The question of decriminalizing some or all illegal narcotics, to a lesser or greater extent, then regulating and taxing the ensuing trade is a serious matter. There are fair arguments on all sides (because there is range of how far we could go with this, there is arguably more than just one "side") of the debate, but it cannot be dismissed as a pointless, irrelevant, or trivial matter. Yet that's precisely what Barack Obama did at a recent town hall meeting where, based on the reaction, he was surrounded by like-minded apologists for the current structures of power and liberty. Way to break outside the beltway and take it to the people, Mr. President.Howie P.S.: Scott Morgan sees a silver lining in Obama's response to the issue. Patty Murray is one of Webb’s co-sponsors for a bill that would set up a blue-ribbon commission tasked with an 18-month review of the train wreck our criminal justice system has become. Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper says "Marijuana No Laughing Matter, Mr. President."
Let's run quickly through some of the reasons why it's reasonable to regard the current "war on drugs" as causing more trouble than it solves. Both the violence and corruption associated with illegal drugs are more directly connected to the prohibition of drugs than to the use of drugs. The failure of drug laws to eliminate drug use has encouraged politicians to pass ever more draconian anti-drug laws, thus leading both to unnecessary suffering through harsh sentences for non-violent offenses and a decline in respect for the law when people see police and courts consumed with these cases.
It's not a progressive value — or even smart politics — to present yourself as a progressive who somehow keeps ignoring other progressives. This, combined with Harry Reid whining that liberal Democrats shouldn't pressure moderate Democrats to stop standing in the way of progressive legislation, leaves the distinct impression that Democratic leaders across the board are consistently looking for ways to ditch progressivism in favor of a more conservative agenda.