Via RCP, don’t get excited. For one thing, The One insists flat out here that he opposes legalization. Beyond that, you should know by now that inviting a “debate” or, better yet, a “national conversation” about some topic is thinly veiled politi-speak for (a) acknowledging that a lot of people care about it and (b) signaling that you don’t want to do a thing about it. What was it Boehner said just yesterday about Social Security? Ah yes — that it’s time to have an “adult conversation” about it. To be fair, he’s a bit more earnest when he says that than Obama is here when talking about drugs, but clearly no one’s in any hurry to take the lead on any of these “conversations.”
You’ll have to watch to the end to see Obama mention punishments for first-time nonviolent offenders. The rest of his answer is consumed with reminding swing voters that, no indeed, he is not a fan of legal drugs — although, as with gay marriage, he once supported decriminalizing marijuana — and that we need to target both supply and demand to reduce usage. Frankly, I think Palin’s answer months ago was bolder. And speaking of politically poisonous hot-button issues, it looks like he’s going to go ahead with his big speech on gun control, huh? As I said a few days ago, I think that’s nutty, but if he and his new chief of staff really are planning a lurch towards the center before the election, I guess he has to shore up his leftist cred with meaningless gestures somehow.