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The GOP Platform on Crime and Drugs

With Republican delegates now gone home after their national convention in Tampa, this is as good a time as any to examine their official position on crime and drugs. The 2012 GOP Platform lays it out, and reformers may find a few things to be pleasantly surprised about, at least if elected Republicans actually adhere to their party's official positions.

What may be most significant is what isn't in the platform: Four years ago, the GOP platform had a whole section devoted to the war on drugs. That has vanished this time around.

But reformers still won't find too much to make them smile. In the platform section titled "Justice for All: Safe Neighborhoods and Prison Reform," after the boilerplate language about how "strong families and caring communities supported by excellent law enforcement" are the most effective forces in reducing crime, the Republicans get to it:

"Our national experience over the last several decades has shown that citizen vigilance, tough but fair prosecutors, meaningful sentences, protection of victims’ rights, and limits on judicial discretion can preserve public safety by keeping criminals off the streets," the platform reads. "Liberals do not understand this simple axiom: Criminals behind bars cannot harm the general public. To that end, we support mandatory prison sentencing for gang crimes, violent or sexual offenses against children, repeat drug dealers, rape, robbery and murder... We oppose parole for dangerous or repeat felons…"

But even the GOP, and, more broadly, conservatives are coming to understand that being "tough on crime" is not enough, as evidenced by the formation of the conservative Smart on Crime Coalition, some of whose positions appear to have been incorporated into the platform:

"While getting criminals off the street is essential, more attention must be paid to the process of restoring those individuals to the community. Prisons should do more than punish; they should attempt to rehabilitate and institute proven prisoner reentry systems to reduce recidivism and future victimization," the platform states.

It goes on to endorse state and local initiatives, such as "accountability courts," or the drug court model, and calls for government to work with faith-based institutions to try to divert first-time, nonviolent offenders -- although it doesn't say it wants to divert them from the criminal justice system, just from "criminal careers." The platform does, however, call for supporting state and local initiatives "trying new approaches to curbing drug abuse and diverting first-time offenders to rehabilitation."

The platform of the party of small government and states' rights also laments that federal law enforcement has "been strained by two unfortunate expansions: the over-criminalization of behavior and the over-federalization of offenses," noting that the number of federal offenses has increased by almost 50% since the 1980s.

"Federal criminal law should focus on acts by federal employees or acts committed on federal property -- and leave the rest to the states," the platform says. Then Congress should withdraw from federal departments and agencies the power to criminalize behavior, a practice which, according to the Congressional Research Service, has created 'tens of thousands' of criminal offenses... In the same way, Congress should reconsider the extent to which it has federalized offenses traditionally handled on the state or local level."

There it is, the official platform of the Republican Party this year. One mention of drug dealers, one mention of drug users, no mentions of medical marijuana or marijuana legalization, but some hints that the GOP could live with some experimentation in the states and a smaller federal enforcement arm.

Tampa, FL
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Thinking Clearly's picture

This platform says one thing

Continue the war on drugs is the Republican platform. Take Judicial discretion away-meaning mandatory sentencing. There is not anything appreciably new here to get enthused about at all. None of it will resolve any of the crisis being generated by the war on drugs and the prohibition of marijuana.

Uncritical analysis

Sorry to be a critic but I am going to have to say that I consider this a pretty weak analysis of the Republican parties stance on crime and the drug war. Realistically there is very little difference between the Republican parties and Democratic parties official stances at the federal level concerning the drug war. There are some differences in the rhetoric used but that's about it. But all the talk about using drug courts and more rehabilitation is also used by the democrats although its hard to find many examples of actual reform getting serious attention at the federal level by either party. 

However Democrats at the local level (not federal or national) are doing a lot more to reform drug laws then Republicans.

NC democrats endorse hemp and medical marijuana:

http://blog.norml.org/2012/06/19/north-carolina-democratic-party-passes-resolutions-in-support-of-medical-marijuana-and-industrial-hemp/

Texas democrats endorse decriminilization:

http://blog.norml.org/2012/06/18/texas-democratic-party-endorses-marijuana-decriminalization/

Iowa democrats:

http://blog.norml.org/2012/06/20/iowa-democrats-party-add-medical-cannabis-and-industrial-hemp-to-party-platform/

The initiatives in Colorado and Washington are both endorsed by their local democratic parties. The Colorado republican party also endorses Colorado legalization initiative.

