I don’t know what to make of this vague report from Marc Ambinder, who says he’s been told by those close to Obama that the president wants to “tackle” the war on drugs if he wins a second term. As Ambinder notes, Obama has often talked about opposing the damage done by the war on drugs.
According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War.
Don’t expect miracles. There is very little the president can do by himself. And pot-smokers shouldn’t expect the president to come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. But from his days as a state senator in Illinois, Obama has considered the Drug War to be a failure, a conflict that has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse, devastated entire communities, changed policing practices for the worse, and has led to a generation of young children, disproportionately black and minority, to grow up in dislocated homes, or in none at all.
Those are words; the actions of his administration in the last three and a half years speak much louder, and in the opposite direction. So consider me more than a bit skeptical in thinking he’ll be doing anything at all to fix this problem.