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Gov. Perry and Willingham

At the NYT's 538 political blog, Nate Silver has a post titled Debate Swings Door Open for Perry, Closed for Palin.  He suggests that Perry may be the potential presidential candidate best fitting the Buckley Criterion:  "the most conservative candidate who is electable."

Meanwhile, at the Houston Chronicle's political blog, Richard Dunham has this list of potential attacks on Perry by his in-state critics.  One of them, of course, is "The 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham for murder of his three children by arson, despite significant evidence that arson had not caused the fire."

Don't bother clicking on that "significant evidence" link.  It is David Grann's notorious propaganda piece in the New Yorker.  (See, e.g., this post.)

If Perry does decide to run, he will certainly need to make a more vigorous defense of the Willingham execution than he has to date.  The distinction between forensic evidence that fails to prove arson by itself and evidence that affirmatively disproves arson is vital to understanding this case, but that distinction is widely glossed over in discussions of it.  The non-forensic evidence confirming guilt has been pushed to the background when it should be front and center.  A run by Perry could be helpful in bringing all this out in more prominent form.

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