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Yesterday was a fascinating day for me. I wrote a little blog post earlier in the week in which I said President Obama should be fired for putting resources behind medical marijuana prosecutions in California. And then the Internet puked on my shoes. (See my post below for all of the fun.)

It seems some clarifications are in order.

Sorry I Confused Some of You

You can see from the many comments on this blog, and on the other Internet sites that linked to it, that people had very different interpretations of what I wrote. The people with good reading comprehension correctly understood my point: Jailing an American citizen for no reason other than political gain is a firing offense.

The people with bad reading comprehension, and the people who saw nothing but the confused summaries and tweets from those people, interpreted my argument as saying Romney is likely to be softer on drugs than Obama. And based on that misunderstanding, people concluded that my endorsement of Romney was the stupidest opinion in the galaxy. They'd be right if that had been my reasoning.

The fascinating thing here is that I believe the source of confusion is that people literally don't recognize objectivity when they see it. I got a lot of comments along the lines of "You say X is true and then in the same paragraph you say Y." What I actually said is "X is likely to be true, but here's an argument for Y." That's how objective people talk. They make a prediction and then explain why it might be wrong. That's the only way you know all sides have been considered. Partisans and non-thinkers say, "My prediction is 100% certain."

If I were to say the weather in California is good, but today it is cold and foggy, about 20% of readers would say, "Make up your mind! First you say the weather is good and then you say it is cold and foggy! You make no sense!"

Bad Analogy People


The people who aren't good with analogies waded in next, pointing out that President Obama killed U.S. citizens abroad because those citizens were part of a terrorist organization bent on the destruction of the United States. While that situation is worthy of discussion, it misses the central point of my post. There's a big difference between protecting the country and expecting some political gain from doing so versus jailing a small businessman in California for political gain while not even pretending it benefits the country. I expect my president to do some nasty stuff in my best interest. I don't expect him to do nasty stuff to citizens for no reason other than his own reelection interests. The latter is a firing offense.

The Law is the Law

The next thing that fascinated me is the number of people who said President Obama is obligated to pursue legal action against medical marijuana dispensaries in California because the law is the law and we can't have our leaders picking and choosing which ones they support.

To the people who hold that view, I wonder what country you have been living in. In the real world, legal resources are always limited, and leaders at every level of the legal system make choices every day about what is important enough to pursue and what is not.

As I write this, every police chief in every district is looking at his resources, looking at all the work his office is charged with doing, and deciding that something on the order of 50% of what the legal code asks him to do is simply impractical. So he focuses his resources on the 50% that are his highest priorities.

While the law is the law, the more important fact is that the budget is the budget. We elect our leaders to set priorities and act accordingly. The point of my post is that President Obama is using the country's limited resources to shut California dispensaries - possibly the country's lowest priority - for no reason other than political gain. In the process, he's putting a small businessman in jail for 10 years to life. That's a firing offense.

On my side of this debate is a Harvard-trained lawyer by the name of President Obama. During his first campaign for president he promised he wouldn't waste limited government resources pursuing medical marijuana cases. I'm not a Harvard-trained lawyer so I will take his word for it that a president can choose to ignore low-priority prosecutions without violating his oath.

The President Doesn't Personally Put People in Jail

Some commenters mocked me by arguing that the President doesn't control federal law enforcement at the granular level. You can't blame him for every decision made in the field. He's not personally slapping handcuffs on perps. True enough. But in the case of California dispensaries, he authorized the flip-flop in policy from ignoring the situation to going after them. Holding him innocent from the logical repercussions of his policy is like saying history should cut some slack for Pol Pot because he didn't personally kill anyone.

The Lesser Evil Argument

Supporters of President Obama argue that firing the President FOR ANY REASON means accepting a devastating alternative in a Romney presidency. While I applaud the complete dismissal of morality in the interest of practicality, let's take a minute to see if the practicality argument is so cut and dried.

My observation is that voters often - perhaps usually - don't get what they think they voted for. Nixon surprised everyone by getting cuddly with China. Bush Junior turned from isolationist to military adventurer. Obama went from weed-friendly to badass destroyer of state-approved dispensaries. Some fiscal conservatives have blown up the budget while some free-spending Democrats balanced it. If you think you can predict how a candidate will act in office, you might need a history lesson, or perhaps a booster shot of humility.

