Halfway-Sensible Rand Paul Statement Earns Tepid Praise From Your Wonkette
It's a well-known fact that this blogis so mean to Rand Paul, all the time, mostly because we feel no obligation to be particularly fair or even-handed to anyone, especially when they are constantly hilarious, as Rand Paul is. Still, every once in a while your editor feels a contrarian urge to keep out of a full-on pile-on. Is it possible that not everything Rand Paul says is wholly wrongheaded? Today's news would seem to indicate that the answer is yes! Naturally, since Rand Paul is a known bong evangelist, this strange turn of events involves drugs. (And don't worry, he does turn out to be horribly wrong at the end of it.)
We have heard, from other kids, that a lot of people in Kentucky use pot and meth recreationally. Rand Paul apparently said a couple of days ago that drug abuse was "not a real pressing issue," which caused a predictable freakout, and when pressed later to say something about drugs that a serious person would say, he responded thusly:
"I personally think we've been trying the government solution, and maybe there are some good aspects to it. But we're still failing, and we're not getting rid of the drug problem," Paul said.
Paul says reinvesting money in the local economy will help ease the unemployment, which he says leads to more drug use.
Holy crap, did Rand Paul just imply that drug abuse is correlated with poverty, and maybe we should address the root economic causes of the problem rather than just locking up drug addicts? What a fucking hippie!
Rand Paul's dad Ron has actually long been an advocate a different approach to drug policy, as this classic clip from the Morton Downey, Jr., Show, in which he calls a Reagan-era drug warrior fat, illustrates. But since Rand has always been all about jettisoning the vaguely interesting aspects of the Paul philosophy in favor of standard Republican positions, we are sort of impressed that he gave an answer to this question that did not contain the phrases "zero tolerance" or "1,000 more police officers" or whatever. Less encouraging is the word from the Washington Post's Greg Sargent that "I hear Dems are going to jump on this in order to depict Paul as fundamentally unserious on ... drug policy," which, sigh.
Anyway, let's find out what Rand Paul's ideas are for alleviating the poverty that has left much of rural Kentucky in a nonstop tweakfest:
"You want rich people because that's what creates jobs. If you punish people, they won't expand or create jobs," Paul said.
OK, yeah, he's still wrong. [WP]