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October 2008
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Will Crime Policy Show Up in Tomorrow’s Debate?

Via Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy comes Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic with The McCain Comeback Plan: Taxes, Crime, Associations And Real Reform where he suggests that one of the McCain tactics will be:

2. Obama’s record on crime. “Far outside the mainstream.” Crime record — far outside the mainstram…issues like gang violence and crack/powder retroactivity (which even the Bush admin supports but is not popular)… Are they skating close to the race line here? The McCain camp turns it around: since when is a black candidate given a free pass on these issues?

Doug Berman notes that McCain has an updated page on Fighting Crime, so I checked it out.
Wow! What a content-free page. For example:

John McCain Will Appoint Judges Who Follow The Constitution Rather Than Those Who Engage In Judicial Activism. In doing so, John McCain will provide law enforcement with the certainty and confidence required to make critical decisions knowing that their actions will be judged fairly by the courts in the context of recognized precedent and accepted principles of law.

???
…or this:

John McCain Recognizes That The Men And Women Of Our Law Enforcement Community Serve On The Front Lines Of America’s Struggle Against Crime. The federal government has the responsibility to support state and local law enforcement by handling those responsibilities that federal law enforcement is uniquely qualified to address, by providing the tools and technology that law enforcement need to be effective in the 21st century, and through consistency in the law by appointing federal judges who will follow the Constitution.

Somehow, I don’t see anything on this page that would indicate that McCain is even willing to talk about crime policy, let alone go up against Obama directly on it.
Hey, I’d love to see the discussion, and I hope it happens. But I think I agree with Grits for Breakfast in comments at the Sentencing Law and Policy post:

If all McCain has to attack Obama with are the votes in the linked item, stick a fork in the GOP nominee, he’s done. Crime is declining and that’s just not what the public cares about right now. We’re in “it’s the economy, stupid,” mode. I do think the blogger correctly outlines McCain’s likely attacks, I just don’t think they’ll resonate.

Exactly right. It’s the economy, stupid. If a McCain crime policy attack surfaces, it’ll be merely a passing jab in a series of flailing efforts to change the subject. And it won’t show up in the debate unless the question is asked directly (and even then all we would see is dancing).

Note: One bizarre bit in the old piece from The Hill was this reaction by law enforcement to Obama’s votes:

State law enforcement officials who worked with the senator at the time were hesitant to criticize Obama, saying only that while he sometimes voted for ‹individual rightsŠ rather than for facilitating law enforcement, in other areas he was very supportive and was ‹alwaysŠ open to discussion.

Yeah, what a disappointment when a politician goes out and occasionally votes for… individual rights.

Why nobody turns to the cops for help anymore

Every time I think I’ve heard every low-down, stupid, mean, insane, or evil story that could possibly come out of the drug war, I get another surprise.
I’ve known Mona online for awhile. She’s been a vocal opponent of the drug war — I collaborated with her for Prison & the War on Drugs: Just Say No at Glenn Greenwald’s Unclaimed Territory a couple of years ago.
Mona’s gone through some very tough times. In a calmer state of mind, and knowing what she already knows intellectually about the drug war, she probably would have taken a different road than I Inanely Took on the Drug War Ö And Lost.
But, my God, aren’t the cops supposed to work… for us? What kind of sick dysfunctional system allows this?

Stupid Prohibitionist Tricks

Margret Kopala, The Ottawa Citizen, with her article: How to win the drug war

There has been little mention in this election campaign of the most pernicious evil of our time. Yet recent reports from a UN agency leave little doubt that the war against drugs is being won and that, with full engagement, victory […]