The U.S. Constitution clearly authorizes capital punishment — 'no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law' — but it's just as clearly not a deterrent because death penalty States have consistently higher rates of homicide than non-death penalty States.* Capital punishment is, in the popular mind, pure Old Testament vengeance.**
And the Republican applause underscores that. They are not applauding State executions per se, they are applauding the fact that Texas by far leads the league in executions. And they want more state executions.
At least Rick Perry seems to understand the rather profound nature of capital punishment, which is more than can be said of his rabid fans.
Governor Perry's idiocy is manifested elsewhere.
* Like Wisconsin, which ended the practice more than 160 years ago.
** Despite the Republican mob's profession of New Testament ideals.