We’d like to think that candidates have moved beyond the debate about hate crimes. I mean, you really have to sink pretty low to oppose the hate crimes law, right? In 2009, the Senate voted by a lopside margin 63 – 28 to end the filibuster of the Matthew Shepard Act.

But, we’re not past that debate. Nope. The right wing GOPer running for Senate in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, proudly proclaimed his opposition to the Matthew Shepard Act. Via Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post:

The issue of hate crimes legislation is the latest debate in the U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania, with Republican Pat Toomey reiterating his 2004 position against such measures to a local news station this week.

“I think it’s a bad idea for government to legislate on the basis of what they think people are thinking, what’s in a person’s mind or heart when they create a crime,” Toomey told KDKA in Pennsylvania on Thursday. “Crime should be prosecuted for what’s actually done, and it should be vigorously prosecuted… We shouldn’t have a system that is designed to say now, what was so and so thinking at the time he committed his crime and let’s punish him more or less depending of what we think the thought process was. That’s ridiculous. People should be punished for the crime they commit.”

It should comes as no surprise that the Democratic candidate, Joe Sestak, supports the hate crimes law. He voted for it twice in the House.

Toomey is spewing the right wing lie that this is about thought crimes. It’s not. He should know better. And, he shouldn’t be a Senator.