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.
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.
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?