Monday, March 14, 2011

Obama courts young voters, again

The Washington Post has a long front-page story on March 14 on Obama's campaign to reignite the 2008 enthusiasm of students.

Reading the account leaves me shaking my head at the utterly canned and insincere nature of this project. It is an echo of so many of his political and policy blunders that have driven his popularity down.

From what I hear, the Administration has been surprisingly out of touch with young people on a host of issues.

Regarding drug policy, for example, the President muffed questions on marijuana in on-line forums. In March 2009, he mocked the questioners on the subject, and with no follow-up in two years, they evidently abandoned the White House Internet question format altogether at That's got to be real impressive to young people.

Medical marijuana policy is a confusing hash offering no guidance to states for effective regulation. 15 state legalize medical marijuana and the Administration position is where it was in the FIRST Bush Administration -- no such thing as medical use. Dr. Lyle Craker at U Mass has still been denied DEA registration to grow research grade marijuana that could lead to standardized marijuana essential for pharmacy distribution, after more than 10 years.

Obama's nomination of Michelle Leonhart to head DEA is another example of unimaginative, passionless, indifferent policy-making. Leonhart, the leading bureaucratic enemy of medical marijuana, is the last person he should have picked if he wanted a coherent policy that reflected both the science and the popular will. After all, in 2008, medical marijuana got a higher percentage of the vote in Michigan than he did!

The crack cocaine reform signed in August by Obama is ignored and frustrated by prosecutors at sentencing. Sadly, the White House and Attorney General do not really direct the Justice Department where appropriate policy making should be made.

On using his Constitutional power of pardon and reprieve to correct injustices, Obama's callous indifference to patently unjust sentences is appalling. Consider Clarence Aaron, serving three life sentences concurrently, for being a courier for a Mobile, AL crack gang. He was a college student at the time, with no record, and received about $1500 for his role. The leaders of the gang, with prior records, all cut deals and have been free for years.

His White House "drug czar" is patently clueless in his speeches and comments His insistence that there is no longer a war on drugs -- because he said so in 2009 -- typifies his adherence to talking points in lieu of thoughtful discourse. Read what On columnist present at The Seattle Times said about his highly anticipated recent editorial board meeting there: "Kerlikowske's evasive, canned answers and lack of force made this a regular editorial board meeting. . . Really, even when pressed, he did not say much of anything."

Sadly, that says it all regarding the Obama White House on one issue that is important to young people.

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