Barack Obama

Emanuel to Republican Drug Warriors: 'Thanks for the White Flag'

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In today's column, I noted that Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), Barack Obama's choice for chief of staff, has a history as a hard-line drug warrior. Here is another example of his tougher-than-thou rhetoric, from a 2006 press release "in response to reports that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez' [sic] called the war on terror a real war, not like the war on drugs":

Thanks for the white flag. From the United States' most senior law enforcement official, the man who should be leading the war on drugs, this white flag of surrender will not be reassuring to the millions of parents trying to protect their kids. 

The excuse for Emanuel's attempt to position himself to the right of the Bush administration on drug policy is not just lame but alarming. The statement by Gonzales to which he refers was made during an interview with The Kansas City Star in which the attorney general defended the administration's unilateral, indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. Here's an excerpt from the Star article, which I found on Nexis (italics added):

[Gonzales] said that "just like in every other war," the American people will have to trust the government to protect the rights of those in custody while pursuing justice in secret. Pressed on how long extraordinary measures—for instance, the imprisonment of suspects without the filing of charges—might continue, he said they would last at least until the pursuit of al-Qaida and its accomplices has come to an end.

"First of all this is a real war," he said, drawing a distinction between the war on terror and "the war on drugs or the war on poverty or something like that. It's like the Cold War. At some point this conflict is going to be over. But today it is not over."

Instead of challenging the Bush administration's use of war rhetoric to justify chucking habeas corpus, due process, and the separation of powers, Emanuel faulted it for waging the war on drugs with insufficient enthusiasm. Not only does this not bode well for drug policy in the Obama administration; it further undermines the next president's claim to be better than Bush on civil liberties in general.

NEXT: Could We Use a Man Like Herbert Hoover Again?

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  1. I wish joe were in country so he could explain how the choice of Emanuel was just a necessary political expedient and not an indicator of Obama’s true believes.

  2. Now that’s change we can believe in! And hope, too! CHANGE AND HOPE! Good thing we punished the Republicans for being so bad.

  3. His viewpoints are terribly centrist, but I don’t think he was hired for his viewpoints. His job is to make Obama’s viewpoints happen, congress be damned. Obama’s viewpoints on drug policy remain opaque. I’m not particularly hopeful, but at the same time, it can’t be worse than the republicans.

  4. Love the admition that the War on Drugs and Poverty have no end.

  5. Thanks, MH, for stepping in for joe. 🙂

  6. You can’t take Emanuel’s comments to mean anything. He will say anything to put Republicans at a disadvantage. He spun so many tales defending Clinton, can anyone believe a word that comes out of his mouth?

  7. Yeah, where is joe? We’ve had an anti-Obamarama without our favorite Walter Duranty stand-in.

  8. I wish joe were in country so he could explain how the choice of Emanuel was just a necessary political expedient and not an indicator of Obama’s true believes.

    joe went on vacation just so he could avoid these types of questions!

  9. And this surprises us all how exactly?

  10. When Joe goes on vacation Weigel seems to appear to take his place.

    Was that mean of me?

  11. This is Ari Gold’s brother we are talking about. There is no telling if he’s being honest.

  12. I doubt Emmanuel has any real convictions or positions.

  13. The excuse for Emanuel’s attempt to position himself to the right of the Bush administration on drug policy is not just lame but alarming.

    You actually thought this leaking anus had principles?

  14. Didn’t joe say he was going to Mexico?
    Maybe he’s searching for DONEROOOOOO!
    (Suddenly the song Poncho and Lefty comes to mind.)

  15. Hope! Change! Change! Hope!

    Let’s make bets on when the Obamaites realize they’ve been had. I call “never”.

  16. Not only does this not bode well for drug policy in the Obama administration; it further undermines his claim to be better than Bush on civil liberties in general.

    Now you tell us.

  17. I’m not particularly hopeful, but at the same time, it can’t be worse than the republicans.

    Do you detect any falloff during the last Democratic administration?

  18. “Not only does this not bode well for drug policy in the Obama administration; it further undermines his claim to be better than Bush on civil liberties in general.”