Now consider Mitt Romney, the most famous chameleon of all time. I submit that a hypothetical Romney presidency would be nearly impossible to predict with any accuracy. In each of his past leadership roles he has morphed into whatever the job required. During the primaries, his job required him to be far right. In the general election we see him drift toward the center, or as his advisor famously said, "Shake the Etch-a-Sketch." It would be naïve to assume Romney wouldn't shake it again once elected, given that even non-chameleon presidents do so.

Romney knows that the electorate is full of idiots and he needs to be a gigantic liar to win their votes. I totally get that. The funniest part is his budget plan that he promises to describe in detail after he gets elected. Dumb people see this as "He has an awesome fiscal plan!" Democrats see it as "He's a liar with no plan!" I see it as "You know I'm a brilliant and experienced turnaround guy. I know how to do this sort of thing. And if I give details now it just paints a target on my back. So chill."

In any event, Congress will be the ones who decide on the next budget. It will probably look similar no matter who gets elected. I don't believe, for example, that a Romney budget would overfund the military. Congress would moderate that, and Romney probably doesn't mean it anyway. Remember, his job today is to lie to get elected. His job once elected is quite different.

I also have no faith in my ability - or yours - to compare Obamacare (essentially a Romney plan) to how healthcare might change under a Romney administration. If you think you know the answer to that question, you're kidding yourself.

Some Democrats say the biggest risk in a Romney presidency involves Supreme Court nominees. But I think we saw after the unexpected opinion from Justice Roberts on the Obamacare ruling that the court has a built-in safety net against being too blatantly partisan and destroying its own credibility in the process.  I think the risk of a conservative-heavy Supreme Court ruining the country by adhering too slavishly (irony!) to the Constitution is low. You might not like some of their rulings, but they probably won't kill you. And if we are being objective, a court with too many lefties would have its own risks.

You're Endorsing Romney to Cut Your Rich Guy Taxes, Bastard!

Some folks suspect that I'm a weasel-bastard who is using the California dispensary issue as a smokescreen for bobbing to the right so I can save on taxes under a Romney administration. There's no defense against an accusation that I have secret motives, but let me describe the economics as I see them.

Over my career, my net worth has moved in lockstep with the overall economy. So whatever plan is good for the entire country is probably the one that helps me most, no matter what my tax rate is. And realistically, given a choice between taxing the rich, including myself, versus taxing people with no money, I don't see a choice. Even Romney knows we can't grow our way out of the problem. He's not an idiot; he's just a guy who needs idiots to vote for him.

So no, I don't see a scenario in which someday I am flying my diamond-encrusted helicopter over the rioting masses of starvation-crazed ex-middle-classers and thinking to myself that things worked out well for me. I don't see the option of living the good life at the expense of the 99%. That's not even a thing. I stopped working to satisfy my personal cravings years ago. Everything I produce and everything I earn these days is for the benefit of others. So I don't mind higher taxes on the rich if it makes sense for the country. With the exception of M.C. Hammer, the rich get richer no matter what the tax rates are. I'm afraid that won't change regardless of who gets elected.


Update:

Where's your evidence that President Obama is enforcing drug laws in California for political reasons alone?

What other reason is there? And remember that your answer has to account for the fact that President Obama has never bothered to explain his unexpected change of policy. Nor has anyone in his administration explained it.

I think it is fair to say President Obama didn't learn anything new about the dangers of medical marijuana in California that he didn't know before he got elected. If he did receive new information, he could simply point it out to defend his change of policy.

Californians voted to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries after considering all factors from freedom to health and safety to economics. Our prior governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed a law decriminalizing possession of small quantities of marijuana with a classic summary: "No one cares if you smoke a joint." (It's funnier when you imagine it in Arnold's accent.)

The medical marijuana dispensaries have now operated long enough that we can see their impact.  So far, it seems that dispensaries raise tax revenues, reduce crime in their neighborhoods, and help a lot of patients find relief. Dispensaries also keep their customers away from shady dealers who might offer more harmful drugs. The dispensaries probably have no appreciable impact on supply. Illegal marijuana is easy to obtain just about anywhere.

The trend toward full legalization of medical marijuana is accelerating all over the country for the same reasons that swayed Californians. I see no reason the trend will reverse. Does it make sense to send someone to jail for a crime that will likely become a non-crime during the jail term? What kind of leader devotes resources to that?

Have you ever met someone who smoked a lot of marijuana, as President Obama did when living in Hawaii, while simultaneously holding the view that the people who sold it to him should go to jail? I don't know the exact answer to my own question, but I'm guessing the number is near zero.

