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Drug War May Be Tackled in 2nd Term

It’s no secret that the country’s most famous Choom Gang member has been making a play for the stoner demographic, particularly in Colorado. Democrats hope a marijuana legalization ballot initiative in the swing state will draw young liberal-leaning voters to the polls, on the assumption that they’ll vote Obama. Still, many could actually end up voting third party — particularly because the Obama administration has dutifully carried on the “drug war” decried by libertarians.

Obama apparently wants to let these voters know he’ll have much more flexibility on these issues after the election. At GQ, Marc Ambinder transmits the message:

According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War.

Don’t expect miracles. There is very little the president can do by himself. And pot-smokers shouldn’t expect the president to come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. But from his days as a state senator in Illinois, Obama has considered the Drug War to be a failure, a conflict that has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse, devastated entire communities, changed policing practices for the worse, and has led to a generation of young children, disproportionately black and minority, to grow up in dislocated homes, or in none at all. …

Beyond that, since the United States isn’t about to legalize or regulate the illegal narcotics markets, the best thing a president can do may be what Obama winds up doing if he gets re-elected: using the bully pulpit to draw attention to the issue.

But he won’t do so before November.

In other words: don’t expect Obama to actually do anything about the drug war, other than talk. And maybe not even that. Actually, if his record of broken promises is any indication, probably not even that. Go ask Hispanic voters about Obama’s 2008 promise to make immigration reform his top priority, or anti-war voters about Obama’s vows to close Guantanamo Bay and end extraordinary rendition.

At least Obama had the guts to make these pledges directly in 2008, so he could be called out when he broke them. Now his “aides and associates” are offering up these promises anonymously. Don’t believe it.



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