I’m no fan of David Brooks. A couple of days ago, I wrote, David Brooks Puts Profits over Prophets. But I don’t see why liberals are so upset about his Drug War apologia. Don’t misunderstand: I see what they are saying. David Brooks used to smoke pot, but he thinks it should remain illegal without the slightest recognition that the drug’s legal status had no effect on his life. He was white and upper middle class (at least). If he had been black and poor, the drug’s legal status might have destroyed his entire life. He doesn’t understand that. I get it.
Of course, David Brooks also doesn’t seem to get that simply being born black and poor would also destroy your whole life. Not a lot of poor black kids get to go to Grace Church School. David Brooks seriously needs to go to a Tim Wise seminar. But that’s what David Brooks does: not understanding that we live in an incredibly unjust country with an economic system seemingly designed to reward the worst of what we are. He’s an apologist for the rich. And the fact that he is well paid to work at the “newspaper of record” is all the indictment of our society that you need. We have a very sick culture.
But David Brooks isn’t the only clueless person around. Our last three presidents have all committed drug felonies. Two of those three were Democrats. Our most recent president was paid millions of dollars to write about how he not only smoked pot, but also did cocaine from time to time. None of these men seem to care that the lives of young people today are being destroyed by those very same laws that they managed to avoid getting applied to them.
I can hear the apologists calling foul right now. Yes, I understand. There is a reason. There is always a reason. Clinton was a draft dodger so he couldn’t actually be liberal when it came to drug “crime.” Bush was a conservative so what do you expect? Obama is black so obviously he can’t be liberal, except in as much as he is dragged along by popular opinion. And I haven’t seen a whole bunch talk about those cocaine laws that Obama occasionally broke.
We have a major problem with drug laws in this country. But David Brooks is not part of that problem. Did anyone expect him to come out in favor of drug legalization? Even David Frum still thinks that cannabis is a dangerous drug! And who cares what David Brooks thinks? I know some people do but they’re all idiots anyway. Our drug law problems come from our politicians—especially our “liberal” politicians. So complain all you want about David Brooks’ hypocrisy on our drug laws, but just remember: he is way at the back of a line that’s head is guarded by President Obama.
Sorry to keep rambling . . .
I’m no Obama fan. I actually rooted for Hillary in the primaries. Because she struck me as a total opportunist who would do whatever her base asked her to do. If they called for New Democrat bullshit (AKA, well to the right of Eisenhower/Nixon), she’d do it. If they called for tarring and feathering Jamie Dimon, she’d have done that, too. ("The President is unable to take your call right now, but she would like to thank you for your years of support. Also, please have all your relevant documents sorted and available to the men banging on your door.")
Whereas Obama is and always was a devout New Democrat believer. It’s not mere expedience for him; he buys into it. Bono, Bill Gates, and creative destruction will save the world.
That said; I’m quite happy with how the Obama administration is handling pot legalization in Colorado and Washington. Marijuana possession is still a federal crime. It’s on the books; it’s illegal. And the DOJ is not planning to enforce those laws in those two states. If McCain or Romney were president (especially Romney, good Lord), DEA agents would be swooping down on Colorado in droves now.
Obama should have stood for unions (as he promised he would, and didn’t.) He should have stood for a public-option health-care plan (as he promised he would, and didn’t.) Both/either of those stances would have energized the people who voted for him, and cost him nothing.
He never promised not to enforce federal drug laws if states legalized pot. As he is now (not) doing. And which, I predict, is going to spread like crazy once states get a gander at how much tax revenue there is to be gotten from selling pot. If it spreads fast enough, even a Republican executive branch in 2017 won’t be able to stop it.
Is this going to fix the stupidity of our drug laws and national inability to treat addiction as a medical and not criminal issue? Heavens, no. But it’s about the first decision by the Obama administration I’m really happy with. (Also, now that the damn filibuster is broken, we can start replacing eight Bush years of batshit-crazy federal judges everywhere, but that’s another rant.)
And, BTW, I don’t care for pot, myself. Or crack/cocaine. The only illegal drug I ever enjoyed mightily was LSD. Which you can’t get anymore. Fifteen years ago, the chem students at the Naval Academy made a pretty terrific version . . . wonder if their instructor was Lieutenant Walter White?
@JMF – I give him some credit. But just like with same sex marriage, Obama is running after popular opinion. If he hadn’t been so open about his use of cocaine, I would be more understanding. And regardless what the justice department’s position is, it is immediately reversed by President Cruz. Obama has never shown any interest in making real permanent reforms.
We live in a kind of proto-feudalism. And it doesn’t matter what our overlords do. And that means they don’t care what the laws are. Laws are for the little people.
The point of the article is that our last three presidents get a pass on this stuff and liberals get upset about David Brooks? It makes no sense.
"Obama has never shown any interest in making real permanent reforms." Of course he has! He wants, deep down in his New Democrat soul, to reform Social Security and Medicare. By gutting them. He’s having about as much luck on that front as Bush did in Term 2.
I suppose I should salute the guy for saying he doesn’t hate gay people. But neither did Cheney.
Let us praise presidential chickenshits. It was probably pure spinelessness that forced Nixon to accept the Clean Water Act and the establishment of the EPA. Who cares; those were good things. It’s probably pure spinelessness that makes the Obama administration scared of fucking with Colorado and Washington. Who cares; that’s a good thing.
For once, I’m more optimistic than you. I think even a president Cruz or Jindal won’t dare touch the hundreds of millions of dollars legalization states are raking in of tax revenue. It’ll be like state lottery tickets, an unstoppable force.
Yup, libs SHOULD be chastising Obama, not Brooks. But they have their popularity to consider, I suppose. And that brings up an interesting question. If you’re, say, Taibbi, and you get a ton of readers, does your slamming of Brooks or Friedman do some good? More so than a Hedges that slams Obama and has far fewer readers as a consequence? (If I send Taibbi links to friends/family, they read the articles. If I send Hedges links, they don’t.)
I like both. Is Hedges ideologically closer to what I believe? Sure. Is Taibbi a bit of a wimp by comparison? Sure. But I’m not a purist in these matters. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
One does have to draw lines in the sand of how much wimpitude one will take. I agree totally that MSNBC crossed that line by firing Bashir (hell, A&E had bigger balls with the faux-redneck.)