    I think the Reason staff is the only group of people gullible enough to believe that claim. I guarantee you people like Joe, if they were honest, didn’t believe. They just didn’t care and wanted their guys back in power. But I think the Reason staff might have actually believed it. It is kind of sad really.

  19. Okay, I get it. Rahm Emmanuel is goddamn busybody asshole who should go fuck himself.

  20. Livin’ on the Web my friend,
    Was gonna leave you smart and keen.
    Now you argue like a wuss
    To tax the rich and gasoline.

    You weren’t the bloggers’ only troll
    But their favorite one, it seems.
    TallDave cried when you said goodbye
    And left behind your schemes.

  21. John,
    We weren’t presented with a great field of options. But no, I don’t everyone on the reason staff drank the Obama kool-aid. Just Weigel, and Chapman. Though Chapman isn’t on the staff, and gets a pass since he’s a little “special”.

  22. CN,
    Who is that addressed to?

  23. To Republican fanboys, Weigel=the entire Reason staff.

  24. I know people have complained about it before, but why does everything have to be “war on…(drugs, poverty, terrorism, crime, teen sex, cancer, that weird crud you get in your refrigerator)?

  25. just riffin’ on my joe/Dondero, Pancho and Lefty musing, e.

    You not a Willy and Merle fan?

  26. clearly Sullum beleived it or he wouldn’t have written that sentence. It is more than just Weigel.

  27. this white flag of surrender will not be reassuring to the millions of parents trying to protect their kids.

    I hate that fucking guy.

  28. CN,

    Does Joe end up meeting his end in the desserts down in Mexico or growing old in Clevland?

  29. Let’s make bets on when the Obamaites realize they’ve been had. I call “never”.

    How can someone who doesn’t actually care about what their guy believes, but only cares that he wins, be “had”?

  30. He will say anything to put Republicans at a disadvantage.

    So he’s just the guy to put in charge of our new open and bi-partisan White House!

    Didn’t joe say he was going to Mexico?

    I really didn’t think joe would be the first guy to leave the country after the Ascension.

  31. economist | November 12, 2008, 2:02pm | #

    I know people have complained about it before, but why does everything have to be “war on…(drugs, poverty, terrorism, crime, teen sex, cancer, that weird crud you get in your refrigerator)?
    _______________________________________
    The words like war on …. and czar of…. is meant to scare without thought the general sheeple population into surrendering thier rights without question, because after all it is a war, and wars are fought to be won, not to be lost. They use the play on words and fears and try to sell it as fact. the sad truth of the matter is that the public for the most part assumes the goverment is fact and that they are doing what is right and in the best intrest of the people, when in fact it is just a corparate puppet at this point and a socialist/fascist one at that!

  32. Well, the next line would begin

    Eric was a neo-con…

    So you can figure it from there.

  33. How can someone who doesn’t actually care about what their guy believes, but only cares that he wins, be “had”?

    Good point.

  34. One can express disgust at these drug-warrior morons only so much.

  35. Come to think of it, why the use of the word “czar”? It would seem to have a fairly negative connotation.

  36. “Come to think of it, why the use of the word “czar”? It would seem to have a fairly negative connotation.”

    Not if you’re a politician who loves government power.

  37. REally the guy was just saying what a lot of nanny state types believe. That is that the “war on terror” was just a bullshit distraction from the things that matter. What matters to them is controling people’s lifestyles and making sure no one makes a bad choice.

    When the liberals screamed and moaned about civil liberties being violated to stop terror their bitch was not about the civil liberties. It was about violating those liberties for the wrong cause.

  38. Hm. Yes. Epi may have a point. I change my vote to, “when Obama strangles a puppy on TV”.

  39. Right. Obama considers appointing someone u don’t like as his chief of staff, so that must mean Obama is EVIL. THe election’s over people, so get over your McCain crush.

  40. You can’t take Emanuel’s comments to mean anything

    So, he’s a hypocritical asshole instead of a drug-warrior asshole?

    -jcr

  41. I think the Reason staff is the only group of people gullible enough to believe that claim.

    What, you don’t think some sizable proportion of the people who voted for him believed the claim?

