Obama Loses His "Cool"

With his glib dismissal of pot legalization, the president looks less like the man, and more like The Man.

When the generation of Americans under the age of 30 gets around to realizing that this handsome young president might not be nearly as cool as they’d hoped, it won’t be hard to affix a date on when the milk began to sour. It was March 26, 2009, when Barack Obama conducted a live town hall press conference featuring questions submitted online.

Near the beginning of this hip and mildly groundbreaking interaction, the president said this: “We took votes about which questions were gonna be asked.…Three point five million people voted. I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high, uh, and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve, uh, the economy and job creation. And, uh (chuckles), uh, I don’t know what this says about the online audience (laughs), but I just want—I don’t want people to think that—this was a fairly popular question; we want to make sure that it was answered. Uh, the answer is, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.”

The live audience laughed and applauded. The kids online? Not so much.

“Way to discredit a lot of the ‘online audience’ who got you elected, Mr. President,” wrote one commenter on the social news-aggregating website Digg, where Obama’s dismissal was heavily criticized. “Enjoy your approval rating now, Mr. President, I think you just lost a bunch of help,” wrote another. A third Diggster treated legalization with a seriousness (if not grammaticalness) that Obama failed to muster: “To me this is justa common sense issue, legalize Marijuana, decriminalize drug use, thereby crippling drug lords, creating a safe and in the open means to distribute cannabis, give the economy a shot in the arm, and propel snack food sales through the roof. I know the man has a lot on his plate, but seriously this is not justa pot head issue. and it ain’t cute that folks are rotting in prisons for cultivating and smoking a ***** plant.”

No, it ain’t cute at all.

Scratch a young Obama voter and you won’t necessarily find someone who likes bailouts or cares about financial market regulations one way or another. Instead you’re likely to hear about how the awful Republicans wage wars, bait gays and racial minorities, and basically act like a bunch of mean old white men. Party membership and voting are frequently more about group identity than philosophical orientation about the proper role of government. (For a wonderful exploration of the dissonances this can create, see Associate Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward’s “Dangerous Toys, Strange Bedfellows,” page 42.) There’s little doubt about the broad mores of Generation Obama: pro-choice, pro-gay, and pro-legalization. Obama’s got the first one covered, but his youngest supporters are finding out quickly that on the latter two the president is not offering substantive “change” from the last few administrations.

Freedom works in chaotic, unpredictable ways. Sometimes you can go for decades without an inch of progress; and then, the next thing you know, the whole architecture of oppression gets swept away within a matter of days. At a recent screening in Washington, D.C., for the new Velvet Revolution documentary The Power of the Powerless, an American activist type asked the former Czech student leader Šimon Pánek how much behind-the-scenes logistical groundwork and drawn-out planning his fellow revolutionaries engaged in before the 10 days in November 1989 that overthrew the Communist Party. Pánek laughed. “Oh, no,” he said. “It all happened so fast, you cannot plan for such a thing.”

Marijuana legalization isn’t happening remotely that fast, but there are some preliminary indicators that something new and hopeful is stirring within the populace in 2009. It started in late January, when photos surfaced of record-shattering Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps smoking a bong at a party. As a nation prepared for the usual round of hypocritical and self-righteous denunciations, something stranger happened: nothing. The country’s sports pages, normally not known for their permissive attitudes about what humans put in their bodies, greeted the news of a 23-year-old acting like a 23-year-old with a collective shrug.

Ostensibly conservative corporate America, at least in the form of Phelps’ many sponsors, almost unanimously stood by their man. The one company that did not, cereal-maker Kellogg Co., found itself the target of a boycott, and its spokespeople spent the month of February loudly (and not very convincingly) claiming that the two sides’ parting of the ways was a simple matter of a contract expiring. “Our marijuana laws have been ludicrous for as long as we’ve been alive,” the conservative columnist Kathleen Parker wrote in the Washington Post. “The problem isn’t Phelps, who is, in fact, an adult. The problem is our laws—and our lies.”

Aside from the shattered lives of those caught either in the drug war or in the dangerous black market that prohibition produces, it is the lies that make marijuana criminalization so infuriating. For decades we have allowed billions of our tax dollars to be spent on propaganda telling us, falsely, that pot is “dangerous,” that winners don’t do drugs, and that recreational drug users finance terrorism. Barack Obama is the living refutation of all of that: Not only did he inhale, but he freely admitted that “that was the point.” Yet countless federal agencies still require either marijuana-free pasts or (more likely) skilled lying about it. This at a time when more than half of Americans born after World War II have tried pot at least once.