Now let me confuse the readers coming over from Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Gawker, Mediaite.com, and some of the other Low Information Voter sites. I'm going to display something called "objectivity." It involves discussing the odds that I might be wrong. It does not mean I just changed my mind. It means I'm attempting to consider all sides. Here goes. . .

There is some chance - I think a very small one - that President Obama has a non-political reason for cracking down on California's medical marijuana dispensaries, although I can't even imagine what reason a liberal  ex-stoner  with a budget problem might offer. If he chooses to tell the public his reasons, I will happily reassess my opinion. But keep in mind that one of my neighbors down south is about to go to jail for ten years to life because of President Obama's decision to devote limited Federal resources to prosecuting dispensaries. When a president doesn't offer reasons for jailing Americans, you have to call that a firing offense. (Saying he is following the law isn't a reason. Federal resources are limited and citizens expect their leaders to ignore low priorities.)

In summary, if President Obama is devoting limited federal resources to go after marijuana dispensaries for no reasons other than political gain, including, for example, attracting campaign funding, he should be fired. If he has a reason for jailing a small businessman, and he chooses not to share it, that too is a firing offense.

Why do you keep ignoring third-party candidates?

The best way to fire an incumbent president who is running for reelection is to vote for the only candidate with a realistic chance of beating him. If a voter switches from Obama to Romney it causes a two vote difference: one less vote to Obama and one more for Romney. Moving one vote from President Obama to a third party candidate is a one vote difference in the competition between President Obama and Romney.

And frankly it makes a stronger statement to endorse Romney since I disagree with most of his stated policies. It underlines the difference in importance between a true firing offense and policies you believe would be less desirable than the alternatives.

If my endorsement carried any weight whatsoever, I'd consider backing a third-party candidate. But no one will change opinions based on what I blog about. So I have the freedom to write whatever has the most entertainment value for me, with the hope you'll enjoy the show too.

You're crazy when you say a good reason to believe Romney won't be a disaster as president is that he's lying about what he would do in office.

I'm betting that a chameleon will stay a chameleon. That's his history. He adapts to whatever situation he's in. The alternative is to believe a candidate for President will do all the things he promises during the campaign. How has that worked out for you?

Update 2:


Single issue voting is stupid

I agree. One must always look at the big picture. That's why I'm glad O.J. Simpson got acquitted of criminal charges for allegedly murdering his ex-wife. He only had one bad day. You also have to consider his football records.

When Bill Clinton said, "It's the economy, stupid," I took that to mean the economy is just one issue among many. I don't know how else to interpret that.

I also think Nixon got a bum deal with that Watergate thing. That was just one mistake.

If President Obama decides to give our nuclear codes to Iran, let's agree to count that as one mistake that should be weighed against all of his good work. For example, there's the time he recycled, and the time he could have lied but didn't. So that's two good things versus one bad thing.

[sarcasm off]

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU???!!! OF COURSE ONE ISSUE VOTING MAKES SENSE IF THE ISSUE IS BIG ENOUGH!

I think we're all on the same page now. So let's focus on whether the one issue I raised in my offending blog post - that President Obama is effectively sending a guy to prison for no reason other than political gain - and see if that crosses the line for you. Do you want to live in a world where your President can incarcerate citizens for no reason beyond political gain?

Now you might say President Obama is just doing what the law requires when he puts resources behind closing marijuana dispensaries. I dismissed that argument above. (Summary: We expect our leaders to focus their limited resources on high priorities. To willfully do otherwise for political gain, and put people in jail in the process, has to be a firing offense in a free country.)

If you think the one issue I'm talking about is drug policies, and you believe both candidates will have similar policies, then of course that one issue should not sway your decision. But that isn't the one issue I'm focusing on.

My one issue involves President Obama jailing a citizen for naked political gain. You can argue whether my facts and assumptions are correct, but I don't think you can dismiss it as just one issue among many. Jailing a citizen for no reason other than political gain has to be a firing offense. I'd like to believe every citizen agrees on that point.




 
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Oct 22, 2012
@Dwigt

[I'm fine with the reason you give for not voting for Obama, but don't pretend like Romney won't act similarly for political gain. I fully expect his stances on immigration and welfare to be politically driven at the expense of poor and impoverished families. He may be a chameleon that will try to do what he thinks is best for the country, but he'll also need to morph his policies to pander to an under-informed base, and that will surely mean ruining the lives of some to assuage the more conservative voters.]

