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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Arnold is Just a 'Girlie-Man'

Published on Monday, December 19, 2005 by CommonDreams.org 
by Bill Press
 
  
Nobody really expected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to commute the sentence of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Yes, he went through the motions of meeting with Tookie's supporters. But that was pure political theater, designed to give the appearance of fairness - when, in fact, he'd already decided to appease California's blood-thirsty pack of wolves.
 
Arnold's political advisors told him he had to look tough by upholding the death penalty. But they were dead wrong. Refusing to commute Tookie's sentence from execution to life in prison without parole didn't make Arnold look tough. It made him look like a great big "girlie-man."
 
Arnold made a cowardly decision. In capital punishment cases, it's easy to follow the lynch mob. What takes courage is doing the right thing, even if politically unpopular. Instead of dancing to the drumbeat of death-penalty supporters, Arnold should have followed the lead of another Republican, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, who commuted the sentences of everybody on death row - because he knew the death penalty itself was fatally flawed.
 
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