Dominic Holden is agonizing over the Biden VP pick, as are other drug law reformers. I don’t think drug law reform was even a passing consideration to Obama when it came to selecting a VP, so I don’t see his pick of Biden as an endorsement of his truly horrific record. And even though I think that Obama understands the drug war much better than he lets on, I doubt he even considered how bad it looks that he just picked a VP who is possibly more to blame than any other American for the devastation that the drug war has brought upon African American communities.
But Dominic makes the one point at the end that I find to be mildly reassuring:
Obama cannot alter drug laws on his own—he’s lived a youth of indiscretions. (Realistically, no politician can make any sweeping changes; it must be incremental.) But if anyone has the credibility at the federal level to say we were wrong, to push the Senate for sentencing reform, to back Barney Frank’s bill in the House to decriminalize pot—nobody is more more capable than Joe Biden. And if he does, this could be an excellent four years.
I hope he’s right. It helps to remember that Franklin Roosevelt ran against prohibition in the 1932 election, after being its proponent for a long time. Politicians will always shift in the wind. It just takes enough of us to start blowing in the opposite direction from how its been blowing for the past four decades. And it would help if he had a good conversation with his colleague from Virginia, who understands the need for drug law reform better than anyone in that body.