Marijuana legalization is likely to be an issue in the 2016 presidential elections candidates in both party's primaries will use to differentiate themselves from each other. And Joe Biden, who recently said he couldn't see any "obvious" reason he shouldn't run for president, wants potential voters to know he's an old school tough on crime Democrat. Via Time:
In the Senate, Biden was on the forefront of the Democratic Party's war on crime, authoring or co-sponsoring legislation that created the federal "drug czar" and mandatory minimum sentencing for marijuana and the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine.
"I am not only the guy who did the crime bill and the drug czar, but I'm also the guy who spent years when I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee and chairman of [the Senate Foreign Relations Committee] trying to change drug policy relative to cocaine, for example, crack and powder," Biden says.
Biden told Time the White House's marijuana policy is "still not legalization" while paying lip service to the idea that the federal government shouldn't focus on busting marijuana smokers. No shit, Mr. Vice President, and politicians from both parties who think coming out against something that the federal government isn't doing anyway in some way dampens their full-throttled support for a federally-funded and mandated drug war that destroys thousands of lives and families every year over essentially non-violent, consensual behavior.
That crime bill that makes Joe Biden so great committed $10 billion in federal spending on prisons and $13 billion on local cops. As a senator, Biden also pushed bills escalating the war on ecstasy and other club drugs, expanding asset-forfeiture laws, and making the drug war more awful in any way he could imagine. We should be thankful, I guess, that he doesn't seem a particularly imaginative person.
On the drug war, as in foreign policy, where former Defense Secretary Bob Gates went so far as to say Biden had never been right in 25 years, the vice president represents some of the very worst the Democratic party has to offer, mixing stupid policies with shallow intentions. And while the idea that he could win his party's nomination seems laughable, especially running against someone with Hillary Clinton's name recognition, no vice president interested in his party's nomination for president has been denied it since Alben Barkley, Harry Truman's vice president, in 1952. He was 74 at the time. His campaign ended at the national convention in Chicago when a statement from several labor union leaders came out and said what everyone was thinking: that he was too old. Biden turns 74 next year, but it's not his old age that ought to disqualify him as a candidate but his old and tired thinking. Will any Democrat come out and say it?