At the beginning of this weekend, I posed a challenge for blogger Pat Rogers concerning Barack Obama and his drug policy positions:
Recently, I’ve been debating with Pat Rogers from A Left Independent. Pat and I generally agree on most matters of drug policy, but we have some pretty stark disagreements in our outlook for the 2008 election. While both of us have been critical of Obama over his flaky drug policy positions, I’m not convinced to vote for a third-party candidate, even though the Libertarian and Green nominees – and even Ralph Nader – will all have better drug policy platforms this year.
In the past, I’ve voted for third-party candidates with no chance for that reason, but I can’t this year. While I’m definitely disappointed in his positions, I also recognize that being honest about drug policy is difficult for Obama, and that McCain, who has vowed to continue fighting medical marijuana laws, will certainly be worse. The perceptions and prejudices that exist in this country about drugs and the African-American community make it especially tough for Obama to be bold on this front. This is why I think we have this disconnect between someone who claims The Wire as his favorite TV show, but as a politician has often promoted the drug war in ways that the show has been critical of. I tend to be more sympathetic to these political realities than Pat, so I want to lay out a challenge to him:
Write up a speech that Obama could make on drug policy that would…
a) Win your vote
b) Not wreck his chances in November to beat John McCain
Pat was already one step ahead of me, as he’s already worked on such a speech. He sent it to me and I’ve posted it here. He’s welcoming feedback on it. I’m very impressed with it, but I’m not yet convinced that Obama could make that speech and not find it to be a political landmine. What do you think?