Both Republicanas and Democrats in Montana claim to support medical marijuana, although the Republican stance is a bit more vauge:

http://blog.norml.org/2012/06/21/montana-republicans-and-democrats-latest-to-adopt-marijuana-reform-measures-into-platforms/

 

As far as killing marijuana and drug reform bills the Republicans seem more active in that regard:

NY marijuana decriminilization reform bill killed by Republicans:

http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2012/06/20/senate-republicans-stop-new-york-marijuana-decriminalization-bill/

Democratic governor in NH veteod a medical marijuana bill:

http://reason.com/blog/2012/04/27/gop-controlled-legislature-passes-a-medi

At the federal level democrats attempted to defund the war on medical marijuana and this was shot down by republicans:

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/politics/2012-election/democrats-seek-end...

In 2012 12 states failed to pass medical marijuana 9 were majority cotrolled republican legislatures although to be fair 1 of those was vetoed by democratic gov in NH (as stated above) and Wisconsin is split. But still clear difference here.

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002481#III

 

All in all I think this shows that at the local and sometimes at federal level democratic law makers are more favorable to drug law reform and actively endorsing it .It doesn't matter what the official stance of the Republican party is. The only reason they pretend to care about states rights is becaues a majority of their voting base wants to ban abortion, have loose gun laws, and a host of other conservative policies to jam down everyones throats without the federal government stopping them. What matters is action and democrats at least at the local level have been far more active at drug law reform lately. I understand my analysis is not rigorous side by side analysis but please if someone can prove me wrong go ahead.

Re:

As a longtime registered Republican and medical marijuana advocate (legally blind, glaucoma, anxiety, insomnia, chronic back pain are my reasons for using) let me translate their platform for the masses:

 

"We wish we could lock up every pot-smoking delinquent, but we don't have enough money. Richard Nixon is our God, Irving Krystol is our prophet, Ronald Reagan is our puppet, and the Tea Party our slaves. We shall continue to use code words, vague rhetoric, false statistics, and outright lies to demonize anything we consider "counterculture". We need to invest heavily in privatized prisons. We hate the fact that medical marijuana exists, and unfortunately we haven't found a way to destroy it outright. When medical marijuana is mentioned, we will just close our eyes and plug our ears, spewing forth the same bigoted garbage as our associates Bill O'Reilly and the exalted John Walters.. We keep a few medical MJ supporters in our party to give the illusion that there might be hope. Anyone up for a game of Super Pac-Man?"

The DNC will go something like this:

"We will expose the drug war, especially the war on medical marijuana, as the complete failure it is. We will have speakers to discuss this failed policy. But... we are truly a bunch of pansies who are scared of the Republicans. Besides, it seems that a good 25% of us are against medical marijuana. If we come out in full support of medical marijuana, it would make Diane Feinstein, John Lynch, and Hitlary Clinton throw a tantrum. Anyways, where's the booze?"

Republican view on drug war

I am responding to the above post. Kinda took the words right outta my head, They hate the very idea of some long hair getting high. The have no inkling that the booze that is eating them from the inside is the real horror.

excellent

Comment.

Hilarious

Hillaryious?  And terse!

They don't mention tobacco, but...

Well done, PatentLawyer, just adding the part here about how the tobacco i.e. $igarette companies over the last decades consistently give more money to Republican party and candidates than to Democrat.  Is that not enough to start thinking where the "conservatives"' opposition to cannabis liberation begins?

Relevant that "federal" mostly means Washington, DC which somehow just so coincidentally is located in the "tobacco belt"?  Democrats elsewhere might be more free to be pro-weed?

SOOooooooooo.........The

SOOooooooooo.........The party that advocates smaller government and "getting the government off our backs and out of our lives"... still will not advocate the idea that our bodies belong to us and we ARE FREE to ingest what we will. This proves my theory that the whole political process is a huge circle jerk with Obama and Romney as pivot men........The whole lot of them can go straight to hell !!!!!