    -jcr

  42. My wife and I keep ours under the bed in an old cigar box. We get it from the brown guy that mows the lawns in the neighborhood.

    But we really do need to get rid of those big time drug lords down town. It’s for the kids.

  43. get over your McCain crush.

    Look for Matt Welch’s new book, McCain: The Greatest Motherfucking Man Alive in bookstores everywhere this Christmas season.

  44. Okay. Obama is terrible. Our 8 years of progress and freedom are over. The keys to an executives policies are the policies of those they hire and not vice versa. Obama is single-handedly responsible for any and all declines in the stock market. Also: Marxism.

    Now I’m being Reasonable.

  45. I don’t think that’s what he’s saying. He’s saying the war on terror is really organized violence on both sides, while the war on poverty or on drugs is not. He’s not belittling the war on drugs, just acknowledging that it involves the use of force only to prevent action by persons, nor the war on poverty, which doesn’t involve violence by either the poor or their receipt of largesse.

  46. It’s hard to keep up with whether Reason is full of Republican shills with Iraq war hardons or Democratic bootlickers kowtowing to their Obamessiah.

  47. I can’t get it up anymore without a joint first, and even then my wife has to put the leather on.

  48. Right. Obama considers appointing someone u don’t like as his chief of staff, so that must mean Obama is EVIL. THe election’s over people, so get over your McCain crush.

    You may note that I have not been exactly forgiving of the Bush II administration. You may also note that I have been unsparing in my criticism of McCain and other GOP hopefuls. I’ve gone relatively easy on Obama because he lacks an extensive record and concretely defined policy positions.

    He can hide no longer and you can rest assured that every fuckup of his administration, starting with stocking his administration with donkey cum sucking drug warriors like Emmanuel and Biden, will be blasted.

  49. @zoltan-reason is full of Republican shills and irrelevant Barr supporters.

  50. “Right. Obama considers appointing someone you don’t like as his chief of staff, so that must mean that Obama is EVIL. The election is over people, so get over your McCain crush.”

    Rahm Emanuel sucks even though I voted for Obama. I think Emanuel is a personification of the things that just caused the GOP to fail miserably.

  51. Lies bolster every argument.

  52. zoltan,
    It’s a floor wax AND and dessert topping!

  53. @JSUBD-Did you ever go out and protest the war in Iraq? Did you ever stop to consider that the deregulation pushed by teh Bush administration might have bad consequences? Did you ever give a crap about anything besides taxes?

  54. Lamar, you slipped in between.. sorry…

  55. I hate the idea that Democrats are better than the Republicans on civil liberties. The only “civil liberty” they have over Republicans is abortion, other than that they’ve got nothing. At least in the political spectrum, liberals may be better than conservatives, citizen wise, but their politicians are not. As a matter of fact, if you look in broad terms, it is very hard to tell the parties apart. They both want bigger government, higher taxes, more spending, more war, less liberty yada yada etc you get the point. I wouldn’t get your hopes up about Obama, at the end f the day he will be just as bad as the rest…

  56. your all just sorry because your precious mccain lost the election and now your going to have to deal with a black man running things and picking cabinet members you don’t like well to bad. your ideals are not popular for a reason and its because they get us into messes like bush’s deregulatory regime. do you think we’d have this depression now if nobody had acted on their free market ideology?

  57. So long a police departments have a profit motive to confiscate the belongings of suspected drug users and dealers, there will be a war on drugs.

    I don’t believe there is a politician on either side of the aisle with the clout to undo the damage done by past courts in validating property confiscations without charges against, let alone convictions of, the people involved.

  58. see, c.o.
    That’s some REAL trollin’ from e.d.!
    Take a lesson.

  59. I hate the idea that Democrats are better than the Republicans on civil liberties. The only “civil liberty” they have over Republicans is abortion, other than that they’ve got nothing.

    They tend to do better than the GOP on rights of the accused, as well.

  60. Ele,

    I think a fine distinction could be drawn between the Democratic Party and people who consider themselves Democrats. Too many people conflate the two. Every Democrat I know has much more libertarian positions on civil rights than the Democratic Party espouses.

