Wednesday, August 18, 2010

White House suggests Obama backs Leonhart- but doesn't get it

The Daily Caller reported August 18,2010 that the White House is sticking with the nomination of Michelle Leonhart, who has been the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration since 2007, and Deputy Administrator (the No. 2) since 2003. A few weeks ago, numerous groups called for the President to withdraw her nomination.

The story in the Daily Caller, however, has mis-analyzed why she is wrong for the job. It is not simply that she has overseen DEA while it has conducted raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers in the past year, in apparent disregard of the October 19, 2009 memorandum from Deputy Attorney General David Ogden.

The bigger issue is that Leonhart has demonstrated that she is unable and unwilling to take on the major job of the next DEA Administrator, which is to work with the states in developing medical marijuana laws that make sense. During her entire career in DEA management -- since 1997 -- she has acted as though the calendar were stuck on October 1996 -- before the medical marijuana law that passed in November 1996 and received one million votes more than Bill Clinton did. Her leadership of DEA has ignored the medical marijuana laws passed in state after state after state, and ignored the hundreds of scientific studies conducted that establish the various medical benefits of marijuana.

On the key challenge that the DEA has to address going forward, she is utterly unqualified. That the Obama Administration does not recognize this is very disturbing.

I suspect that what compelled Obama to pick Leonhart is that he could not find anyone competent who was willing to take the lead in reforming an antiquated agency staffed with zealots committed to a hopeless mission. The rumor in D.C. is that everyone they asked turned down the offer.

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1 comment:

ned said...

" The rumor in D.C. is that everyone they asked turned down the offer."

There is an easy solution to the Democratic Administrations dilemma. They have completely the wrong mindset here. They trying to find a suitable drug warrior because that is the agency's mission. However. take a page from the Reagan playbook. Whenever it is time to appoint a head to an agency you don't like or don't agree with simply appoint someone who's in opposition the mission of the agency. That begins the process of neutralizing it.

That is exactly what is needed at the DEA.