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A Pragmatic President, and Innovative

......might lead to some surprising positions; might not

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 25, 2009.

I continue to be impressed with our President. He gave his second prime time press conference last night, carefully framed like a professional performer to one hour, and he gave long, informative answers to questions sometimes increasingly antagonistic. As President, he isn’t used to that in public, and his anger rose, and yet his answers made sense, and weren’t just flustered tantrums like some of Clinton’s or the younger Bush, who hid from the media, or the frozen rictus of ineptitude like Reagan. Barack Obama, who was initially presented with disasters beyond the pale and certainly beyond the experience of any President since FDR, continues to vibrate as smart, on top of things, and retaining a respect for the people. He talks to us as adults, devoid of focus group tested clichés. Almost as if he values our opinions and thoughts.

He also took questions from Stars and Stripes, Ebony Magazine, and the Mexican media, impressive and better than Bush taking questions from that gay escort and right wing flunky posturing as a journalist solely because he would lob softballs.

Obama also said stuff that we all know but you don’t get to hear addressed clearly and unemotionally on national television. He talked about the guns and money coming from this nation to supply the drug war south of the border. Mexico is nearly, and at severe risk of soon being, a Narco state. Stripping away the American media’s often idiotic hysteria over drugs, there is a huge danger beneath the Rio Grande. Over 7k people have been killed in the last few months within sight of the United States, and not a few killed in this nation directly related. Which is to say, considering our support of the Mexican government, we’d in danger of doing what we did in the 19th century Indian Wars. We’re equipping two armies to fight it out: one, the underdog Mexican police and military, and two, the cartels themselves. Both methods are allowed by one and the same government, the very accusation Major Reno made after surviving the Little Bighorn.

It would be interesting to speculate on what would happen if we now legalized marijuana and even cocaine. For one thing, more or less legal companies would take over and be subject to tax, which is good for the economy. Second, so doing it might well pull the rug out from under those who are terrorizing their nation and ours, and leave them without the wherewithal to continue, much like what happened when gas prices dropped last year. Russia and Venezuela, two nations almost totally dependent on oil for ready cash, became rather quiet after a year of bombast. Third, it might reduce violence and our prison population, which would also reduce expense. It would make the lives of the police easier and less tense. It might be a very good thing.

It might not, of course, but these are conversations that, like sex, the United States finds difficult to have because of its long hypocrisies and because of the institutions currently benefiting. Gun manufacturers and retailers, legal and not, do not want drug wars to calm down. I don’t suggest they want the United States to collapse, but they have to live with their profit and what provides it, and it should be talked about, because it’s costing us big time. It’s a right wing pit of hypocrisy.

But the Left has its own hypocrisies regarding legalizing drugs. In theory, lots of folks are for that but there’s been little sense it was going to happen so, like Congressmen, they could be for something and be petted for it without having to live with the consequences of having pot sold by 7-Eleven, if it’s reduced in potency, or by liquor stores or their like if not.

But my sense is that Barack Obama is perfectly willing to have these discussions and yearns to have them because he’s pragmatic. He knows that the income of Big Pharma will be cut under his, or anyone’s, comprehensive health plans, which can be positioned as hurting jobs. If he could offset it with the promise of the huge profit from legal and clean recreational pot he could, perhaps, more easily make it easy for entrenched entities to support it. He said nothing to suggest that was on the table last night, but it’s certainly something that could, in theory, work. The population at large might well respond to this if logically lain out for their consideration, with no Virtuecrats of the Right and Left demonizing the other. Barack Obama could make that case, if it ever is his case.

Because it makes no sense to spend billions each year to combat that which an actual majority of this nation does not consider morally wrong, or legally feasible.