This Just In: Barack Obama Wasn't Actually Secretly Planning to End the Drug War

Another campaign illusion shatters.


As my colleague Mike Riggs reported last night, the Obama administration is pondering ways to undermine the pot legalization laws that voters in Colorado and Washington state passed last month. Over at The Huffington Post, Radley Balko responds with a roundup of Obama boosters who assured us during the campaign that the president would back away from the drug war after he'd been safely reelected. Here's Lawrence O'Donnell in April, for example:

Although President Obama thinks it's entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether our drug laws are doing more harm than good, he has absolutely no intention of having that discussion in the United States until after he is reelected to a second term. With exactly 204 days remaining until the election, that makes possibly ending the war on drugs the 204th reason to vote for President Obama on November 6th.

That may or may not have worked as a get-out-the-vote drive, but as a prediction it looks like it was exactly backwards. Obama wasn't waiting for his second term to bring up an issue that's too hot for the voters. The voters themselves have shoved the issue onto the agenda, and second-term Obama is looking for ways to shove it back.