Forcing people to lie, even a little bit, is one of the single most appalling and corrosive things a government can do. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this model is ultimately unsustainable, for the simple reason that people would rather tell the truth. At Andrew Sullivan’s blog in March and April, readers sent in dozens of testimonials explaining that they are perfectly upstanding members of society yet have broken the nation’s idiotic marijuana laws multiple times in the past and are now tentatively “coming out of the closet” about it. Though it’s another sign that the architecture of lies is finally showing the first signs of collapse, the act is nonetheless kind of pathetic. What kind of fearful, groveling supplicants have we become after these four decades of abuse?

That’s why Obama’s pot answer, and the immediately hostile reaction to it by his core fan base, was so interesting. The president has done some good things in office, most notably giving word to the Drug Enforcement Administration that it is no longer to conduct raids on medical marijuana clubs in states they are legal. Though there still have been a couple of raids during the transition period, the new policy presents a marked change from the past. But considering that that’s about as far as Obama appears willing to go, events and public sentiment may soon overtake him.

In moments of liberation, leaders who seemed so progressive during times of stagnation suddenly appear archaic, even obstructionist. Mikhail Gorbachev was far more liberal than the communist leaders of East Germany and several other Soviet satellites, yet the revolutionaries there who rammed through the opening he helped create nonetheless tended to hate his guts. He was, after all, still an authoritarian Communist. By demonstrating that some winners do do drugs, and by allowing cannabis clubs to show the world that pot buyers and sellers are as American as apple pie, Obama is perhaps unwittingly helping to unleash a long-overdue correction in the way America lies to itself. Taking advantage of that window of opportunity might not be a good strategy for growing the economy, but it’s an excellent way to begin regrowing our spines.

Matt Welch (matt.welch@reason.com) is the editor in chief of reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • robc||

    This is an example of why I draw a distincion between social liberals and social libertarians.

    Obama is socially liberal, but not socially libertarian.

    I hate the definition of a libertarian as economically conservative and socially liberal. I think we are economically libertarian and socially libertarian.

  • tokin\' jester||

    Dude, he's moved from campaigning to governing. He's just, like, getting the anti-drug geezers on board before he starts with the drug reform, man.

  • ||

    Nice companion to the "Civil Liberties Surge" post below.

  • ||

    First, the President is a serious geek... he just seemed cool by the metric of American presidents. Second, the presidency is just a figurehead. Change comes to Washington, not from it. Obama is a politician at his core... so he'll get out of the way when enough people make it necessary.

  • High Every Body||

    He is waiting for the giant laser project to light the weed with in a carbon-free manner.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    robc

    I think it's all about caring.

    Liberals care.

    Conservatives care.

    Libertarians don't care.

    As usual, the libertarian position requires a lot more explanation.

    In the end that's why most people are either liberals or conservatives. Who wants to think when all they have to do is care?

  • seen this flick before||

    This is an example of why I draw a distincion between social liberals and social libertarians.

    What distinction? How long do you thing the ink will be dry on the bill to legalize pot before Matt Welch and company pull an equal sign out of their asses and announce, "Of course we don't favor government subsidized health care - but as long as government is paying for chemotherapy and Viagra.... eeeeeequal....EEEEEEQUAAALLLL!!!"

    Loverly. Another hand on my tax dollars......

  • ||

    Legalize the weed. No way Jose.

    By legalizing it you let go of the objectivist viewpoint that people have a right to do with their bodies as they see fit as long as they don't harm someone else (think self-exploding terrorist bomber)

    All drugs that are currently illegal should be decrimalized not by passing legislature and adding new laws to the books but by removing all laws that make drugs illegal.

    The U.S. Constitution does not make it illegal to take or sell drugs. Therefore, the correct thing to do is to remove all the laws that are on the books that make drug sale or use illegal.

  • BakedPenguin||

    seen this flick - If you get anywhere near a point, feel free to make it. Are you talking about medical marijuana being paid for with tax dollars, or what?

