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DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
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October 2005
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Let’s Get Political

This is a single-issue blog, and although I have personal political views beyond the drug war, I try to stick with the drug war here. I welcome conservatives, liberals, moderates, and libertarians.
However, there is no reason to avoid the big elephant in the room. The Republican leadership controls the House, Senate, Presidency (and has appointed most of the Supreme Court). And they are therefore responsible for the current escalations and travesties of the drug war. Sure, I still go and yell at the Kos Kids for their complicity through lack of attention to the drug war, but for now, the responsibility falls primarily with the Republican leadership (Note that I purposely do not say “conservatives,” for most true conservatives do not support the drug war.)
Because of this, a recent rant from Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute really hit home.

The House Republican leadership must go. Even if that means the GOP loses control of Congress. Democrats spent decades practicing the policy of spending lavishly to win elections. Republicans refined the practice in just a few years.

More fundamentally, it took the Democrats four decades to fully succumb to the temptations of power, ruthlessly abusing their control of Capitol Hill. After only one decade the Republicans are proving to be even worse. […]

When it comes to policy there seem to be ever fewer serious differences between the two leading political parties. Both expand government power, increase federal spending, lavish money on pork barrel projects, and put their own interests before that of the public at every turn. And these days, at last, the GOP appears to be more ruthless about using every bit of the power that it has accumulated for its own advantage.

While there are few substantive reasons to choose between the parties, there now is a practical reason to vote Democratic: to put at least one organ of national power into someone else’s hands. As Lord Acton famously observed, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The GOP seems intent on proving the truth of Lord Acton’s axiom.

Regardless of your political beliefs in other areas, it’s clear that the Republican party has gone overboard in its support of the extreme excesses of the drug war.
It’s tough enough to imagine a party that encourages people like Mark Souder, but this one puts him in charge of drug policy…

  • Mark Souder, Chair, SubCommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
  • F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chair, Committee on the Judiciary
  • Tom Davis, Chair, Committee on Government Reform
  • Dan Burton, Chair, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

I can’t imagine any worse choices for these positions (although there are rumors that Dan Burton has occassional moments of doubt). So even though we may not be able to defeat the individuals, remember that a change of party means a change of committee leadership, and while that may not mean so much in the Senate (we’d be giving up Graham for Biden in the Crime and Drugs SubCommittee), in the House, a change of party would be huge for us. Right now we’re on the defensive with all the horrific bills being developed by Sensenbrenner and Souder, et al. It’s hard to develop good reform policy when you’re spending all your time fighting off these idiots.
November, 2006, is going to be coming remarkably soon.

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