Drug War

President Obama Is Now to the Right of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels on Marijuana Policy

Daniels says Obama should respect states' rights.


"Without endorsing what they [Colorado and Washington] did, I think they had, under our system, a right to do it," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a "serious" conservative whom many Republicans in Washington urged to run for president in 2012, told National Review's Betsy Woodruff:

I talked to Governor Mitch Daniels about this issue about a week ago at a Buckley event at Yale, and he had some interesting thoughts. "I hope that people will be consistent," he told me, referring to conservatives who support states' rights. "I believe that federalism is, first and foremost, a protection of liberty. And I would just hope that people who say they believe that would be consistent."

He continued to say that regardless of his personal opinion on decriminalization, states should be able to make their own choices on the issue.

"Without endorsing what they [Colorado and Washington] did, I think they had, under our system, a right to do it," he said. "A lot of the worst problems we've got in this country, and some of the worst divisions we have, came when the right of citizens in community and in polities, like their state, had those rights usurped by the federal government. And having disagreed with it when it happened on other occasions, I sure wouldn't call for it here."

Daniels appears to be coming full circle on this issue. As Jacob Sullum wrote last year, Daniels was caught in 1970 with enough marijuana and LSD to be put away for at least a few years under today's mandatory minimum laws. Then in 1989, he came out in favor of ruinous penalties for minor possession. 

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  1. Didn’t Daniels just, in the not too distant past, sign a bill criminalizing more drugs in the state, including Kratom, the leaf of some tree, which is likely more harmless than weed? Rumor also has it that he is a huge crony for big pharmaceutical companies.

    I don’t trust this guy at all.

    1. I think he did, but it’s still consistent with what he is quoted saying here. I’m sure he also thinks that states have the right/power to criminalize whatever drugs they choose as well.

    2. Kratom is good stuff. It’s a better stimulant than caffeine.

  2. Then in 1989, he came out in favor of ruinous penalties for minor possession.

    Perfect politician.

    1. Yes, he would be talking a completely different line if his team was in the captains seat right now. But since team blue is up there, he’s all about state rights. Sure, we are soooo convinced.

  3. Speaking of Obama and his views…

    The plucky Syrian rebels he supports have a child (he looks to be around to 12) behead an unarmed prisoner and post the video as graphic death porn on Youtube.

    Yea, Arab Spring?

    1. That was sick. I hope he was already dead.

    2. Well, since Alex Jones said it, it must be true.

      Not that any of this will matter when the mayan prophecy comes true and our wills are subsumed by the greys/masonic immanentizing of the eschaton via chemtrails.

      1. Are you saying the video is a hoax? Because that kid looked prepubescent to me.

  4. “To the right”?

    Not how I think of the right versus the left.

    1. At this point, thinking of the right versus the left is pointless. The terms have lost all meaning and are just teams which most assume to coincide with Democrats and Republicans.

      Left once meant liberal which once meant “let people do what they want to, within reasonable bounds”.

  5. President Obama Is Now to the Right of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels on Marijuana Policy

    So a 10th Amendment argument is “to the left”?
    Fire Riggs, please.

  6. This ‘to the right of/to the left of’ leaves me a bit perplexed. By my modern take on the Democratic party (particularly), wouldn’t we say that Obama is “still further to the left” of Mitch Daniels?

    There is absolutly nothing about the modern Democratic party that is “permissive”, if we insist on believing that “left = permissive” and “right = restrictive”.

    Sorry, I don’t see the spectrum this way anymore.

    The lefter-er you get, the more a tyrant you are. This is also arguably true for the right as well, but no one seems to harbor any illusions about them. But this illusion that lefties are all live-and-let live and “hey man, it’s your body your choice, man” is so long fucking gone that to even entertain it is to be utterly blind to the modern state of things.

    1. Paul is 100% right. The fiction that TEAM BLUE has sold–that they are somehow for civil liberties as opposed to TEAM RED–is fucking laughable and needs to stop being promulgated in any form. Both TEAMs are statist, anti-liberty fascists to the core. Any assertion otherwise should be laughed at derisively.

      1. They accomplished this illusion by stealing the term Liberal and applying it to themselves. The only real social liberals today are Libertarians.

    2. +1. This.

    3. There is absolutly nothing about the modern Democratic party that is “permissive”,

      Oh, c’mon, the Dems are definitely more permissive on abortion.

      Not to mention, umm, well, OK, that’s probably about it.