  • Anonymous||

    This is an example of why I draw a distincion between social liberals and social libertarians.

    Well, only if you want the "liberals'" argument against language to win. Which is to say, people calling themselves "liberal" are usually more illiberal in the economic and social freedoms category. Which is why HRC's admonishment to call her "progressive" strikes me as particularly refreshing. (And don't get me started on "conservatives" calling for more government -- well, I guess that's conservative in the Wilson and FDR tradition.)

    I'd stick with "classical liberal" for the time being, instead of dragging philosophical libertarianism into a political libertarian fight, and dealing with all the crying and hours of therapy.

  • ||

    The president has done some good things in office, most notably giving word to the Drug Enforcement Administration that it is no longer to conduct raids on medical marijuana clubs in states they are legal.>>
    ===================
    "The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law," Holder said Wednesday at the Justice Department. But he was quick to add that the feds will go after anyone who tries to "use medical marijuana as a shield" for dope dealing.

    But, he added, there is still unfinished business left over from the Bush administration's crusade against the dispensaries. More than 20 California medical marijuana providers are currently being prosecuted in federal court, including San Luis Obispo County dispensary operator Charles Lynch (see story here), who could face decades in prison when sentenced on Monday.

    "There remains a big question as to what the federal government's position is on those cases," Hermes said.

    Another question is just how aggressive the DEA and the US Attorneys will be in determining that a given operation is violating state law. Perhaps in recognition of medical marijuana's broad support in California, the feds have tended to portray dispensary busts as targeting "drug dealers," not legitimate medical marijuana providers.

    And yet another question will be the degree to which hostile local law enforcement entities attempt to sic the feds on dispensary operators, as was the case with Lynch.

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/577/holder_again_promises_no_medical_marijuana_raids


    From the above it is clear that Hussein has an out on this subject with political options open to him. Stayed tuned to see if he uses them.

  • ||

    Obama's dismissal of legalizing MJ is what AIPAC and the ADl have ordained. Obama does not have the stones to stand up to either hate group.

  • ||

    John Galt = Why I think libertarians getting on a raft and setting sail may not be an entirely bad idea. Go, Sebastian Brant.

  • ||

    By defeinition, why would one trust any affirmative action beneficiary? They are less than.

  • ||

    Jose-

    How about if we just set sail to La Raza and all of the hispanic parasitic flotsam infesting North America?

  • freeforall232||

    @Kreel Sarloo - "As usual, the libertarian position requires a lot more explanation."

    Conservatives say they're for the Constitution, that is unless they don't like how you live.

    Liberals say they're for the Constitution, that is unless they don't like how much you make.

    Libertarians say keep what you earn, live how you like.

    It seems to me like the other guys need to provide more explanation on their positions than do we libertarians.

  • lunchstealer||

    Is that pic supposed to be the "Invisible Bong Hit" LOLBama?

  • guy in the back row||

    It seems to me like the other guys need to provide more explanation on their positions than do we libertarians.

    Most people give about 5 minutes of thought to political philosophy per year. But they sure as hell know what is right and wrong (and liberal and conservative), just like their mamas told them.

  • ||

    freeforall232, there is a complication in the libertarian formula you give: the meaning of "earn."

    Seems to me farmers, miners, factory workers, and so on actually earn a lot more than they get to keep. Investment managers, college presidents, corporate CEOs, and so on get to keep a lot more than they actually earn.

  • robc||

    college presidents, corporate CEOs

    Ignoring state colleges (which brings in another issue), these guys get exactly the salary they negotiate from their boss, just like miners and factory workers.

    Investment managers and farmers probably can be categorized together too.

  • Paul||

    The live audience laughed and applauded



    You mean the carefully handpicked audience laughed and applauded...

  • Warty||

    Investment managers, college presidents, corporate CEOs, and so on get to keep a lot more than they actually earn.

    Jesus Ass-fucking Christ. Shut the fuck up, college.

  • AB390||

    Californians: If you favor legalization of marijuana, tell your legislators to support California Assembly Bill 390. This bill would legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults over 21.

    It's easy to e-mail your legislators. Visit yes390.org

  • Combaticus||

    By legalizing it you let go of the objectivist viewpoint that people have a right to do with their bodies as they see fit as long as they don't harm someone else (think self-exploding terrorist bomber)

    But we DON'T have a right to do with our bodies as we see fit. If the government restricts me from (that is, punishes me for) doing certain things with my body (selling my organs, selling sex) then it's not really mine, is it? And yeah, the gubmint sure isn't going to let that go.

