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April 2008
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A Speech a Presidential Candidate Could Make

Based on a back and forth discussion about drug policy and the 2008 election between thehim and Pat Rogers, thehim posed this challenge to Pat:

Write up a speech that Obama could make on drug policy that wouldá

  1. Win your vote
  2. Not wreck his chances in November to beat John McCain

Rogers responded with a very impressive speech here that intellectually, it seems to me, meets that challenge.
Now, on the other hand, there is the vapid, brainless press pack that would rather obsess over Obama’s bowling, Clinton’s tears and Bush’s package than issues of substance, and you can bet that a host of pundits would re-make the speech in exactly the way the speech carefully aims to prevent (surrendering to the drug dealers, abandoning children, etc.)
But if there’s a speech that could work, this might be it (and it would have to work much the way the race speech worked for Obama recently — still opening him up to vapid criticism, but impressing enough people to make a difference).
I’m still pessimistic about even bothering looking to the Presidential candidates (the mainstream party winners, that is) for any kind of sane advocacy for drug policy change. At best, I hope for one that will focus his/her attention elsewhere (sort of benign neglect combined with not standing too firmly in the way of reform efforts).
What do you think?

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