    Which makes perfect sense when you consider the portion of Democrats who only vote with the party for the simple fact they are “not Republicans.”

  61. @JSUBD-Did you ever go out and protest the war in Iraq?

    Only when I wanted an easy piece of ass. 😉 I have done things that are actually effective in opposing the idiotic war in Iraq, standing around and carrying signs with a bunch of ’60s refugees isn’t one of them.

    Did you ever stop to consider that the deregulation pushed by teh Bush administration might have bad consequences?

    I actually look at what regulations accomplish (usually counter-productive) before passing judgement on their relaxing. If you’d like to give a speecific example, we can talk about it intelligently. I expect I’ll wait in vain for that to happen.

    Did you ever give a crap about anything besides taxes?

    You are new around these parts, aren’t you?

  62. “I hate the idea that Democrats are better than the Republicans on civil liberties. The only “civil liberty” they have over Republicans is abortion, other than that they’ve got nothing.”

    Does allowing gambling and porn qualify as civil liberties?

  63. “JSUBD-Did you ever go out and protest the war in Iraq?”

    I imagine he may have protested against the Lions now and then.

  64. Yes, and those protests brought the Iraq War to a screeching halt.

    J sub D? Did you ever sacrifice a chicken while walking backwards around a sombrero filled with jelly beans to stop the Iraq War? Well, did you?

  65. J sub D? Did you ever sacrifice a chicken while walking backwards around a sombrero filled with jelly beans to stop the Iraq War? Well, did you?

    Only when I didn’t want to get laid.

  66. Does allowing gambling and porn qualify as civil liberties?

    Maybe. Was there something I missed in the Dem platform?

  67. I imagine he may have protested against the Lions now and then.

    We’re gonna make history this season. 0-16, baby!

  68. Eric Holder, Deputy AG appointed by Clinton wrote the Memo that floated the idea of renewed obsecenity prosecutions. IIRC

  69. MEMORANDUM FOR ALL UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

    FROM: Eric H. Holder, Jr.

    SUBJECT: Prosecutions Under the Federal Obscenity Statutes

    Link in name.

  70. Citizen, those were beautiful lyrics. I got a little tear. When joe comes back, I’m gonna let him win an argument. Out of kindness, I suppose.

  71. You (and the federales) got a big heart, M.L.

  72. Boston that was just the evil Bushitler administration getting started two and a half years befor getting elected.

    Look at MJ arrests during the Clinton administration for more freedom supporting Democrat data.

  73. J sub D,

    Only when I didn’t want to get laid.

    Your loss. Voodoo chicks are freaky in the sack. They do spit a lot of rum on you, so wear safety goggles.

  74. Haha I love that Alberto Gonzalez basically says that the War on Drugs is unwinnable and futile unintentionally…

  75. And last i heard JsubD, Holder was being considered for the AG position. Though, to be fair, i will wait and we what they actually do instead of auguring what will happen.

  76. That’s some REAL trollin’ from e.d.!

    fuck off. i’m not trolling or whatever you republican losers call it unless thats your term for having an intelligent opinion contrarily to the doctrine.

  77. @Elemenope

    Ah yes excellent point there.

    @Crow Eating Dumbass

    You may have me there as well although I am not so sure on those issues. As I mentioned in my post, there is a big difference between people who call themselves Democrats, and politicians who call themselves Democrats.

  78. e.d.,
    A M??se once bit my sister …

  79. Pepsi is a cure for E.D.

  80. fuck off. i’m not trolling or whatever you republican losers call it unless thats your term for having an intelligent opinion contrarily to the doctrine.

    This is NOT a Republican site, dumbass.

  81. “This is NOT a Republican site, dumbass.”

    And another one bites the dust..

  82. Wait a minute, it’s just Reinmoose doing some out-of-character trolling. I’m not sure why he made it so obvious by including his email address.

  83. Dare I point out that the issue at hand was not to get someone in office ‘better than Bush’ [that was never an option in this election cycle] but rather to get someone in office *less bad than the alternative*, which was accomplished. Even with the walking scumbag RE as Chief of Staff.

