Saturday, December 22, 2007

Emulating Huckabee?

Chris Suellentrop quotes, with apparent approval, a blogger who believes that the Democratic candidates should emulate Mike Huckabee's rhetoric:
What are the nuances I’m talking about? For one thing, as far as I know he never uses Reagan-type racist code terms like, “state’s rights”, which is code for keeping black people from voting, or “welfare queen,” which is another, racially loaded term.
Okay... so which Democrats are imitating Reagan in their use of such terms? Shouldn't this admonition in fact be directed to the other Republican nominees?
In fact I believe he is on record as saying that the major problem of the American prison system is that it is filled with people who are drug addicts, not criminals, and that instead of prison they should be in rehab. Since the majority of prisoners in American jails are persons of color, this statement is profoundly un-racist.
Where is the evidence that this message resonates with the American public? That is to say, out of the mouths of a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, or out of the mouth of Huckabee as a Republican nominee, what about it will resonate as a good idea as opposed to evidence that the speaker is "soft on crime"?

In fact, outside of a minority who recognize it as a disaster, is there any significant movement to reconsider the policies behind the "War on Drugs"? While it would be an improvement if public opinion shifted toward a more balanced approach, with addiction treated as a public health issue and a focus on the demand side of the "War on Drugs" as opposed to a continuation of failed policies directed at supply, I suspect that at present, rhetoric directed against the "War on Drugs" will hurt candidates in either party. Promises to provide funding for rehab as an alternative to jail will likely inspire to questions: "With what money," and "Why is that your priority, when there are so many other people in need?"

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