NOT FOOLED IN TEXAS. You might think Governor Mitt Romney's proposal to bring back the death penalty would go over big in Texas. Well, you would be wrong - at least in the eyes of Cragg Hines, a Washington-based columnist (and sixth-generation Texan) for the Houston Chronicle.
No matter that Massachusetts has one of the lowest murder rates in the nation (about one-third the rate of execution-happy Texas). Or that there has not been an execution in Massachusetts since 1947 (a two-electrocution day following a murder in a botched robbery).
Romney, after years of death-penalty chatter, hopped firmly aboard the Executioner's Express. He threw in the old, unfounded deterrent chestnut. (Romney's ever-faithful lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, in a bizarre stab at the bandwagon technique, argued that Massachusetts should not remain in the minority of states that does not allow the death penalty.)
Romney tried to dress up his proposal with some scientific claptrap, including a nod to DNA testing. Romney called his proposal the "gold standard" for capital punishment laws and suggested it was all but foolproof.
The only way in which his move is the "gold standard" is in political crassness. And, yes, it's a foolproof way to suck up to hard-right Republicans across the country.
If Romney intends to pander his way to the presidency, it looks like he's got some work to do.