I agree. Whatever else Romney is he's a Republican. And my experience with Republican presidents has not been good.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
A lot of commenters have brought up the idea that not voting for Obama is fine, but what proof do you have that Romney won't do the exact same thing?

Take Guantanamo Bay, for example. We are holding alleged terrorists indefinitely because it is too politically unpopular to give them a trial, to release them (even ones presumed innocent), or to move them to a jail in the US. Obama has adopted this policy of indefinite jailing and it is almost certain that Romney will as well. Does Obama's political move carry more weight because it jails an American citizen, and the guys in Guantanamo aren't citizens? I don't think so; either way, you are still jailing a human for political reasons and with little proof they cause an actual threat to society?

I'm fine with the reason you give for not voting for Obama, but don't pretend like Romney won't act similarly for political gain. I fully expect his stances on immigration and welfare to be politically driven at the expense of poor and impoverished families. He may be a chameleon that will try to do what he thinks is best for the country, but he'll also need to morph his policies to pander to an under-informed base, and that will surely mean ruining the lives of some to assuage the more conservative voters.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
[Bad Analogy People.... The people who aren't good with analogies waded in next, pointing out that President Obama killed U.S. citizens abroad because those citizens were part of a terrorist organization bent on the destruction of the United States. While that situation is worthy of discussion, it misses the central point of my post. There's a big difference between protecting the country and expecting some political gain from doing so versus jailing a small businessman in California for political gain while not even pretending it benefits the country. I expect my president to do some nasty stuff in my best interest. I don't expect him to do nasty stuff to citizens for no reason other than his own reelection interests. The latter is a firing offense. ]

This isn't a "bad analogy". It's a "This point trumps your point in terms of importance" argument. Of course it doesn't directly address the point of your post. Its purpose is to show that the point of your post is inferior in priority to a greater (but related) point. Don't fault me because you didn't understand my argument.

Every... and I mean EVERY... act of gov't sponsored terror has been done in the name of "protecting the country". This is precisely why our gov't was prohibited from doing such things by the Constitution... because those are exactly the excuses given back then to indiscriminately kill dissenters. This is not a door that you want to allow to be opened, and opening it is an immediate firing offense GREATER THAN simply jailing someone for political gain (although I agree that this is also a firing offense).

So... in conclusion... my argument wasn't what you hallucinated it to be. :Op
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
[The "reasons" given by the Fed seem self-conflicting. One reason given is they want to show that state law can't trump federal law. The second reason given is that it is also against California law. Huh? If it's against California law, why worry that California and Federal law conflict? That's exactly the sort of fishy "reasons" that makes the whole thing stink. And nowhere in their reasons do you see health, freedom, or economics discussed. -- Scott]

That's not contradicting, it's supplemental. Even if you don't believe the federal law should take precedence (which you don't seem to believe), they're pointing out that the state laws are being voilated as well. And city laws too. The point is that reasons were given a full year ago, whereas as far as I can tell, you have no evidence that the move was for political gain.

Let's face it, both the Republicans and Democrats have been assuming Obama will win California, which is why we've gotten virtually no attention other than for fundraising purposes. If Obama was trying to make a polical gesture of some sort, wouldn't you expect it to be in a battleground state where the voters might actually notice? I seriously doubt anyone in Ohio is paying attention to our pot busts, and I doubt Obama believes that either. If anything, the move could have cost him California contribution dollars.



 
 
Oct 22, 2012
I notice, Scott, that you still haven't really answered some of the better objections including mine (#1: local governments asked them to; #2: choosing to enforce a federal law isn't a firing offense; #3: the Feds have explained themselves, OK, they're inconsistent in their explanation, but doesn't it still count as what you wanted? An explanation, even a dishonest one?). But OK, now I think I've finally got why you're being irrational about this issue; its your neighbor that got nabbed. And you believe he got nabbed for no good reason. And you want Obama to release him (good luck with that; I think we all know how unlikely that is) or to pay for it. And I suppose you can be understood for making as big a deal about it as you possibly could and keeping from us at first the fact that it was your neighbor that got nabbed. But please try to understand we're not as close to this as you are and, as much as we like you, most of us aren't going to change our vote for you. Leaving everything else aside a Romney presidency isn't going to do your neighbor any good.
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
[Notice the reason Romney gives. His only stated objection to marijuana is that other people believe it is a gateway drug. That's a pretty clear indication that he's not worried about the health or moral implications. It also means he is free to review the studies that show marijuana isn't a gateway drug and change his mind. -- Scott]

Exactly. What Im looking for here is Romney having done or saying he would do something that matches Scotts criteria; there is no explanation for him jailing someone other than political reasons.
 