  • Max D.||

    Why is it that politicians' opposition to drugs and prostitution seems to be a sort of religion?

  • ||

    Californians: If you favor legalization of marijuana, tell your legislators to support California Assembly Bill 390. This bill would legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults over 21.

    It's easy to e-mail your legislators. Visit yes390.org


    I agree with everything except for the tax part. Why should one product be taxed higher than another? The government should not be micromanaging via tax policy. I know that's not very realistic. But, $50 per ounce for something that sells for as low as $25 on the normal (hehe) market? Who is the drug dealer now?

  • ||

    If the tAxman takes from the noble proletariat and gives it to those evil CEOs in the form of political distortions of the free market, then why do they still think they need government to properly distribute their income for them?

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    Conservatives say they're for the Constitution, that is unless they don't like how you live.

    Liberals say they're for the Constitution, that is unless they don't like how much you make.



    But only because they care so much.

    See, you just don't care that someone doesn't live the right way.

    How can you be so blind to their suffering?

    Heartless bastard.

    See, now Axman, he really cares. No letting anyone make their own choices there.

  • Gorgeous Gus the Wonder Dog||

    "Investment managers, college presidents, corporate CEOs, and so on get to keep a lot more than they actually earn."

    Idiot.

  • SpongePaul||

    Bakersfield Medical Marijuana Dispensary Latest to Be Raided despite Policy Change
    Fri, May 08, 2009 5:38 pm
    more: headline news, medical news, medical marijuana, drug policy news
    Source: www.examiner.com



    The disjointed laws related to marijuana use and distribution continue to defy explanation in light of the latest raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in Bakersfield, Calif. this week.


    According to a report in on Salem-News.com, Kern County' Sheriff lead a raid, with Drug Enforcement Agency support of Green Cross Compassionate Medical Marijuana Co-operative in Bakersfield. DEA officials said they merely served as back-ups to the local police during the raid.


    This is not the first time DEA agents have raided medical marijuana establishments since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the new federal policy would be to end such raids.


    The situation is so confusing that a California judge delayed sentencing in a medical marijuana case seeking direction from the U.S. Attorney General's office. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano condemned the previous raid in San Francisco, calling it continued harassment. Ammiano has authored legislation to legalize and tax marijuana in California.


    Despite the policy change, the Bakersfield raid suggest on the ground law enforcement activities are continuing uninterrupted.

  • frt||

    "Seems to me farmers, miners, factory workers"

    Farmers? Do you know what a subsidy is?

  • ||

    Why is it that politicians' opposition to drugs and prostitution seems to be a sort of religion?



    To snatch the low-hanging fruit, because were it legal, credit card records would be way too easy to trace back to the politicians' consumption.

  • MNG||

    Look, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. No major political force is advocating legalization right now, but in the battles over drugs that are in play right now he has been on the right side more often than not.

    The goal is to push the envelope until legalization becomes in play. A good first step would be for all of you so-called right leaning libertarians to get off your asses and help Gary Johnson become the nominee for the GOP.

  • Nipple Slip||

    "Farmers? Do you know what a subsidy is?"

    Of course not. They don't teach that in high school.

  • Nipple Slip||

    "battles over drugs that are in play right now he has been on the right side more often than not." [citation needed]

  • MNG||

    Well, his declard intention of ending the medical MJ raids for one, and his proposal to end the crack-powder disparities, both of which were reported on here at Reason recently. During the campaign he also talked of the disparate effects the more hardcore aspects of the WOD were having on black communities...

  • ||

    I agree with everything except for the tax part. Why should one product be taxed higher than another? The government should not be micromanaging via tax policy. I know that's not very realistic. But, $50 per ounce for something that sells for as low as $25 on the normal (hehe) market? Who is the drug dealer now?

    In order to win, you have to play by the rules of the game.
    Alcohol - excise tax, argument is only about levels.
    Tobacco - excise tax, argument is only about levels.
    Marijuana - the one exception that we libertarians are gonna push through?

