135 people executed in Texas in 5 1/2 years under Governor George W. Bush. At least according to CNN, but the Chicago Tribune states 132.

Including 9 people executed and later proven innocent by DNA evidence (I believe).

40 where the defense attorney presented either no evidence or only one witness during sentencing.

29 where the psychiatrist who gave testimony that the American Psychiatric Association condemned.

43 where the defense attorney publicly sanctioned for misconduct.

23 which used visual hair analysis which as been consistently proven unreliable.

What a system.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not familiar with Texas law), but as governor, doesn't George Dubya have exactly one power w/ regard to the death penalty? Namely, the ability to postpone the injection for a few weeks?

Juries and judges, the vast majority of whom were appointed before Bush's term, put the inmates on death row in the first place. Most of the executed were convicted and sentenced before Bush's term, as well. As head of Texas' executive branch, it is Bush's duty to carry out the law, even if he does not agree with the law in question (in this case, he happens to agree). The Texas Board of Pardons and Parole has recommended that Bush put to death every criminal that has been executed during his time in office. Bush is merely carrying out his job, and his power to stop the executions is effectively nil.

So the Death Count has more to do with the opinions of Texan juries than Governor Bush. However, the term "Compassionate Conservative Death Count" certainly is a cute one. It would probably be much more effective if Al Gore wasn't also a death penalty advocate. Since he is, I'm left wondering "So what?"

The ghost of Ricky Ray Rector makes sure Gore's mouth stays stapled shut.

I am against the death penalty, but let's face it: it's a governor's legal duty to execute until state courts or the Supreme Court strike down capital punishment. Hopefully they'll do that soon, but I'm not betting on it.

Dontcha just love election years?

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