Hear Hear!!!!

Hear Hear!!!!

With the authors logic, Then Obama who is the leading Democrat

and in charge , has allowed countless arrests and closing of medical marijana clinics. Your article is plain stupid. Even while your anointed president stabs every medical marijuana patient in the back....your watching his by printing this garbage. Boy, that was sure some spin article. Obama lies and Patients Die should be the topic of your next article. Oh and another thing, I support the movement And I believe in GOD !!!
borden's picture

Uh, how does accurately

Uh, how does accurately reporting on what the GOP platform says constitute "spin"? We report on the medical marijuana crackdown all the time. Next week we'll be reporting on the Democratic platform. Facts.

Because da Liberal Media will Spin the News Anyway It Wants Too!

Fact: WasserMan got caught in another Lie da other day, spin that one. You report what you want to get the anointed one reelected. Change is coming this November. Fact: Every medical marijuana patient should be screaming at the representatives for how da Obbbummer has screwed all. Fact:. He will be defeated by a CHICKEN SANDWICH AND HE IS ANTI GOD !!! Fact:Middle America will bring change to this nation. The DNC was a joke.Fact: The reporter got caught trying to make a spin. Most reporters are in bed with the DNC AND ARE BIASED. Fact :Obbummer has raided more and arrested more medical MJ clinics than any other president. Obbummer Lies and Patients Die. Fact: You are the problem liberal reporter, keep your personal feelings to yourself. Report da news not spin it. We The People see through your spin and lies. Change is coming....Change is coming

Because da Liberal Media will Spin the News Anyway It Wants Too!

Fact: WasserMan got caught in another Lie da other day, spin that one. You report what you want to get the anointed one reelected. Change is coming this November. Fact: Every medical marijuana patient should be screaming at the representatives for how da Obbbummer has screwed all. Fact:. He will be defeated by a CHICKEN SANDWICH AND HE IS ANTI GOD !!! Fact:Middle America will bring change to this nation. The DNC was a joke.Fact: The reporter got caught trying to make a spin. Most reporters are in bed with the DNC AND ARE BIASED. Fact :Obbummer has raided more and arrested more medical MJ clinics than any other president. Obbummer Lies and Patients Die. Fact: You are the problem liberal reporter, keep your personal feelings to yourself. Report da news not spin it. We The People see through your spin and lies. Change is coming....Change is coming

Because da Liberal Media will Spin the News Anyway It Wants Too!

Fact: WasserMan got caught in another Lie da other day, spin that one. You report what you want to get the anointed one reelected. Change is coming this November. Fact: Every medical marijuana patient should be screaming at the representatives for how da Obbbummer has screwed all. Fact:. He will be defeated by a CHICKEN SANDWICH AND HE IS ANTI GOD !!! Fact:Middle America will bring change to this nation. The DNC was a joke.Fact: The reporter got caught trying to make a spin. Most reporters are in bed with the DNC AND ARE BIASED. Fact :Obbummer has raided more and arrested more medical MJ clinics than any other president. Obbummer Lies and Patients Die. Fact: You are the problem liberal reporter, keep your personal feelings to yourself. Report da news not spin it. We The People see through your spin and lies. Change is coming....Change is coming
borden's picture

PS Same for you,

PS Same for you, PatentLawyer, though you've provided a worthwhile compilation of additional facts.

"Beliefs very often times

"Beliefs very often times have very little to do with reality." -Nietzsche

Like your headline though; that would be a good one.

Both parties are awful

How anybody commenting here can construe the Democratic Party as being pro-legalization or even reform advocates is amazing to me. The Congressional liberal majority in Bush's second term failed to accomplish anything. Now the Obama DOJ has aggressively pursued raids and prosecution of medical mj growers and dispensaries. The GOP is equally awful and anyone voting for either party based on their drug and criminal policy platforms is an idiot. We have the dubious distinction of jailing more people per capita than any of our allies as well as accepting institutionalized murder on a grand scale. Our political system is a broken turd.

defeatism

This is a defeatist attitude. Instead of just saying "they are all idiots" why not pay attention to the local politicians in your area who want to reform drug laws? They do exist. If you work with them and if their popularity grows that is how things change.

