Tuesday, May 11, 2010

That being said...

While Obama hasn't exactly kept the faith of civil libertarians on terrorism stuff, there have been lots of big changes in federal drug policy that are very much in line with what we want to see out of him:

The White House is putting more resources into drug prevention and treatment, part of President Barack Obama's pledge to treat illegal drug use more as a public health issue than a criminal justice problem.

The new drug control strategy to be released Tuesday boosts community-based anti-drug programs, encourages health care providers to screen for drug problems before addiction sets in and expands treatment beyond specialty centers to mainstream health care facilities.

A lot of people think that the Obama Administration is basically Bushism with a human face. In some respects, this is uncomfortably close to truth. But when you look at the trajectory of the War on Drugs over the past year or so, there's a pretty definite trend toward sanity here. We're not closing in on legalization or anything, but it's actually pretty extraordinary that this is the classically liberal approach to the drug problem--treatment, not punishment--and the administration keeps pushing more and more toward winding the insane drug war down. Ten years ago, even proposing this would have been considered batty. Now? It's hardly news.

That's fundamentally why I try to support the Administration as much as I can on these questions. I don't think the Democrats have done a good job safeguarding civil liberties, but they're much better than the GOP. Because the GOP's position is basically that we have no civil liberties. When that's the right-most point of the debate, it's hard to see how we get to the sensible center with respect to our freedoms. But on the non-security issues like drugs, I think Obama has decent instincts toward freedom. I wish he'd put his neck on the line for them more often, but honestly, what's the alternative at this point?

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.