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Oglesby: Thoughts on GOP politics, pancakes and Davis execution
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Those of us who haven’t heard the whole story or seen the paperwork or aren’t attorneys are in no position to judge for sure if the state’s execution last week of Troy Davis took an innocent life. 

Plenty of evidence existed that he may not have been guilty. Witnesses recanted their previous testimony and some original trial jurors who convicted him voiced public second thoughts about their verdict. But as the prosecution argued, evidence did exist that he was guilty.

Thousands publicly protested execution. I believe a death sentence is appropriate when evidence is beyond ANY doubt. I agree with the protesters’ position that when there are so many factors that raise some reasonable doubt, death should not be imposed. The key remains that we laymen just don’t know. This will give those who oppose the death penalty outright new support.

On behalf of the Kiwanis Club, thanks for the great turnout at our 50th annual pancake breakfast. Final figures are not in at this writing, but we may have set a fundraising record. All proceeds finance youth activities ranging up to several $5,000 scholarships, recognition of law enforcement and firemen, Key Clubs (you saw how they helped out) and cash gifts to many other youth service organizations. Hope you met and caught up with the news from old friends and made new acquaintances.

With GOP presidential candidates campaigning and debates starting, a number of friends have asked my take so far. OK. When Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered he immediately jumped to a healthy margin lead in the polls. After a few missteps, that margin fell somewhat, and in South Carolina he actually trailed Mitt Romney a few points as of this writing. Will that continue or will he start using his right foot too? We’ll see.

Perry is right on Social Security but needs a specific plan for solving it. Romney attracts moderate and independent voters who would be crucial in a close general election.

Another question: Are a sufficient number of the political children in the tea party going to mature sufficiently to realize a democratic government requires principled compromise? Trade something least important to you in exchange for something more important. It works both ways.

I still think Herman Cain is actually running to be picked for vice president. He has great economic credentials, no foreign policy knowledge.

Now mired in a tie at 5 percent in the polls, Newt Gingrich remains the most qualified in the field. He’s the only one with governing experience at the national level, knows how to compromise and even his detractors credit him with in depth knowledge and sound ideas. However, he carries considerable personal baggage. The only way he has a chance to win the nomination is for the convention to be deadlocked for several rounds of voting and to pick up the votes of candidates dropping out.

Michelle Bachmann hopes Sarah Palin who would pick off a substantial number of tea party voters. Palin doesn’t have much more time to enter. Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum are accomplished politicians but at this point I see neither getting the nomination. Remember, though, we have a long time to go. 

Ted Oglesby is retired opinion editor of The Times. His column appears biweekly on Tuesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com. You can contact him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503.

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