      1. But isn’t abortion the only thing that matters?

        1. “Free” abortion is the only thing that matters.

      2. Abortion stopped being a matter of choice for them. It is a rite that demands subsidy.

        1. Exactly. Being a pro choice type (with limits), I hate to be even remotely associated with Democrats.

    4. I have always believed that left = state control of all resources(and people are resources too), centralized decision making, collectivism vs. right = free markets and individualism, decentralized decision making.

      1. I agree with you on left, but I’ve always seen right as meaning more traditional values and national greatness than caring particularly about freedom. In most of the world, these things have nothing to do with free markets and individualism. In the US it does to some extent, but we seem to be losing that tradition.

        1. Remember the terms “left” and “right” come from political divisions among people who were already in government. Two sides of the coin of the state.

    5. We need a Venn diagram of statists and anti-statists. Then little set circles showing the overlap they have with the political parties. Would both be entirely in the statist circle or would some barely visible smidgen fall in the anti-statist circle?

      1. The GOP are a little better on economic freedom, so they are somewhat outside of the circle on one side. Also, they have a few Libertarians on their team, even though they don’t want them. The Dems are the damn statist circle.

        1. Maybe a little sliver for the GOP, then. Really small, like I have to look closely to see it.

          The Dems are totally absorbed, like people who formerly opposed Landru.

          1. Why do you persist in the fantasy that TEAM RED is slightly better? Because they say they are? Are you that gullible? Look at their actions. They are a carbon copy of TEAM BLUE, they just have different targets for their cronyism.

            The government exists to empower scumbags and redistribute stolen money in ways that get scumbags re-elected. Their words are meaningless; only actions matter.

            1. Well, I think it’s worth something that some quasi-libertarians have been elected by GOP voters. Not much, but something.

              I’m not sure saying that they are 99.5% subsumed within the statist circle is a compliment.

            2. Sen and Rep (for a few more days) Paul are part of Team Red, hence it is slightly better.

              1. “Slightly better” is utterly meaningless. Who gives a shit if TEAM RED–which the Pauls are only really nominally part of since they get frozen out of things, like, uh, primaries–is infinitesimally better? The difference is so small as to be meaningless. Seriously, what is the point of saying TEAM RED is microscopically better? Does it make you feel good or something? I don’t get it.

                1. You’re marginally better than pond scum, yet you are constantly telling everyone about that incidental superiority.

                  Besides, you’re just upset because my Venn diagram was made with deep-dish pizza.


                    1. Not with the shit you eat, no.

                    2. The shit you eat isn’t pizza, it’s an open-faced calzone.

                    3. At least you can make Venn diagrams of it.

                    4. What happened? Why is there corn on that pizza?

                    5. IT’S NOT PIZZA.

                    6. Yeah, yeah, I think you’re right.

                    7. What the hell was that? Cuz it sure as hell wasn’t pizza.

                    8. It was the best result from googling “pizza venn diagram”.

                2. So, let me see if I get this straight, because I really am curious. TEAM RED actually sees freedom as at least a rhetorical value. TEAM BLUE sees it as something actively to be opposed in language and action. TEAM RED has at least a minority element (Pauls, Johnson, Amash, etc.) actively pushing for more freedom – not a critical mass, but an element. While TEAM BLUE has no such element. Yet, somehow we’re supposed to pretend that the two are the same? If you don’t mind my asking (and I don’t mean this as an insult) did you have the same skepticism toward the liberaltarian notion?

            3. Do you think that team blue would allow a Libertarian on their team, ever? And there is the pesky fact that no Libertarian even thinks there would be a future to getting on that team.

              GOP is better on taxes.

              I rest my case.

              1. Hyperion is right Epi is wrong. GOP is statist but they just aren’t as total. People like Rand Paul slip through the cracks. The Donks have become Borgian.

              2. I would say the Republicans are slightly better only because libertarians and quasi-libertarians like the Pauls and Amash at least have a shot at getting elected on the GOP ticket, whereas they have none on the Democratic ticket.

