Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is surging, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is an also-ran and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dominating in a new poll of Iowans likely to vote in the nation’s first presidential nominating contest. [Bloomberg Politics]
THERE IS one subject that represents just how out of touch Jeb Bush is on the new libertarianism in his ranks, and Senator Rand Paul slammed him on it recently. It’s just the first uncomfortable moment for the Republican establishment that Democrats are savoring, with their likely nominee Hillary Clinton still standing well above the GOP fray.
Senator Rand Paul has the moral and political high ground on this one, especially if you want to enthuse younger generations to get out to vote, something that was so successful for Barack Obama.
“[Jeb Bush] was even opposed to medical marijuana,” Paul said of Bush, a potential rival in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. “This is a guy who now admits he smoked marijuana but he wants to put people in jail who do.
“I think that’s the real hypocrisy, is that people on our side, which include a lot of people who made mistakes growing up, admit their mistakes but now still want to put people in jail for that,” he said.
“Had he been caught at Andover, he’d have never been governor, he’d probably never have a chance to run for the presidency,” he added.
No one’s asked Hillary Clinton the pot question, which will quickly encapsulate for many not currently supporting her just where she stands on progressive drug policy, as well as health care for the chronically or terminally ill. It’s not a small issue, which many states are tackling and that could be where she ends up standing. Clinton’s natural conservatism culturally, as well as still holding traditionalist religious views, doesn’t foreshadow a progressive stand on weed. She would, however, be smart to stand unequivocally behind changing the scheduling status of pot.
I should add here, to make it clearer, that “the pot question” goes well beyond medicinal marijuana, which any politician must support, unless they want to send terminally ill, and parents with children benefiting from medicinal weed, into a panic. I’m talking specifically about a progressive drug policy that removes marijuana from the schedule 1 list of drugs, for starters. Research will expand with this move, while it will also encourage politicians to appreciate marijuana’s value as more research proves its effectiveness. The other issue is dealing with the failed “drug war,” starting with incarceration rates for minor drug offenses that hits minorities hard, as well as helps make the U.S. the largest prison nation in the world.
Jeb Bush is now the biggest target in the room, with Mitt Romney saving himself from deep embarrassment by bowing out.
On pot, however, establishment politicians are going to have to answer this question with more than a punt, because Senator Rand Paul is taking not only a libertarian position, but a progressive political stance on drug policy, as well as medicinal use, whose time has long past come.