So let’s parse this. Kerry doesn’t believe that the death penalty is morally wrong or anything like that. He is opposed to killing innocent people. But here’s a news flash: so is everybody. His real case is that he favors life sentences because they are, in effect, more cruel than capital punishment. There are a number of obvious problems with this. First, who cares what Kerry thinks is “worse”? Actual criminals – with very few exceptions – disagree. That’s why they cut deals to have the death penalty taken off the table on “Law and Order” every other week. Second, the families of victims don’t think life sentences are the more severe punishment either. Kerry could believe that making murderers and rapists watch Caddyshack II is the most severe punishment imaginable. Who cares? What matters is what the reality is.
Now, I am comfortable with the idea that punishment – and the severity thereof – should be valid criteria for determining the fate of criminals. But that’s hardly the liberal line. Still, if Kerry is truly interested in coming up with things worth than death for rapists and murderers well, hey, he might be one step closer to getting my endorsement. But somehow, I think what he’s really trying to do is sound tough and manly while taking the soft, liberal, position.