    Reality sucks, but it remains reality. Make it legal, then start arguing about tax rates. I'd be happy as hell to pay $50 an ounce in tax compared to the smuggler markup ($180 an ounce for decent reefer?) I would have to pay today if I actually smoked marijuana. ;-)

  • ||

    "Investment managers, college presidents, corporate CEOs, and so on get to keep a lot more than they actually earn."

    Idiot.


    It's idiotic to point out that some of the highest paid people in the country are such not because of hard work or competence but because they have manipulated the system, that is, subverted the entire notion of supply and demand by getting friendly boards to reward their uselessness? Why is it that you can worship the supposedly self-correcting, self-enhancing market machine but then defend any and all means of acquiring wealth, even if they make a mockery of those mechanisms?

  • Warty||

    i>then defend any and all means of acquiring wealth, even if they make a mockery of those mechanisms?

    There are only two ways to do that.

    1: Steal
    2: Govern

    See how many of us like those things.

  • ||

    Well, his declard intention of ending the medical MJ raids for one, and his proposal to end the crack-powder disparities, both of which were reported on here at Reason recently.

    C'mon, MNG, stop with the press releases already. We've seen just how worthless the press release on medical marijuana raids was. Press releases aren't action; they are a substitute for action, the opiate of the masses, how the useful idiots are kept useful and idiotic.

    He is doing nothing, nothing at all, to scale back the WOD.

  • Craig||

    The president has done some good things in office, most notably giving word to the Drug Enforcement Administration that it is no longer to conduct raids on medical marijuana clubs in states they are legal. Though there still have been a couple of raids during the transition period, the new policy presents a marked change from the past.

    I think you're being much too generous in your appraisal of Obama's drug policies and actions. A more cynical observer (like me) would view the medical marijuana raid in California (where the Administration claimed a flimsy loophole of alleged state sales tax violations as making the operation illegal under state law) as not an exception during a "transition period", but as a direct jack-booted response to the fact that the question of legalization came up so often in the online questions.

    Just in case his joking dismissal of what is rapidly becoming a majority position in this country wasn't enough to placate elderly voters and the Establishment, he sent in the federal troops (the most accurate term) to shut down a dispensary that was legal in the state it was operating in, and he did it the same week, despite earlier assurance that he would not. (And no, federal troops are not normally involved in state sales tax investigations.)

    Do you really think it was a coincidence?

  • ||

    Tony started dreaming about what Warty looked like. Did he look like the new Captain Kirk? Did he look like Telly Savalas? Or was he a hairy wrinkled monkey creature, as warped physically as he was mentally?

    That final thought sent a strange thrill through Tony's body. It disturbed yet excited him. He realized, abruptly, that it would be dangerous for him to go to the zoo any time soon.

  • MNG||

    RC
    Have we seen that? Count the number of federal raids during his administration and compare them to the same number during the same period under other administrations. Notice how the press release, or announcement of policy change, is being used (according to the commenter above) by a judge to hold up proceedings. These things do matter.

  • MNG||

    "a hairy wrinkled monkey creature"

    Hehe, I don't know why exactly, but that was funny.

    Monkey.

  • ||

    Yet countless federal agencies still require either marijuana-free pasts or (more likely) skilled lying about it.

    Not true. Prior use does not disqualify you from most employments nor from obtaining security clearances. You sign affidavits that you no longer/won't use (and can expect more random testing). Lying on application WILL get you fired and might get you prosecuted.

  • Warty||

    Epi, I look a lot less wrinkled now since my face transplant.

  • ||

    So Warty, are you John Travolta or Nick Cage?

  • ||

    There are only two ways to do that.

    1: Steal
    2: Govern


    Libertarianism must be true because it's so simple!

  • ||

    RC sez Press releases aren't action; they are a substitute for action, the opiate of the masses, how the useful idiots are kept useful and idiotic.

    Saw a great bumper sticker on that point this weekend:

    Mass Media Breeds Ignorance

    And they all had a wonderful evening at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

  • Warty||

    So Warty, are you John Travolta or Nick Cage?

    NOOOOOOO NOT THE BEES!!!!!!!

  • ||

    NOOOOOOO NOT THE BEES!!!!!!!

    I refuse to watch that. I own the original, and I refuse to sully it with that shit.

  • Warty||

    Dude, take some pills and watch it sometime. It starts to get really good around the time that Nick Cage puts on a bear suit and starts punching chicks in the face.

