Just reported a few minutes ago. Barthwell resigned from the Drug Czar’s office to “explore” the idea of running for Senate.
Update: The question, of course, is “Could she win?”
Barthwell has some Illinois connections, particularly in the treatment field, and I think she’d have some money to work with. She’s also attractive and sounds intelligent. I think the key here is that the strategy will most likely be that Barthwell will attack Barack as a druggie (Barack has admitted using pot and cocaine as a youth). Knowing her willingness to sink low, I wouldn’t be surprised if she also played the race card (his drug past makes him a poor role model for blacks, etc.) Barack would then most likely backpedal and try to show how “tough” he is on drugs (using his sponsorship of an ephedra ban as a cornerstone).
This is bad for drug policy reform.
We’ll then need drug policy reformers to remind the media of the lies Andrea has told during her reign as Deputy Drug Czar and this could get Jerry Kohn some much-needed exposure by taking her on regarding the wasteful drug war.
I’ve got a lot of new people visiting because of the Barthwell announcement, many of whom may not know who she is, so here’s a quick overview.
Before joining the ONDCP, Andrea was president of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and a board member of the American Methadone Treatment Association. When hired for the ONDCP, she claimed she wanted to increase the focus on treatment at the Drug Czar’s office.
However, since she joined, she has mostly toured the country spouting the Drug Czar’s line, and almost exclusively focusing on marijuana, particularly as an attack dog to go against medical marijuana efforts, and also promoting massive drug testing of teens in schools.
She has regularly played loose with the facts (if not outright lying), dismissing all medical marijuana science as a “scam” and conveniently ignoring other facts. Additionally, rather than bringing an emphasis on treatment to the Drug Czar’s office, Andrea has instead pushed the lie that the Bush administration has increased the enforcement/treatment ratio toward treatment (in fact, all they did was change the rules regarding what was counted).
Some of my earlier posts on Andrea are available here, here, here, and here.
There’s no doubt that Andrea will be able to raise significant money if she is selected as the GOP nominee. Pharmaceutical companies and drug testing companies will be tripping over themselves trying to shovel cash her way. She is exactly what they want in the Senate. You can bet she already has money lined up. Even if she isn’t the GOP candidate, she’s guaranteed a high paying job in one of those companies.
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