Yes You Can..Chanllege you Local Politicans...

Remember they work for us . No Politican is beyond approaching. Tell them what's in important to you. Tell them this November. Obama lies and patients die.

Legally local politicians

Legally whenever you contact a local representative they have to at least read your letter or take your call. They must pay attention, they legally have to do this. They don't have to act on what you say but they have to at least listen to you saying it. My brother works for an unnamed congressman and he said they always process all calls or letters from people. He said if more people were pro active at this level a lot would change.

I think the evidence I present above shows that members of both parties are willing to work on drug law reform at the LOCAL level. That's a foot in the door we should not pass up. Generally Democrat are more favorable then Republicans although I would like to see a more in depth study on this.

In this there is little or no difference

This, being the prohibition on all illegal drugs both current and to come.Both parties and both Presidential candidates are death to the reform movement.They're even going after the medical profession now.To say the approach is draconian is to tread lightly.The more they restrict access the higher the abuse tends to become.The harsher the punishment the more vicious the criminals.Prohibition created the mafia with alcohol and who knows what will be left behind after this prohibition ends?The longer it drags on the more solid and entrenched these criminal gangs will become.They have created a monster and it won't go away now no matter what they do next.The best that can be done is to end this as soon as possible so that the majority of the illegal cartels lose their cash cow before they become so huge they will just revert to other crimes.Some will retire with their billions and become politicians.

Neocons are not Conservatives!

True Conservatives like Wm F. Buckley Jr called for an end of the Drug War and for legalization, decades ago.  Another Conservative, Barry Goldwater, called for Medical Marijuana before it became fashionable.  Prohibition is not a Conservative position, which proves that NeoCons aren't Conservatives, at all.  In fact, they're in agreement with the President on this one policy.  Ironically, marijuana legalization is out polling all the candidates for POTUS.

"supporting state and local

"supporting state and local initiatives "trying new approaches to curbing drug abuse and diverting first-time offenders to rehabilitation."

 More Drug War/social/tax paid involvement with a long term idea of making more money(diverting) rather than incarcerating more #'s as the % of jailed cannot continue to climb forever, especially during a time when selling  new 'for profit' bonding is... just so hard to do in a slow economy. With a little patience and ingenuity, revenues can be engineered from 'diverting', that will approach incarceration. If the revenue gross is too low, just expand the Drug War participants... have everyone be required to test and all failures can be 'diverted'.

It's just a money game, and there's too much money in prohibition to ever have it be repealed.

People power

The people ultimately have the power. And because of the hard work of many we are winning. The majority by a large amount support medical marijuana. Around 50 percent outright legalization and I am sure a majority the growing of hemp for all its uses. In a free country it is only a matter of time before the most useful plant on the planet is free to use for all its uses. The people are waking up and the truth will prevail. Prohibition has cost or ruined many lives. Free the plant free the people.

Nice

Solid reporting DWC.  One, c'est moi, doesn't have to wade through the pigslop to get at the essence of the Republicans.  Boilerplate indeed; but not all of it?  Your reporting here makes clear that, should you get past the boilerplate, the Republicans are so incapable of being direct vis-a-vis truth, that what lukewarm remains of it after the savages have savaged it, is so utterly devoid of passion as to be useless anyway.

legalizing alcohol really

legalizing alcohol really helped the prohibition gangsters of the 20's. Mary J.

The crimes and the drugs are

The crimes and the drugs are the part of the present day generation and in here the further investigation on the GOP platform is done. This reveals the real condition of the society. This is a great surprise not only to the reformers. The crimes and the drugs have vanished more than you think of them.
free crm software

loyalty

Party affiliation does not matter. We know that from Supreme Court decisions. We know the lawyer runs policy making for both parties. The primary loyalty of the lawyer is to the criminal cult enterprise (CCE). That comes before loyalty to nation, family, or even self. ramo

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