It ain't Ethan Nadelmann as Drug Czar, but I'll take it.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich has been named chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee, giving him jurisdiction over the Drug Czar's office. Oversight of ONDCP was previously conducted by the non-defunct Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources Subcommittee, chaired by rabid drug warrior Mark Souder.
In short, the responsibility of overseeing ONDCP has effectively been transferred from Congress' most reckless drug warrior to its most outspoken drug policy reformer.
Kucinich's agenda remains unknown at this point, but it's clear that he sought this particular appointment deliberately. From GovExec.com:
As the [National Security] panel's presumed chairman in the Democratic-led 110th Congress, he had a ready platform to advance his antiwar agenda.
But Kucinich said in a brief interview that he might wield more influence as chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, which will have jurisdiction over all domestic issues and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
If Drug Czar John Walters is now wondering what's in store for him, he might begin by reading what Kucinich has to say about the war on drugs:
I have studied the issue for decades and recognize that our "War on Drugs" has failed. In fact, because our War on Drugs drives up the price, it encourages violence. Prohibition simply doesn't work. It only creates thousands and thousands of Al Capones. Prison should be for people who hurt other people, not themselves. We don't jail people for merely drinking. We jail people when they drink and drive or hurt another human.
The supporters of the drug war have only one solution to this debacle -- more money for law enforcement, more people, more power, more prisons -- with no end in sight. Of course, these happy drug warriors who justify their living hunting down drug users come on TV and promise us that they see light at the end of the tunnel. They promised us a drug-free America by 1995, and instead we see new and more exotic drugs constantly being added to the mix.
The shredding of our rights to privacy and property promoted by the Drug War is inconsistent with a free society. Criminalization of private or self-destructive behavior is not acceptable in a free nation.
The racism evident in the Drug War, and the clearly preferential treatment for offenders with connections, undermine our concept of a just society. Draconian prison sentences that dwarf those for violent crimes, like murder and rape, destroy respect for our laws.
It is time for an honest dialogue on this issue. Time to stop the documented lies, half-truths, and propaganda that got us into this mess in the first place. It is time to face the facts.
With due caution, I must say this is a great day for reform. That the man who spoke these words could even be considered for such a position is a tremendously positive sign. Dennis Kucinich is on our side. He showed up at an SSDP awards dinner for starters.
Stay tuned. This is going to be interesting to say the least.