I was extremely amused by this column in the New York Post today. Apparently, Dick Morris seems to believe that George W. Bush can revive his political fortunes by putting "the drug war front and center," and doing the following:
Demand drug testing in schools with parental consent, and tax incentives for workplace drug testing. Link cocaine to terrorism, and build a national consensus for tough measures to cut demand.
Right, we know that drug testing is highly effective (at producing embarrassment, at least -- the research shows it doesn't cut drug use in schools or at work). However, administration friend Robert DuPont does run a company involved in workplace testing, so maybe throwing him some more money will help.
And cocaine. Um, does anyone take cocaine any more? The numbers actually show that almost as many people take it as take methamphetamine, but crack just doesn't scare the middle class anymore.
The hot media scare drugs are now methamphetamine and Oxycontin. Unfortunately, for Morris' proposal, Oxycontin is made by big pharma, whom some would call terrorists, but probably not this administration. Methamphetamine is made either in the good old U.S.A. in sinks and bathtubs or in Mexico, which doesn't exactly have a big Al Quaida presence. Good luck making that link!
Finally, although in the past, it was quite easy to scream "drug" and have everyone get distracted and drop everything including their pants and their civil liberties, I don't think Bush will find it especially easy to build the national consensus Morris wants these days.
Attorney general Ashcroft was widely ridiculed for his emphasis on fighting bongs, not bombs when he cracked down on drug paraphernalia merchants after 9/11. And the Superbowl ads that linked teen drug users to terrorists didn't do much better.
I'm afraid you can't use fear to sell more than one war at a time, and Bush is stuck with the war he's got.
Two announcements for those interested in tough teen programs:
I will be speaking at noon on Thursday, April 20 at a luncheon at the Cato Foundation in Washington, DC. Also speaking is the amazing Evan Wright, a writer for Rolling Stone, author of Generation Kill, and most relevant to this event, a survivor of a tough-love program called The Seed. He'll tell his personal story and we'll both discuss how drug war propaganda both feeds and is fed by these programs and kids and families are harmed as a result. The event is free and includes lunch, so you must pre-register here.
Then, moving from right to left, on Friday, April 21, I will be speaking at a rally for justice for Martin Lee Anderson in Tallahassee, Florida at the state capitol. I will post the exact time when I know it. Anderson, of course, is the fourteen-year-old boy who died following a beating by guards in a Florida boot camp in January. Senator Barack Obama, Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and T-Boz from TLC are the confirmed headline speakers.