Are Republicans Turning Against the Drug War?

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Everyone knows Republicans love the drug war and Democrats are hippies who want to legalize pot. Right? Not necessarily.

Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley are probably the best-known republicans to oppose the war on drugs, and they did so with eloquence that's seldom been matched across the political spectrum. Both men have passed however, and it's often assumed that the party of limited government and state's rights would remain strangely, yet steadfastly invested in the infinitely costly and oppressive war on drugs.

It's not that there aren’t notable exceptions; Ron Paul's rapid rise to national fame in 2008 demonstrated the vigor of libertarian-leaning conservatives who craved an opportunity to cast a vote for drug reform in the republican primaries. In addition to Paul, prominent conservatives Grover Norquist and Tucker Carlson have been strong supporters of reform (watch Carlson TKO drug warrior Mark Souder on MSNBC, for example). But the GOP's reputation as the party of braindead drug war demagoguery nonetheless remains cemented in the public consciousness thanks to the anti-drug posturing of party leaders like Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Recent weeks have brought some encouraging signs that the drug policy reform argument is gaining ground with conservatives. FOX News' Glenn Beck recently interviewed Marijuana Policy Project's Rob Kampia and then came out in support of marijuana legalization a week later. Beck articulated the role of marijuana prohibition in subsidizing Mexican drug war violence in a segment that came off as remarkably pro-reform for FOX News. Proving it's not a fluke, we also saw LEAP's Norm Stamper on FOX News' Red Eye program delivering a superb indictment of the war on drugs that had host Greg Gutfeld nodding in agreement.

Meanwhile, conservative commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan penned a column last week quoting Milton Friedman and questioning the very foundations of the war on drugs. Though not thrilled about the idea of legalizing drugs, Buchanan suggests that Mexico's survival may depend on ending the drug war. Like Glenn Beck, Buchanan had not been previously known to support reform and seems to be getting the message now that the failure of prohibition in Mexico is becoming a threat to our own national security.

Obviously, much work remains to be done towards generating mainstream political support for drug policy reform among conservatives (and liberals, for that matter). Still, there can be no question that the tone of the conversation is shifting and new voices are entering the discussion. An economic crisis and an unstable border may provide focal points for an evolving dialogue, but there's more to it than just that. Consider, for instance, that the new administration recently pledged to end medical marijuana raids and it's just about the only thing Obama's done that hasn’t provoked attacks from republicans.

The political landscape with regards to drug policy reform is shifting in a subtle, yet powerful way. In many cases, our greatest obstacle hasn't always been pure political opposition, but rather a partisan political climate in which our issue is viewed as unstable terrain. The moment public opinion tips far enough – as with medical marijuana – the fear of political attacks evaporates because your opponents can’t use popular positions against you. Once it becomes clear that certain reforms carry no political risk, our infinitely feisty political culture focuses its hostility elsewhere and it becomes possible to do things like end medical marijuana raids without anyone saying a damn thing.

More importantly, as our political culture finally begins to embrace the need for an open and mature discussion about reforming drug policy, we'll begin to hear what influential people actual believe, instead of what they've been taught to say.
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Ending the Drug War is a Conservative Issue

For the party thats promotes the notion of a smaller role of government in American lives, Republicans are often caught in a hypocriscy when they attempt to defend our Prohibitionist drug policies. Both Republican Presidential Candidates, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee had their youtube moments when the issues of medical marijuana and the 10th amendment(States Rights) confronted them on the campaign trial. These two slick politicians couldn't get away from the question fast enough.

Remember our nation's highest prison rate explosion occurred under a Democratic President, who didn't inhale. The bigger problem for drug reform is Liberial Democrats fearful of being broadbrushed as soft on crime when they advocate sensible reforms. The idea of selling reform as a platform for smaller government doesn't resinate as much with Democrats since a lot of them believe in expanding the role of Government. I think a wise approach to Democratic Liberials is emphasizing that America has the largest rate of incarcerating it's citzens. Countries like China and Russia that we like to look down on, have lower rates of inprisonment. A fact we should be ashamed of. Fortunately, President Obama has addressed this issue on the campaign trial. Now he needs to put his concerns into his policies.

The War Against Drugs is Just Like Alcohol Prohibition;

An unconstitutional group occupation of global illegal and/or legal petrochemical based drug corporation marketers/cartel which use propaganda and violence to install terrorist dictators who pose as law enforcement locally,state,and federally in all countries that allow the scam. Prohibition is the umbrella for resource replacement and deprivation which power hungry law enforcers fraudulently grasp to gain that feeling of complete dictatorial power over others while reaping the profit by pain infliction benefits of wall streets ongoing sadistic petrochemiceutical drug cartel insider trading scam. Ron Paul said it,Ralph Nader also,Harry Browne, and over 10,000 respected law enforcement people have pointed out that the war on drugs is just like genocide,slavery,and alcohol prohibition: Unconstitutional! and a hijacking of everyones government by a sinister terrorist organization of snobs!

i love it

:-)

Even a Republican Can Smell a Rotting Corpse

Thanks to the civil war in Mexico, governments throughout the world will be compelled to declare the drug-prohibition-patient brain dead—sooner rather than later.  Once the declaration is made, its monetary life support can finally be turned off, and the decayed, pestilence-ridden body of prohibitionist ideology buried in the world’s deepest hole in the ground.