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  84. Emmanuel is awful on this. But let’s face it, Obama is better than McCain on the WoD. At least one is ok with medical mj. Baby steps, but he’s better than a hardened drug warrior like McCain.

  85. Reinmoose has an admirable sense of honor.

  86. One more reason to wonder if Emanuel isn’t a Likudite plant.

    If it looks like a sheep, talks like a sheep, but occasionally snarls like a wolf, one would be wise to start checking for zippers.

  87. i’m late to it, but the pancho and lefty rewrite was inspired

  88. Asharak –
    I was mocking the other troll
    I always include my email when trolling because I don’t want people to think I’m serious, nor do I want to incur the wrath of the thread monitors

  89. I always include my email when trolling because I don’t want people to think I’m serious, nor do I want to incur the wrath of the thread monitors

    Waitamimmit! They have cocksucking thread monitors here? I’d goddamn better start watching my fucking language.

  90. We’re all shocked.

    Next example of Change We Can Believe In??

  91. Do you detect any falloff during the last Democratic administration?

    Evil republican congress, J sub…

  92. Wow, Emmanuel sounds just like the soccer mom on my street who drags her kids to church and freaks out every time they’re one minute past curfew. Won’t somebody please think of the children?

    On a similar note, drug policy is just one of the Top 10 Things That Won’t “Change” Under Obama.

  93. What good is having all these powers to violate civil liberties if we only use them on foreign combatants and non-citizen terrorists?

  94. Do you detect any falloff during the last Democratic administration?

    Evil republican congress, J sub…

    Democrat executive controlling the DOJ. Nice try though.

  95. Everyone here except MaxHat knew the democrats would expand the drug war and be just as bad as the republicans…I expext MAXHAT to start to understand how things work in teh next couple years. we saw the same trend when clinton took over after Reagan/Bush.

    High Level Drug Corruption

  96. I hate the idea that Democrats are better than the Republicans on civil liberties. The only “civil liberty” they have over Republicans is abortion, other than that they’ve got nothing.

    It’s questionable whether abortion is a civil liberty. Drug use, prostitution, gambling, “romantic movies”, and anything else that does not directly harm others, I could classify as a civil liberty. But, abortion potentially involves reduction of rights for a third party…unless we want to consider that issue as settled. I don’t consider it settled, and I’m on the pro-abortion side. I may have missed a memo – I just checked my intra-office mail and found some time-sensitive stuff from two weeks ago…oops.

  97. Obama’s fetish for Rahm Emanuel was the deciding factor in me not supporting Obama. I find Emanuel so loathsome that I find his supporters equally loathsome.

  98. How truly disheartening to learn about this.

  99. Heehee.

    Just wait for the speech codes, ‘random’ IRS investigations, national health care, 180 degree reversal on 99% of the War on Terror, and the rest of the Democratic goodies.

    “Free minds” my ass.

    Idiots.

  100. I think that was Reinmoose spoofing CO. You can tell by the run-on sentences and improper punctuation.

  101. MIR,
    But, but, HOPE…CHANGE! Don’t these words mean anything to you? *sarcasm*

  102. I thought I felt them pulling at me, but then I realized it was just gas.

  103. “I’m not particularly hopeful, but at the same time, it can’t be worse than the republicans.”

    It’s also unlikely to be better. The Drug War is not a partisan issue. There are minorities in both major parties who oppose it for different reasons, but there are solid majorities in both for it. The Democrat’s basic philosophy that government should be responsible for the citizenry’s health does suggest that the Dem believe that the State has an interest in how you use and abuse your body.

  104. No one could have predicted this.

  105. My how the times do change! Why, just a few days ago all the liberaltarians here on HitNRun were telling me how an Obama victory would be a libertarian victory because it would end the drug war.

  106. “They can’t possibly be worse than the Republicans.”
    Never, EVER, say things can’t be worse. I believe it really is a jinx.

  107. This is worrying and upsetting. There is still hope — sorry — that Obama *himself* may have more enlightened views that this pit-bull he appointed. Speaking of which the more I hear about Emanuel the less and less I like.

    (Sigh.)

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