When the Republican Party’s Presidential field takes the stage tonight in Florida for a debate to be broadcast live on the Fox News Channel, two of the GOP candidates will be on record as being for the legalization of marijuana. With the addition of former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson to the debate roster to stand alongside Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the chances of the drug war entering the discussion at some point are good.
The historic nature of this cannot be discounted. The drug war has never been a major issue in a Presidential Campaign – it’s never even been a minor issue. Yet it affects millions of people in this country and costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Throw in President Obama’s dismal approval rating among the cannabis community and you have the unheard of notion of marijuana users focusing on a GOP Presidential Debate to hear someone speak favorably of legalization.
The mainstream media continues to discount Dr. Paul despite his obvious support among GOP voters. And Fox News seems to be the only channel that will let Gary Johnson anywhere near a debate stage. Opponents of both candidates have – and will continue – to portray them as “fringe” and will likely highlight their position on the drug war as an example of their fringeness.
But being against The War on Drugs isn’t a “fringe” position by any means. Even the government’s own yearly statistics point out the glaring failure of our country’s drug policy. Conservatives as far back as the legendary William F. Buckley Jr. have seen the futility of the drug war.
Now Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have taken up the mantle of individual freedom; unfortunately the rest of the GOP field only supports freedom when it squares with their political beliefs. That’s not freedom, it’s just political expediency.