                At the same time, I think a lot of people here have a double standard when it comes to differences on issues. On economic freedom, for example, many here will say “Yeah, the Republicans aren’t very good and they’re really inconsistent, but they’re still better than the Democrats.” But if someone suggests there’s another issue where the Democrats are a little better, these same posters will say “No way! Democrats don’t care about that, they suck, look at examples X, Y, and Z!” even if the person they’re responding to never made the claim that the Democrats were good on that issue. Marijuana is a good example. Sure the Democrats suck, but the fact is most of the cosponsers of the bill in Congress to leave WA and CO alone are Democrats, and polling (including exit polls in WA, OR, and CO) shows that liberals in general are more open to legalizing drugs than conservatives. Another example would be civil liberties; again, the Democrats as a whole are bad on this issue, but most of the people who have voted against laws like the Patriot Act and NDAA are/were Democrats. Again, I’m not saying the Democrats are good on really anything or that they’re better overall than the GOP, just that a lot of people here have a double standard

                1. Well said, Calidissident. A lot of people seem to forget that while the parties do suck as a whole, they are still made up of individuals, some of whom, on both sides, do occasionally vote for good things.
                  I think people also forget that national level politics is not everything. Democrats are all in for the drugwar in Washington, but it is true that they do tend to dominate in states where drug law liberalization is happening, for example.

              3. That anarchist guy in NH got elected as a democrat.

            4. When Don Ernsberger studied it in the 1990s, yes, what is now called Team Red in Congress was clearly better than what is now called Team Blue. It wasn’t even close, and that surprised him. Libertarians have this prejudice that says not a dime’s worth of dif, but when you study the votes, the dif is definitely there. No dif on social issues, though.

              1. Robert, this is exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve given you concrete examples of social issues and civil liberties where Democrats, while still bad, tend to be better than Republicans. Do you have a link to Ernsberger’s study? The disagreements between the two are all around the edges – how much are we going to increase spending, will the marginal rate be 35% or 40%, will we add X number of regulations or 2X, etc. Bush and the Republicans controlled the government and spending skyrocketed, regulation increased, new entitlements were added, etc. And neither party will do anything about the Fed. Again, I’m not saying there’s no difference, or that the GOP doesn’t tend to be a little better on economic issues, but the difference are marginal and the two sides agree on the vast majority of what the federal government does

                1. The best pizza I can remember having recently was at a place in the Wabash Valley run by what looked like an old Italian guy. The place seemed like a tight ship, and had the hottest waitresses out of all the restaurants in the area. THE PIZZA WAS NOT DEEP DISH.

          2. They have that Folsom Street Festival out in San Fran.

  7. Better headline:

    President Obama is Now a Bigger Jackbooted Asshole Than Republican Governor Mitch Daniels.

  8. I believe Daniels is next in line to be president of Purdue University.

    A poor decision by my alma mater in my opinion.

    1. Is it just me or does Daniels look a bit like Ben Gazzara in that picture?

      1. That photo looks like a vidcap from a Denny’s commercial.

    2. Hey, that’s my alma mater too! What do you think of the new football coach selection? And how bad of a basketball season do you think Purdue is going to have?

  9. Hey, would anyone be able to put me in touch with Daniels? I need some Indiana hookups. Thanks.

    1. Can’t you just go to the airport and tap some feet under toilet stalls on your own?

      1. Not everyone can be like you, NutraSweet.

        1. I go out of my to avoid using public bathrooms. I urinate on escalators as God intended.

          1. You go out of your what? Your adult diapers?

            1. I aim well. What little doesn’t make it into your mouth doesn’t do much damage to the escalators.

              1. Treat me like the whore I am!

      2. People don’t buy drugs at airports anymore.

        But seriously, Indiana is a key state, being central to all the big festivals.

  10. I am a progressive and former libertarian and Obama’s marijuana policies have been one of my biggest disappointments with the man. Daniels and Obama are two huge former ?) tokers. At least Daniels is finally shaking off his hypocrisy on the subject.

    1. You’re a progressive and that makes you a statist.

    2. A libertarian transitions into a progressive? How?

      1. A libertarian transitions into a progressive? How?

        His girlfriend?

        1. You should not have to sell your soul for pussy. Renting it out for a while I can understand.

    3. You make me ashamed to live in the general area of Spokane

      1. An episode of Cops I saw would have made me ashamed to live in Spokane if I had lived there. I thought I was watching another Fort Lauderdale episode before they said ‘Spokane’.

  11. I think the headline is backwards, at least, historically.

    He’s drifting further right of Obama.

  12. The USA is broke, and getting broker at the rate of $148,000,000 per hour. More people are going on Social Security Disability and “Food Stamps” than are getting jobs. Labor force participation is at historic lows. There’s a trillion dollars of student loan debt at risk of not being repaid. The President meddles covertly in more foreign wars. We must depend on lunatic religious dictators for much of our petroleum supplies but aren’t allowed to drill for oil or build a pipeline to transport it. We subsidize inevitably failing green energy lunacies.