  • ||

    Have we seen that? Count the number of federal raids during his administration and compare them to the same number during the same period under other administrations.

    How many have there been so far? What's the average for previous administrations?

    You're the one claiming an improvement; put up some data to support your claim. All I know is, he and his ethically inert AG said one thing, and something else seems to be happening.

  • ||

    It starts to get really good around the time that Nick Cage puts on a bear suit and starts punching chicks in the face.

    Ok, that admittedly sounds pretty good. Ever see LaBute's In the Company of Men? You could cut the misogyny with a knife. So I'm not surprised he has Cage beating chicks up.

  • ||

    I'll get you started, MNG:

    As of January 22:

    By one count, the DEA has raided more than 60 medical marijuana facilities nationwide during the past two years, including a July raid in Seattle in which agents seized hundreds of patient files.

    Call it an average of 2.5 per month.

    How many have been raided under the Obama administration?

  • ||

    The Man not.

    Obama No Longer Supports Needle Exchange Programs That Reduce AIDS
    Posted in Chronicle Blog by Scott Morgan on Thu, 05/07/2009 - 7:42pm

    On the campaign trail, Obama made clear statements in support of needle exchange as a proven means of reducing transmission of AIDS and other diseases among drug users. Once in office, the President reiterated his commitment to ending the federal blockade against these life-saving programs:

    The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users.

    That language appeared on the President's own website, until it was ominously removed a couple weeks ago. Today, the President's Budget (pg. 795) formally announces Obama's decision to continue the federal needle exchange ban:

    "Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds appropriated in this Act shall be used to carry out any program of distributing sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug.

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/

  • ||

    I think libertymike is an AI. Sorry to whoever designed it, but it still can't pass the Turing Test. Nice effort though!

  • ||

    That language appeared on the President's own website, until it was ominously removed a couple weeks ago. Today, the President's Budget (pg. 795) formally announces Obama's decision to continue the federal needle exchange ban:

    "Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds appropriated in this Act shall be used to carry out any program of distributing sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug.

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/


    Thanks John Galt (I do hope you're not some fundie objectivist). From the link you so graciously provided -

    With that one sentence, Obama blatantly violates an important campaign promise and chooses politics over science with thousands of lives on the line. It's just disgraceful, and if he thought no one would notice, he was wrong.



    Face it blue team. Obama thinks you're fucking stupid.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    Epsiarch: I won't watch it either, at least the whole movie. But I promise you will not regret this (there is very little to connect it to the original anyway):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6i2WRreARo

  • ||

    Lee, I didn't realize that LaBute remade it as a comedy. Because that shit was hilarious.

  • ||

    It was March 26, 2009, when Barack Obama conducted a live town hall press conference and openly mocked the idea that marijuana should be legalized.

    Do you think a lot of people under 30 even know about this? I, for one, do not think they do! Along those lines, what do you guys think of the lyrics to this song I'm working on:

    An old man shakes his fist at the youth,
    wants to bite the problem but has no tooth

    That's it so far, lemme know what ya think!

  • Kindle||

    "That's it so far, lemme know what ya think!"

    Don't give up your day job.

  • ∃ SET S | ∀ X ∈ S, AGE(X) < 30||

    Do you think a lot of people under 30 even know about this? I, for one, do not think they do!



    If it's not available in tedious small-screen video format between at least two different sizes of blinking ads, and if I can't make comments that would insult the integrity and vocabulary of Michael Moore, then I don't want to see it.

    I dont know how to live but Ive got a lot of toys,
    My daddys a lazy middle class intellectual,
    My mommys on valium, so ineffectual,
    Aint life a mystery?

    I cant explain it, the things theyre saying to me,
    Its going yayayayayayaya, oh yeah,

  • Federale||

    LOL, Potnazi says no drugs for you. Serves you right for voting for a commie. Is your brain so adled by pot that you actually thought he would legalize it. And, no, there is no valid scientifically valid use for marijuana. And, no, it does not treat brain tumors.

  • MJ||

    As Obama is now intent on catching the elusive health care "reform" keep in mind that soon everything you put in or otherwise do to your body will be of interest to the federal government. As recreational pot smoking is arguably harmful to your health, it should not be allowed. "We" will be paying for your health care, understand?