Aside from the libertarian wing

in the GOP I have been wondering if the GOP would rethink the drug war as a means of attacking the Obama administration. Obama and the Democratic leadership in congress are much more pro drug war than most think. Fuck, Jim Crow Joe Biden is VP.

The GOP is desperate to break into the younger generations and minorities, opposing the drug war is a good way to do that. The GOP has used the drug war, for nearly four decades now, to shove the Democrats to the right. Now the Democrats are stuck there and the GOP can easily move just into libertarian and steal the Democratic liberal cover.

This is getting good. Good for reform that is.

Obama is just good at

Obama is just good at working with people he disagrees with. That's why Biden is VP. He is not bill clinton (who was a drug warrior). Obama has always seemed to me to lean more to the legalization side than to the prohibition side (not like a libertarian, but like a pragmatist). He's just politically never had the possibility of expressing it very much. As the rest of the political climate becomes more open to the idea of reform, i suspect he will more openly be working on the reform side.

FAT CHANCE!

He is just playing the game like 99% of other politicians. He WANTS you to think he's a cool guy who understands what you want and will get around to it someday. Just like when he said he would end this war in Iraq, and Afghanistan after that. Then he just changed the name of the war in Iraq took a token amount of us out of Iraq, moved us over to Afghanistan and replaced the token amount of troops in Iraq with Contractors who do the 'safe-work' for a ton of more money than us troops were getting. If that doesn't speak about his integrity I don't know what does. There is NO chance he would legalize marijuana or any other drugs if he had 8 years in office or 80 years in office. I would actually vote for him over the vast majority of Republicans if I thought he was on the level, but it's apparent to me the his idea of "Change" is doing the exact same crap that Bush did as far as foreign policy is concerned. The only real difference between Obama and Bush is that Obama can speak well, he tries to act cooler and he is burning through China's loan money even faster than Bush managed to.

 

Best Regards,

Daniel

They have always been secret legalizers

I work on the Hill, and I can tell you that it is pure politics that keeps my fellow republicans away from this issue -- I've had so many discussions with conservative friends...believe me, they get it from an economic/public health/liberty perspective...it's the ultra-"moral" wing that is hindering reform efforts.

Restore our rights

It is time to end prohibition and it's detrimental effects on our constitutional rights. There are many examples but I will give you a personal one. Did you know that the government can issue what is called a presumption warrant that implies that the defendant is " presumed guilty based on a preponderance of evidence" that's right you are guilty until proven innocent. I am currently out on bail after being arrested on a presumptive warrant. This was just the start of me losing my constitutional rights. As a condition of my pretrial release I must submit to random drug testing that is a violation of my fifth ammendment right to not self icriminate myself and if I wanted to defend this right I could but that would mean that I would have to sit in jail until the issue is resolved. These are just a few examples of the erosion of my constitutional rights that have been stripped from me. Please vote all drug warrior politicians out of office republican or democrat and elect leaders who put the constitution back in order

What about Barry Goldwater?

Barry Goldwater advocated legalization, as did his one time speech writer Karl Hess.

Surprised to see this on

Surprised to see this on Fox.

I guess change is happening.

Yes we cannabis!

glenn beck

Wow, I am shocked that beck would be in favor of marijuana legalization. I saw the interview with the Kampia and I thought that Beck was a brain dead moron who knew nothing about what he was talking about. He probably still is a brain dead moron on most issues (hehe), but at least he is starting to look at facts in this instance. Very nice to see!

Republicans; Conservative or Neo Conservative

I myself am a conservative, and a Republican. You can call me a Libertarian, or a Constitutionalist, to me both of these terms mean Republican. The problem nowadays is that so many neo-con, centralist morons have claimed the title Republican. It says our idea's right in the title REPUBLIC-an. It disgusts me how so many FAKE neo-con socialists have turned the the party on its head and are for all of this big-government, anti-civil liberty, and govt. intervention. I'm pinning all my hopes on Ron Paul in 2012 to help eradicate a lot of these weasels and restore some integrity to the GOP.

Needless to say I am against this War on Drugs. Not only does it cost me and you tons in taxes, its a complete and utter failure, it causes the blending of hard and soft drugs, it promotes drug use in children, and most importantly of all, it's all based on lies (Hurst, Nixon anyone?) and it's completely illegal, unconstitutional and immoral.

Best Regards,

Daniel

"My final point about alcohol, about drugs, about Pornography...What business is it of your's what I do, read, buy, see or take into my body as long as I don't harm another human being whilst on this planet? And for those of you having a little moral dilemma on how to answer this, I'll answer for you. NONE OF YOUR F*CKING BUSINESS!" -Bill Hicks

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