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The Staggering Incoherence of Drug Warrior Charles Grassley

Earlier this month, notorious drug war cheerleader Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) provoked outrage by attempting to censor debate about drug policy reform in Congress. He proposed an amendment that would literally ban a congressionally appointed expert panel from discussing legalization or decriminalization as part of a broad evaluation of criminal justice policies.

It's just a transparently pathetic strategy of defending the drug war status quo by outlawing meaningful debate and keeping alternatives off the table. Fortunately, just about everyone saw right through it. Pete Guither points out that Grassley is so cornered, he's now begging his constituents in Iowa to back him up on this. And the harder he tries to defend it, the weaker it sounds:

First and foremost, Congress ought to tackle issues whenever possible before bucking them to commissions. Increasingly, Congress is using commissions to avoid doing what Americans elect members to do: ask tough questions, identify possible answers, debate policy solutions and take a stand. [Des Moines Register]

Yeah, who needs experts when we've got politicians to make all our decisions for us?

This commission also would cost $14 million. It's hard to justify that expenditure in the current fiscal situation, especially when it's work that Congress should be doing itself.

Wait, so you can justify spending $50 billion a year on the war on drugs, but we can't justify $14 million to evaluate whether it makes any sense?

Finally, I put forward an amendment to address the issue of decriminalization and legalization of any controlled substance. I filed this amendment in an effort to start a debate on this important issue.

Really, Chuck? Really? How exactly does banning discussion of something promote debate? Everything, from the language of Grassley's amendment to his rich history of ignorant pro-drug-war posturing, proves what a total lie that is. The very essence of this controversy is that he blatantly attempted to prevent experts from looking into the issues he doesn’t want to talk about. Clearly, Grassley greatly underestimated the growing public demand for a new dialogue about our drug policies and got burned by his own arrogance, to such an extent that he is now hilariously masquerading as the champion of that critical discussion.  

The obvious bottom line here is that Grassley is consumed by his fear about what the experts will say. That is just implicit in all of this. If he wasn't deeply afraid of their conclusions, he wouldn’t be introducing amendments telling them what conclusions not to reach.  

The commission hasn’t even been appointed yet, so the very notion that it will become a referendum on the urgent need for sweeping reforms to our drug policy is purely a product of his paranoid imagination (combined perhaps with a subconscious recognition that the drug war is a gaping suckhole and smart people aren't exactly in love with it anymore). If Congress had named an expert panel consisting of Ethan Nadelmann, Rob Kampia, Jacob Sullum, Paul Armentano, Micah Daigle, Norm Stamper, Pete Guither and Willie Nelson, then maybe Charles Grassley could be forgiven for tearing from D.C. to Des Moines on horseback, flailing a dinner bell over his head and screaming that the legalizers are coming.  

Until that happens, the drug war pep squad would be well advised to just pipe down for the time being, lest their suggestions that we not discuss certain things should lead to yet more discussion of the things they don’t want discussed.

Update: Turns out Grassley's piece was a response to this Op-ed by Marni Steadham of University of Iowa SSDP. More coverage here.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Yeah, he put forward an amendment all right

Who is this joker trying to kid? His overall reputation is actually that of a effective watchdog of government spending, but when it comes to the war on selected drugs, he throws that side of himself in the river and turns into a stark raving mad dog, using language not to communicate but rather to stop communication and dialogue. He must be losing his marbles if he really thinks his amendment was an attempt to start a debate. Losing his marbles or the most blatant liar I've heard in a while. But if he's this over the top, we're probably lucky to have him as an enemy (I'll save the word opponent for people with integrity).

Mnr. G's Future

I've read where he's not running for office on the next go-round. That's one thing in our favor.

Grassley’s Lost Cause

Congressman Grassley blew it when he jumped on board the Deather band wagon with Palin and Gingrich.  It wrecked his political support back home in Iowa.

I’m guessing Mr. Grassley isn’t too concerned about his present credibility, as he appears to have no immediate political future.  After someone blows it like that, it really doesn’t matter what they say or do.  He can oppose free speech by attempting to censor Webb’s commission.  Or he can swing from the Congress building’s chandeliers like a monkey.  No one will care.


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