  • ||

    Are Obama supporters blind? These politicians laugh about smoking a plant but at the same time refuse to do away with laws that will imprison you in a dark cell for many years if YOU do so. ..........................................................................................A two party system is why America is becoming a fascist police state. Because there is not a third party in the debates and/or the Congress that refutes the steaming bullshit that dems and the gop grovel out. Vote Libertarian. A wasted vote is voting for someone you dont believe in! A wasted vote is for someone who has no principles. A wasted vote is for someone who is running for office, and not running for duty. A wasted vote is voting for someone who says one thing and does another. A wasted vote is for someone who panders to everyone. When was the last time a politician said to a constituent- NO! I disagree with you, i believe in- this. Vote Libertarian

  • Ian ||

    A facebook friend was having a contest to name her new bubbler and people would comment with their suggestion. Someone suggested Obama,and she said, "not until he fully legalizes, which he wont because he's a politician." So people can make a distinction between empty talk of decriminalization and real liberty.

  • ||

    "I told you...Dave's not here, man!"

  • Matt D.||

    Wow! Obama doesn't approve of legalizing pot and he's not progressive? That seems a little harsh. It's not like potheads vote anyway. They can talk all day about voting, but I would bet fortunes that real pot smokers don't do a damn thing. But then again, the only smokers who are most likely complaining about pot being illegal are the ones too damn lazy to make a phone call to acquire a bag.

  • ||

    I also don't like the idea of government being in the business of dispensing marijuana and taxing it. I say to end the ear on drugs, and make it so marijuana is no longer illegal. Beyond that, every individual state gets to decide what to do with marijuana...even if a state (perhaps Utah) wants to make it illegal. That is the right of states under the tenth amendment. I really don't want the Feds bureaucratizing the hell out of weed. Imagine new "stoned and driving" laws cropping up where police are taking roadside blood tests. Forget it. I recently changed my party affiliation to Libertarian, so to hell though with the Feds.

  • ||

    I really hope Matt D. was a troll...

    Tony, you seem to have very little grasp on what a free market mechanism is. If you acquire money (or property) from a person willingly giving it to you, and their property was acquired justly, then your acquisition was also just. So just because you have friends on a board somewhere doesn't make the money you receive any less just. The only unjust acquisition of property can occur when either it is done illegally, or it is done with the use of government. Or, to put it more concisely as Warty did, Steal or Govern.

    The whole pot debate is stupid. You should be able to do whatever you want to yourself. Thats it. I don't want to have to repeat the same simple fucking arguments 10,000 times as if I'm spewing some great revelation. I want to smoke a blunt, go to sleep, and wake up with pot legalized. Can we make this happen?

  • ||

    Definitely saw this coming. Empty talk and lots of it

    @ Matt D. Yes the stoners do vote, however I wished that some of them would set aside a few hours of sobriety to reflect on their choices prior to voting. The voting booth is not the ideal place to indulge.

    But honestly, there are advantages to the completely unregulated marketplace, no ID, no limits on purchasing, highly competive marketplace with low barriers to entry, etc. I am all for legalizing, but taxation and regulation???? I would cool with a sales tax, but the usurous amounts they are proposing are only reasonable if the price is propped up by criminialization

  • Mark||

    How any libertarian could trust the feds to legalize weed is beyond me at this point. The only brand of legalization I can realistically imagine is one in which stoners would prefer the good ol' days when it was illegal, fairly cheap, and easy to get (ie today) . Let's face it, the country isn't going back to the way it was in 1904, 10 years before it was prohibited. Libertarians take it for granted the feds can be taken at face value when it comes to the term 'legalization'. They can't.

  • ||

    Obama needs moderate support to get programs for healthcare, energy, and education through the Congress. If he blows all his political capital on reefer and gays, he's dead in the water and a one-term president. What would you do?

  • ||

    The minute Obama even suggests about legalization that would be the only thing discussed. He could do nothing for healthcare, energy, education, stopping the wars. It would suck all of the oxygen out of the room. This is an issue that while should be discussed and I agree in legalization, will have to wait. That is going to take a lot of ground work and we don't have the time to do it at the present.

  • ||

    Matt Welch says: "There's little doubt about the broad mores of Generation Obama: pro-choice, pro-gay, and pro-legalization."

