The Office of National Drug Control Policy, home of drug czar John Walters, has backed away from a confrontation with home town drug reformers. This battle was set to take place not on Capitol Hill, but on a Washington softball field, where the ONDCP team, We Czar the Champions [Ed.: Ouch], was set to play a team, the One Hitters, consisting of members of various DC-based drug reform groups and sponsored by NORML, on June 8.
According to the Capitol Hill watchdog publication Roll Call, the drug czar's office removed the game from its schedule, saying it could not muster enough players. But the paper noted that the team had no problem fielding players this week. The One Hitters obligingly offered to reschedule, but the drug czar's people said they couldn't find the time. Now, the frustrated ball-players are irate.
"Obviously one of the higher-ups at ONDCP saw the schedule and nixed the game," NORML spokesman Nick Timmisch told Roll Call. "Perhaps they were spooked by the notion of BYOB -- bring your own bong!"
"We bent over backwards to accommodate them," said DRCNet's David Guard, who plays outfield for the One Hitters. "We told them we could play any hour any day, but of course they didn't want to play us."
NORML associate director and One Hitters co-captain Kris Krane called out the valor-challenged narcs. "For years, the ONDCP has been unwilling to engage drug policy reformers in a serious debate on the issues. Now they even refuse to engage us in a friendly game of baseball?"
When contacted by Roll Call, drug czar spokesman Tom Riley first claimed a player shortage, then tried some stoner humor. NORML could not have been trying for years to schedule a game, he said, because this is the first year ONDCP has fielded a team. "That just goes to show the effects of marijuana on judgment and reasoning," he joked. But it is Riley's reasoning that was impaired; NORML said that ONDCP had refused for years to engage in a serious debate, not that it had refused for years to play a ball game.
Then Riley reversed himself and decided it was a policy decision after all. "I wouldn't think we would play any team that promotes drug use," he said. "That includes teams that promote smoking meth or smoking crack."
Too bad. John Walters has always liked softballs, especially the ones tossed at him at press conferences when he makes his latest misleading pronouncements.