Friday, February 17, 2012

Bush's Third Term

There are more than a few conservatives who have chortled that Obama's use of drones in the Middle East, refusal to close Gitmo, and a number of other foreign policy actions, were Bush's third term.  This is not quite fair, either to Bush or Obama--but it does seem as though a lot of the promises that Obama made to the Code Pink crowd were quickly forgotten.  (And when it comes to crony capitalism, Obama makes every previous president combined look squeaky clean.)

Now, one more example, from Rolling Stone:

Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration's high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst."

Read more:
I have never been supportive of federal regulation of marijuana, especially marijuana that does not cross state lines.  The Raich decision was so utterly wrong--holding that marijuana grown and used in California was still subject to federal regulation under Congress' authority to regulate interstate commerce.  Nonetheless, the job of the President of the United States is to enforce the laws of the United States, and I can't be too upset with either Bush or Obama for, you know, enforcing the laws of the United States, especially when the Supreme Court insists that the law is constitutional.  Do you really want a law enforcement official deciding which laws he should enforce and which he should just ignore because he disagrees with them, thinks them silly, or whatever?  Sometimes the best way to get a stupid law repealed is to enforce it full force.  

Still, I can feel a certain sense of gratification at a time like this when someone suddenly figures out, as Instapundit describes the above article: "Hey, rube!"  An awful lot of people on the left end of the spectrum demonstrated a depressing aspect of democracy: the complete suspension of critical judgment when a politician tells them what they want to hear.


  1. Do you really want a law enforcement official deciding which laws he should enforce and which he should just ignore because he disagrees with them, thinks them silly, or whatever?

    Actually, to some extent, yes, I do. No law enforcement agency will ever have the resources to enforce all the laws (even if limited just to "real crime"), so I want law enforcement officials to pick and choose which laws they're going to enforce. Really, what I want is *elected* officials to set priorities for law enforcement, and thus be accountable for the same, and I'd prefer those priorities to align along laws to be enforced, rather than classes of people for the laws to be enforced against.

  2. Yabbut what I want to know is why Obama and his henchmen are doing this.

    Continuing the War on Terror program makes some political sense. If Obama had explicitly abandoned Iraq and Afghanistan or released all the Gitmo prisoners, there would have been serious political consequences. Code Pink would be gratified, but a huge swath of Americans would be angry.

    And whacking bin Laden and other al-Qaedists is very broadly popular. (I even think that Obama and his inner circle want to do this - the problem is that they think it is a sufficient answer to Islamist terrorism.)

    But what is the motive for the medical marijuana crackdown? It offends leftists and libertarians. It's not something Obama can brag about on the news.

    It's not a high-profile issue with social conservatives: if one wants credit as an anti-drugs warrior, one goes after the vicious meth cookers, or the big coke peddlers.

    Given Obama's background, it hardly seems likely that this reflects his personal passion. Nor does it seem like something Holder, or Emanuel, or even Michelle would push.

    Who decided on this policy? And why?

    One possibility: this is what the career enforcers at DEA/FBI/DoJ want to do - and Obama is such a poor manager that he can't tell them no.