George Soros may be determined to defeat George W. Bush, but one of the political groups he funds plans to welcome Republican delegates to New York next week. The Drug Policy Alliance is running an ad in The New York Sun aimed at convincing Republican delegates that opposition to the war on drugs is a respectable position on the right. The ad quotes Milton Friedman, Bill Buckley, Grover Norquist, George Shultz, Gary Johnson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who is by no means a full-fledged antiprohibitionist but has come out in favor of medical access to marijuana).
Unfortunately, that nearly exhausts the list of prominent Republicans who have criticized the war on drugs (although the DPA might have mentioned Ron Paul, the only consistent antiprohibitionist in Congress). While Democrats who hold office are not any better, I suspect the delegates in Boston were more receptive to the Drug Policy Alliance's message than the Republicans in New York will be. As DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann concedes, his group's membership tilts decidedly toward "the progressive end of the spectrum," to the extent that "a few people…were a little weirded out that we were making this kind of pitch and welcoming the Republicans."
That discomfort is one reason gestures like this are important. Leftish critics of the drug war who know the history of alcohol prohibition should recognize that support from seemingly unlikely allies will be crucial in achieving serious reform.