Huckabee Criticizes Romney For Lack of Executions in Massachusetts
Steve Benen mentions an interesting tidbit about the anti-Romney ad that Mike Huckabee
doesn’t have the money to run on TV “refuses to run on principle”. Apparently, the ad criticizes Mitt Romney for the lack of executions in Massachusetts during Romney’s gubernatorial terms. As Benen points out:
Apparently, Huckabee — you know, the evangelical, pro-life Republican — is going after Romney for not having executed any Americans during his gubernatorial tenure.
I realize Republican politics are far more crass than norms should allow, but it’s disconcerting to think “You didn’t kill anyone” has suddenly become a criticism in conservative circles.
Frankly, I’m not surprised about using a “law and order” critique in Republican politics. Is it crass for Huckabee to use? Absolutely (disclosure – I am absolutely opposed to the death penalty. And, for that matter, the correctional system that we’ve developed in this country). But regardless of the merits of the death penalty, the funniest thing about this line of attack on Romney is that it shows Mike Huckabee’s manifest ignorance with the concept of the separation of powers and the job of governing. First of all, this is because there is no death penality in Massachusetts! So in order for there to have been executions under Mitt Romney’s term, the state legislature would have had to adopted one. They did not–even though Romney did introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty.
The second problem with this line of attack is that even if Massachusetts did have a death penalty, the governor of the state would have nothing whatsoever to do with actual executions. That is, of course, the role of the judiciary. The only involvement that a governor might have is that of granting clemency or pardon to a convict on death row. (And, to his enormous discredit, Mitt Romney apparently never granted clemency or pardon once during his terms.)
This isn’t high level stuff here. Anyone with a basic high school civics class under their belt–or hell, anyone’s who’s ever watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order–knows perfectly well that the governor plays virtually no role in executions.
Explain to me why Mike Huckabee is surging in the polls again? Surely Republican voters are looking for some basic level of competence and decency in their candidates. At least, I hope they are.