    And so on.

    And what do libertarians do? Start a full court press against (wait for it) anti-marijuana laws.

    You’re missing some important points.

    1. Oh, right. I forgot that it is only possible to care about one issue at a time. Silly me. Now the important question is how to prioritize the things you listed. Because obviously it would be stupid to put effort into the second most important thing on the list until the first most important thing is completely solved.

      1. Sometimes you can do that and sometimes you can’t. The difference between the two situations is that sometimes all your allies on issue one are your opponents on issue two. That’s when you have to sequence linearly. When you have a substantial overlap on allies on both issues, you can sometimes get away with doing them in parallel. If you mistake one situation for the other you actually hold back progress on both issues.

    2. Where the fuck is shrike when you need him?


    3. I must have missed where Reason didn’t have articles about all of those things. Because it did.

      1. Reason has lots of articles, but writing and reading them not the same as Libertarians actually doing anything. Suffering butthurt about Ron Paul is not doing something. You don’t want to work for vote for the lesser of two evils do you? Great. You get the greater of two evils.

        1. So basically you’re just whining that Reason and libertarians didn’t suck enough TEAM RED cock during election season? I think you’re also making the mistaken assumption that the marijuana legalization efforts were solely due to the effort of libertarians, or that libertarians didn’t tangibly support other causes

          1. I’m observing that Libertarians have accomplished tangibly, precisely: nothing of consequence.

            1. The Republican party is a circus between what happened with libertarians, paternalist conservatives, and ordinary entitled statist senior citizens. So Romney got nominated, and precisely nothing else of consequence happened.

              1. Because increasing your control over state houses has no consequences. Go to Michigan and try to peddle that line.

            2. And the GOP?

              And how exactly are a small group like libertarians supposed to dominate the American political system at the moment?

              1. A small group like the Libertarians can’t dominate the American political system at this or any other moment. They could have some influence if they would dismount their ideological high-horse and work with groups with similar general goals. The so-called tea partiers, for example. (I know, I know, crazy Jesus Freaks, social conservatives who want to stop us having fun with our weewees, old-people cooties and stuff…. Never gonna happen).

                1. When you say work with the tea partiers, what exactly do you mean? There has been a libertarian contingent at Tea Party protests, but those kinda quieted down after the 2010 midterms. Reason and libertarians in general have always been supportive of limiting spending and taxes, reducing the debt, etc which the tea party supposedly stands for. The few libertarian Republicans in the Congress have been among the fiercest opponents of growing government. What exactly do you want libertarians to do?

                  Also, does this only go one way? Do only libertarians get called out for supposedly focusing on other issues? Self-identified Tea Partiers overwhelmingly voted for Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich over Paul, despite the fact that Paul was by far the best candidate on the economic and fiscal issues they supposedly value the most. Do they deserve to be blamed for prioritizing other issues?

                  1. Paul, Gingrich, and Santorum had absolutely zero chance of winning. Romney had none of the negative history that the rest had.

                    When I say “work with the tea partiers” I mean “get together with them to pick and work for electable candidates closer to your beliefs than those the Democrats run”.

                    Do you think Ron Paul would have done better in the voting than Romney did?

    4. It is the “politics of the possible”!

    5. Reading your further comments, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that Team Red would be substantially different on the issues you raised. They aren’t, which explains libertarians rejection of Team Red.

      1. The impression I have is that Libertarians have no chance by themselves to influence anything. There is zero chance to much of anything besides pushing the Republicans in a libertarian direction. Anything else is just playing at politics.

        1. It seems to me that principled Republicans have zero chance to change anything by themselves as well. How long will you let your party lie to you and fail to perform before you stop giving it your support?

  13. So who comes up with all that craz stuff?

  14. Republicans seem angry that libertarians don’t automatically accrue to their vote column. Maybe instead of demanding fealty, the Republicans should change their platform to attract the people that they currently hate, like libertarians.

    Or if that sounds crazy, maybe the Republicans who say they care so much about fiscal sanity and freedom should stop being Republicans, and join with the Libertarians. It doesn’t seem likely at this point that the GOP is ever going to listen to you.

    1. A commentator named Mitch Berg once said that political parties reflect the will of those who show up. It would make sense to show up with the least-worst party that actually, you know, gets people elected in noticeable numbers, and work with it. Same for the tea party faction.

  15. Leader of a state endorses more autonomy for states. Got it.

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