This is especially important because the Obama administration could have given Republicans the perfect opportunity to signal an ideological re-emphasis. The White House is surprisingly uncool when it comes to toking up: A Reuters piece that Charles C. W. Cooke noted on the Corner last week reports that the victories are largely symbolic. Ken Sabet, former assistant to Obama’s drug czar, said that state leaders “are facing an uphill battle with implementing this, in the face of . . . presidential opposition and in the face of federal enforcement opposition.” In other words, the Obama administration cares more about maintaining the concentration of federal power than preventing thousands of bored college students from getting arrested for doing exactly what the president did when he was a bored college student.
For the GOP, this is more than just an opening; it’s a magical messaging moment, which, to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, conservatives shouldn’t let go to waste. “This is a classic example of where they can walk the walk,” says Tim Lynch of the Cato Institute. This isn’t really a drug-legalization issue; it’s a states’ rights issue and a limited-powers issue. All conservatives have to agree on is that the federal government might have better things to do with its freshly printed money than try to enforce a nigh-unenforceable law that local voters and leaders think was a bad idea in the first place.
That’s how Clarence Thomas sees it, too.