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August 2010
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Josh Marshall insults the voters

In a short piece about a Republican primary, Progressive political activist left-of-center blogger/journalist/commentator Josh Marshall decides to be cute for no reason, and out of the blue

Later Update: McCollum’s campaign is saying there’s no clear winner and we’ll have to wait for the morning — which may be a coded way of saying he’s coming out for marijuana legalization, or perhaps just that all the folks in his campaign are smoking some right now.

Even Later Update: AP says put away the bong guys, calls it for Rick Scott.

Considering that marijuana legalization is a serious issue being debated in this country, and particularly considering that McCollum has been criticized for pushing for tougher marijuana laws (something Marshall probably didn’t even care to discover), this is amazingly tone deaf.

Josh Marshall simply took marijuana and marijuana legalization and used it as a cheap shot to negatively and irrelevantly slam someone he doesn’t like.

It’s childish and completely out of touch.

We’re going to run into similar stupidity throughout the election season, as hyper-partisan activists use whatever club they can find to attack an opponent.

Another example happened recently with the case of Rand Paul. Now, unlike his father Ron (who is an outstanding drug policy reformer), Rand Paul is complete disaster when it comes to drug policy — he’s all over the place, and completely incomprehensible.

He should probably be dismissed or ignored, but Tanya Somanader at Think Progress recently delivered a steaming pile of crap just to be contrary.

Since Rand Paul is opposed to big government, she decided that it was best to automatically be for big government in drug policy, without even a Fourth Grade level of thought.

While Paul touts the magical remedies provided by the rich, it is the poor Appalachian residents in eastern Kentucky that are facing a tough reality where a “higher proportion of people abuse prescription pain killers that in the rest of the nation.” In fact, while trafficking in pain killers is the “largest drug problem” facing the region, Kentucky is also a prominent hotbed for marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine, according to the latest DEA study. This year, local officials reported 114 overdose deaths in the region within the first two months alone.

And, rather than failing, government-run programs are producing unprecedented success. Conway’s inter-governmental task force to cut prescription pill trafficking busted over 500 people in an interstate drug pipeline and was part of the “largest prescription pill bust in Kentucky history.” Kentucky law enforcement recognize the need for similar federal programs. State Fraternal Order of Police President Michael “Spike” Jones said he “would not be able to keep up with drug crime” without federal assistance to “pay overtime logged by tracking down drug dealers.” “It would be impossible to stop” drug traffickers “without federal assistance, because of the dire straits” state economies are in, said another Appalachian drug enforcement official.

If you think that federal drug enforcement is there to help the poor people of Eastern Kentucky, then you probably also believe that crack sentencing disparities exist to help black people. And if you believe that 500 people busted were “traffickers,” then I’ve got some bridges for you.

Drug Policy is a real issue — one that’s being discussed by mature and well-informed activists in a variety of fields. It’s no longer some kind of sandbox for clueless partisans to play in.

[Thanks, Tom]

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9 comments to Josh Marshall insults the voters

  • ‘progressive political activist’? where you get that from? does ‘rant’ mean totally devoid of facts? sheesh

  • Sorry, Josh. I’ll be happy to correct that if you’ll clarify. Commentator? Journalist? It was my impression that TPM was more than a news organization, but had an activist point of view.

    But that doesn’t change the point of this piece, which you don’t address.

  • Jon Doe

    So you have a problem with being labeled as an activist, but are perfectly fine with your work being described as “childish and completely out of touch”?

  • LK

    Rand thinks drugs are a state issueunless being sold across state lines. This would decimate the federal drug war. Since he would only be involved at the federal level in any event. What problem do you have with this position? What vote of his would concern you?

  • claygooding

    Pot humor will continue to ring out from some of the weirdest places.

    Clinton, Bush And Obama Drug Czars Come Out Against California’s Marijuana Legalization Measure

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/25/clinton-and-bush-drug-cza_n_693935.html

  • paul

    “the poor Appalachian residents in eastern Kentucky” make a lot of money from MJ grown in the mountains. Several years ago, I remember seeing some news reports on how a MJ farming conviction in Kentucky hadn’t been achieved in years because you get a jury of your peers.

    “Don’t look guilty to me, nope!” Har har. Federal prosecutors stopped even trying. I wonder if that is still the case, there.

    Anyway, I guess my point is that speaking out about the evils of drugs plays well in the newspaper and church on Sunday, but too many people in Kentucky owe their livelihood to MJ to have much actual sympathy for these arguments. They’re probably going to elect Rand Paul.

    Rand Paul isn’t perfect, and he is doing some fairly obvious politician weasel-speak to hide his true and more libertarian beliefs, but he will be a far sight better than whatever other candidate goes against him.

    Plus, the establishment and the press hate him, which is good sign you ought to like him.

  • kaptinemo

    Used to be, the ‘titter factor’ ruled when it came to the media’s reporting on the issue of cannabis prohibition…an odd practice, given how so much of drug prohibition rests upon cannabis prohibition, and how much misery is generated by drug prohibition, in toto.

    But now, with more people becoming politically engaged regarding the subject, it appears the memo has not gotten out yet that a lot of people don’t believe the subject is all that humorous, anymore.

    No matter; they’ll learn soon enough.

    I’ll continue to say it until all the votes are tallied: cannabis consumers are the single largest potential voting bloc in this country, because we cross nearly all demographics. When that sleeping giant awakens and its’ presence is finally felt in elections, the stupid weed jokes will thin out to embarrassed silence.

  • Maria

    kaptinemo, I completely agree with you, but we’re also very fractured and fragile along those demographics. These divisions allow a lot of wedges to slide in and keep everyone separated and compartmentalized. Helps keep the debate in the realm of toilet humor and cheap political shots as demonstrated by the two commentators in Petes latest. So until we figure out that what unites us is in fact bigger then what separates us…

    It’s too easy to divide and conquer. Not enough people see the fight against the “war on (people) drugs” as a basic fight for civil liberties. As something that is beyond the “simple right” to partake. (As if the right to do with your own flesh what you will is ever simple.)

    And even when they do, they don’t seem to see it as important enough, not as much as the very real and immediate tangibles such as paying the mortgage/rent, keeping old age pensions/job or affording health insurance/food/gas/childcare.

    But funny enough, if the war where to stop today, if the nation where to voluntarily end the absurd farce (rather then have it end due to systemic collapse) then I think it’s safe to say that the amount of resources which would be available to fix the US would be staggering. Though I guess I should be fair and acknowledge that unemployment, in certain sectors, would most likely go through the roof.

  • darkcycle

    “…unemployment in certain sectors would go through the roof”
    Like the Prison guards? Boo-Hoo. Let me try for a second to feel bad for all the DEA agents, who will face a really hard time re-training to work the counter at Wendy’s. And all the cops. Not to mention the drug test manufacturers…Why how awful that their excuse to invade our privacy and give us that little bit of pre-employment humiliation will go away. Oh…the humanity..