Fabulous. By all means, let's talk about drugs. I would love to see Clinton manage to drop the issue in Obama's lap. He could turn it into a positive by embracing a strong failure of prohibition stance.
I've been blogging about drug policy for close to five years now. I've talked to a lot of people, all across the political and social strata, and not one thought we were winning the war on some drugs. The vast majority, at this point in time, agree that the incarceration/interdiction model is not working and a treatment/public health approach is needed. The time is ripe to embrace drug policy reform.
This is a made for momentum issue. A courageous candidate could take this opportunity and use it to show leadership on a social issue the conventionally wise have missed. With millions of drug offenders in jail, the failed policies have now touched a critical mass of the citizenry. A major candidate willing to take a strong and sensible approach to reform could energize a large and well organized network of activists and NGOs in the anti-prohibition movement.
Does Obama have the guts to adopt a smart on drugs strategy and turn it his advantage? Who knows. But if I was him, I'd be calling Jack Cole and Ethan Nadelmann right now to get the talking points.
Update: Well, there goes that dream of making this a viable issue in the campaign. Clinton aide de camp, Bill Shaheen, is backing off on his remarks, and Obama isn't going to take my advice and run with it.
"Hillary Clinton said attacking other Democrats is the fun part of this campaign, and now she's moved from Barack Obama's kindergarten years to his teenage years in an increasingly desperate effort to slow her slide in the polls. Senator Clinton's campaign is recycling old news that Barack Obama has been candid about in a book he wrote years ago, and he's talked about the lessons he's learned from these mistakes with young people all across the country. He plans on winning this campaign by focusing on the issues that actually matter to the American people."
Newsflash Mr. Obama. This is an issue that matters to American people. What a disappointment.