    While you are correct about the last two, I think you are way, way, way off about the "pro-choice" part.

    I teach (philosophy) at a Midwestern State university and feel I have a finger on what the "kids" are thinking. At least here in middle America, this generation of students can see no reason for the law to discriminate against pot smokers or gays. However they seem to see little reason why the law should not protect fetuses. They tend to view laws restricting abortion through the lense of extending equal treatment to fetuses rather through the lens of restricting the freedom of women.

    Least that is how it seems to me in my little part of the world.

  • ||

    Tony said: "It's idiotic to point out that some of the highest paid people in the country are such not because of hard work or competence but because they have manipulated the system, that is, subverted the entire notion of supply and demand by getting friendly boards to reward their uselessness? Why is it that you can worship the supposedly self-correcting, self-enhancing market machine but then defend any and all means of acquiring wealth, even if they make a mockery of those mechanisms?"

    What mechanisms do you speak of? Are you talking about the fed who lends and prints money for free (or darn near free)? Are you speaking of government-sponsored entities that buy worthless papers from banks thus shifting risk away from self-correcting market? Are you speaking of the rating agencies who gave these papers their stamp of approval? Where were the auditors who examined these items, i.e. the SEC requires financial statements? Where was Sarbanes-Oxley (which is a complete waste of money)?

    The point is that markets really are not free to do their jobs.

  • ||

    "The minute Obama even suggests about legalization that would be the only thing discussed. He could do nothing for healthcare, energy, education, stopping the wars. It would suck all of the oxygen out of the room. This is an issue that while should be discussed and I agree in legalization, will have to wait. That is going to take a lot of ground work and we don't have the time to do it at the present."

    Now that you put it that way, Brandon, it seems like now would be a great time to have the discussion about legalizing marijuana. The only ideas I have heard about healthcare, energy, and education amount to throwing good money after bad. Healthcare..yes, we can insure 50,000,000 and spend less money. Cap and trade...this will only add $50 per houshold (Henry Waxman). Of course, the CBO estimated that it would be $80 billion a year. I didn't know we had 1.6 billion households in the US. Education...we already out spend the rest of the world by a huge amount, so let's spend more and cowtow to the union who make us drop programs we know work, but are do not make use of teachers from the teacher's union.

    Let's have that discussion. Now would someone plase pass me a joint!

  • Citizen Deux||

    For the record, i am opposed to the wholesale decriminalizatio of marijuana. I would be interested in seeing a proposed method for doing this in a controlled manner.

    Some questions

    1) How would this course of action be resolved with present issues regarding smoking of tobacco?

    2) Who will regulate this drug?

    3) How would you suggest it be distributed?

    4) What structure would you recommend for dealing with addiction?

    5) What standard for potency / purity would you recommend?

    It always sounds so simple to simply "let it be taxed" as if that is the simpple answer. There are similar complications for legalized prostitution (Rhode Island, Neveda) and other vice related activities. I have not seen this reality addressed anywhere.

  • ||

    Citizen Deux, without answering question by question, we sell cigarettes just about everywhere, alcohol in liquor or state stores, and pot in coffee shop (Amsterdam). In each place, there are varying levels of potency. We aren't reinventing the wheel. And let's no go overboard, this is more like alcohol than prostitution. So we do have models already. And I think a large number of people would just learn how to grow their own.

  • ||

    Mr Welch, with all due respect, how can a libertarian speak on behalf of the entire under-30 generation? Most of us are generous, compassionate and committed to human rights for everyone. In short, the antithesis of everything libertarianism stands for.

  • ||

    "Mr Welch, with all due respect, how can a libertarian speak on behalf of the entire under-30 generation? Most of us are generous, compassionate and committed to human rights for everyone. In short, the antithesis of everything libertarianism stands for."

    Are you saying one can't stand for individual freedom and be generous, compassionate, and in favor of the rights of human beings?

  • ||

    Smoking pot is not a crime.
    Therefor the law is wrong.

    It's that simple.

  • Peder Valentine||

    I am glad to see the President removing federal emphasis on medical marijuana. It is a step in the right direction. The new face of the marijuana user is the contributing citizen of America. The old stereotype is broken and gone, my book (www.chronicbook.com) is only one story that shows successful people using marijuana. Keep up the fight everyone, united we stand!!

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