End the war against (non-wealthy) Americans.

Monday, October 20th, 2008 @ 4:49 pm | Barack Obama, Booze & or Drugs, Drugs, Politics

Joe Conasan looks to the history of drug use shared by Barack Obama and Cindy McCain as parables to underline the case against jailing people and ruining their lives over drug use. Obama’s history is vague but widely known. Cindy’s story less so, though a recently canned (ghost-written) autobiography was planned:

But it is hard to imagine why she or husband John would want to excavate any unhappy memories of her Percocet period. Her battle with addiction included a series of major felony offenses in the early ’90s, which included falsifying prescriptions, stealing drugs from a medical charity she founded and underwrote with her family fortune, and inducing doctors and other employees of that charity to help her obtain Percocet and other Schedule III narcotics illegally. The Drug Enforcement Administration opened an investigation of her after a former employee, whose name she had used to obtain drugs, reported her criminal misuse of her charity. At the time, seasoned defense attorneys in Arizona believed that she could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on half a dozen counts (and that if her name had been José Lopez, she surely would have).

But Cindy McCain avoided prosecution by federal authorities. Instead, like so many other wealthy and high-profile drug offenders — and unlike so many of the young offenders Obama knew, whose crimes were no worse than hers — she was allowed into what is known as a “diversion” program. Rather than being sent to jail, she went into rehab. Now it’s as if none of those terrible things had ever happened to her — and why would anyone bring them up?

The only reason to talk about past drug abuse by Barack Obama or Cindy McCain is to point out the waste and injustice of the ongoing drug war. Both of them broke the law, repeatedly, by their own admission, but neither deserved to go to prison and no useful purpose would have been served by punishing them.

Today we spend well over $50 billion annually at the federal, state and local levels on a domestic war that has never achieved any of its objectives and never will. If either of the presidential candidates still believes that this is a worthwhile investment of our money, despite his own experience, it would be fascinating to hear him explain why.

Like Rush Limbaugh, Cindy McCain exemplifies what the Drug War means to the wealthy: unless they’re drug dealers themselves, nothing. With the rich and the famous, we understand.

Obama has expressed interest in lightening sentences and promoting rehab…probably as much as he could get away with at this point, but unfortunate nonetheless (obviously McCain is a throw-em’-all-in-jail type, except for people like his wife). Armed with a Democratic Congress, Obama would be a fool to not go further. He is practical, not so much ideological, and well aware that drug abuse requires real solutions, not totalitarian measures and submission to fear, especially when such measures are refrained from when dealing with the upper class.


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