Am I dreaming?
Joe Biden, sponsor of the Rave Act and inventor of the Drug Czar, is now positioning himself as a leader in crack/powder disparity reform.
Everybody realizes that the crack/powder disparity is racist in its effect and is absolutely unsupportable, but no politician wants to do anything that looks like they’re reducing penalties for drugs in any way. So political reform bills have involved moving crack and powder sentencing slightly closer to each other, but keeping the disparity.
Biden is actually proposing the correct, simple approach: make them the same.
‹Senator Hatch has taken a bold and important step in the right direction, and I applaud his efforts,Š said Senator Biden. ‹But, we‰ve got to go further and solve this problem for good. The current sentencing disparity between the two forms of cocaine is based on false notions and old logic. The bottom line is that there is no scientific justification for any disparity. Crack and powder are simply two forms of the same drug, and each form produces identical effects. I will soon be introducing legislation that eliminates the sentencing disparity completely, fixing this injustice once and for all. I look forward to working with Senator Hatch and others — Republicans and Democrats — and urge them to support righting this wrong.Š
It sounds good, and implied in the Biden press release is the notion that this fix will simply mean changing the crack guidelines to match the current powder guidelines. However, that’s not stated specifically, and the release does not rule out the notion of equalizing them, in part, by making it worse for powder, which would be wrong (of course, the truly right thing would involve the “L” word, but you won’t see that from this Congress).
Has Biden turned around a little? Or is this just another political trick? After all, this press release came out just prior to the Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate dealing with minority issues…