Election 2016 Religion

Ahead of the VP Debate, the GOP Attacks Kaine for His Deeply Held Beliefs

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

RNC Chief Strategist Sean Spicer shit the bed yesterday when he tweeted a story describing his latest attack on Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine as a "Willie Horton-Style" attack.


Spicer and the GOP deleted the tweets after they were informed by the entire internet that calling something a Willie Horton-Style attack is not a good thing, but Spicer continued the same line of attack this morning during his appearance on CNN.

The "Willie Horton-Style" attack is an attack on Kaine for being a defense lawyer who represented inmates on death row.

“That's a constitutional right,” Spicer admitted, before separating Kaine from that tradition.

That's a constitutional right, but...

“There's a difference between -- he went out and advocated and talked about and tried to get them off the hook for certain things," he argued.

“It’s not just about the death penalty,” Spicer added. “It's about making sure they served the least amount of time possible. That's a big difference. You know, it's amazing how quick everyone runs to Tim Kaine's defense.

Here's where this becomes extra ironic.

When he was a young civil rights lawyer, Kaine represented death row inmates pro-bono because his deeply held religious beliefs compelled him to do so. The GOP typically lionizes and vigorously defends people who take a stand to defend their "deeply held beliefs," but apparently not in this case.

During his time as governor, Kaine commuted the sentence of one death row inmate because he was "mentally unfit" to be executed and was given a life sentence instead.

If Mike Pence is dumb enough to bring this up during tonight's vice presidential debate, Kaine will be ready for it because he's been through this before. The GOP launched a similar attack against Kaine when he ran for governor and, as you know, he won.

  • Badgerite

    Getting someone off death row because of a deeply held belief against the death penalty is hardly in Willie Horton territory. The more you know how the system works, the harder it is to defend the death penalty.
    That, of course, is if you believe in justice. If you believe, as the Trump Monster does, that people who did not commit the crime should nonetheless be made to suffer for it as an ‘example’, as he seemed to advocate for the Central Park Five, then I suppose guilt or innocence doesn’t matter. But the death penalty cannot be taken back. If the system makes a mistake, as it does more often then people want to believe, it is just adding to the crime by killing the innocent.

  • muselet

    I don’t know whether Sean Spicer is really that stupid or if he’s merely a partisan hack given an indefensible assignment. Doesn’t matter much, I suppose, but holy crap.

    Back in the basket, Spicer, with the other deplorables.


    • JMAshby

      He is that stupid.

    • ninjaf

      “It puts the deplorables in the basket, or else it gets the hose again. It put the deplorables in the basket, or ELSE IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN. It does this whenever it is told.”

  • Aynwrong

    “Criminal Defense Attorney”

    It’s in the title.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    He’s saying that criminal defense attorneys should just half-ass it, and not actually do the things that criminal defense attorneys are legally, ethically, constitutionally and morally bound to do.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    How is it that Republicans – the so call Party of Law and Order – don’t seem to believe in the right to a fair trial?

    Not for Syrian refugees. Not for Muslims. Not for suspected terrorists. Not for Hillary “string her up” Clinton. Not for death row inmates, apparently.

    Did I miss the day in Con Law when they taught “guilty until proven innocent”?

    • Aynwrong

      My extensive experience in jurisprudence is entirely limited to being homeschooled by professor Sam Waterson and even I get this one!

      Ya remember what I said about them not really getting the Christian part of being Christian?

    • Christopher Foxx

      How is it that Republicans – the so call Party of Law and Order – don’t seem to believe in the right to a fair trial?

      Oh, that’s easy. It’s because they don’t.

      No more than they actually believe in the sanctity of life, or keeping government out of people’s lives or in upholding the Constitution, or in any of the many things they say they believe in but show with every one of their actual actions that they oppose.