 
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Oct 22, 2012
Bonus points for mocking Huffington Post while linking to the story there in the first place. Bonus points for using "that's a firing offense" more often than a teenage boy says "boobies". You are of course welcome to separate wheat from chaff in whatever manner you like when deciding what issue is more important to you. There are a whole lot of people jailed for no good reason in this great bureaucracy of ours, including this fellow (who apparently chose to be jailed instead of striking a plea bargain to send a message). Every leader in the history of approximately forever has had dozens of firing offenses depending on your point of view, and maybe folks in the Mothers against Pot demographic are going to show up in droves to vote Obama. Bottom line for me is that, while I agree with you that this was a poor use of federal resources, this issue is not even in my top 20 for deciding how to vote.

[So if the President decides to jail your neighbor to help his reelection campaign, you'd be okay with that so long as he did good work on the other issues? -- Scott]
 
 
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Oct 22, 2012
Here is a YouTube video of Romney against medical marijuana (commenter whtllnew asked for a statement by Romney): http://youtu.be/6lTbAI4sP0M

[Notice the reason Romney gives. His only stated objection to marijuana is that other people believe it is a gateway drug. That's a pretty clear indication that he's not worried about the health or moral implications. It also means he is free to review the studies that show marijuana isn't a gateway drug and change his mind. -- Scott]
 
 
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Oct 22, 2012
So, objectively speaking…, why you gotta hate on Hammer?
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
My first thought is that sending someone to jail for breaking the law is NOT a firing offense. And that is the main problem with your argument. The guy did something that was illegal and hoped no one would send him to jail, and now that it happens, you are in an uproar over that fact.

I understand that CA made an exception, and that Obama said he would not do something, but guess what, politicians lie all the time. ALL THE TIME.

Which brings me to another point: How do you decide who to elect? For me, it is as simple as seeing Republicans (in general) supporting rich/business and Democrats (in general) supporting the poor/lower class of people.

I think the scales have moved far enough that the rich no longer need any additional support, and the poor still need additional support.

All the rest are just words, and I cannot see how that would sway my vote.
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
>There is some chance - I think a very small one - that President Obama has a non-political reason for cracking down on California's medical marijuana dispensaries, although I can't even imagine what reason a liberal ex-stoner with a budget problem might offer. If he chooses to tell the public his reasons, I will happily reassess my opinion.

Here are a couple reasons the Feds announced last year:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/10/feds-order-all-calif-medical-marijuana-outlets-to-close/1

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-10-07/marijuana-medical-california/50691598/1

I'd like to add a couple comments of my own. First, I'd be ok with a Federal law that legalized marijuana, but with restrictions similar to alcohol regarding potency limits, age limits, and driving restrictions. Second, I voted for California's "Compassionate Use Act" because I thought it was stupid denying something potentially helpful to people with cancer and AIDS. What I didn't realize at the time was that there are vitually no guidelines for what it can be prescribed for, and no tracking like the way there is for medical narcotics like Vicodin. So some doctors do nothing but hand our pot prescriptions all day - no medical insurance, no hospital permissions required - big dollars for very little risk or effort.

Here's what particularly changed my mind about the law the way it is written today. A friend of mine has a brilliant son who started college courses at 16. At 18 he was too young to drink, but a couple friends of his told him he could get marijuana the same way they did - go to a pot clinic and say he needed it for "anxiety" caused by the stress of school. In 15 minutes he walked out with a prescription and began lighting up daily. It wasn't until his grades significantly slipped that he started scaling back.

This kind of abuse of the law is why towns started enacting their own laws and asking the Feds to step in. I for one wouldn't have voted for the law in the first place if I'd realized how lax the regulation would be. At a minimum, no one under drinking age should be able to get a pot prescription for a condition that can't be proven with a blood test or x-rays.

[The "reasons" given by the Fed seem self-conflicting. One reason given is they want to show that state law can't trump federal law. The second reason given is that it is also against California law. Huh? If it's against California law, why worry that California and Federal law conflict? That's exactly the sort of fishy "reasons" that makes the whole thing stink. And nowhere in their reasons do you see health, freedom, or economics discussed. -- Scott]
 
 
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Oct 22, 2012
"WHAT THE !$%* IS WRONG WITH YOU???!!! OF COURSE ONE ISSUE VOTING MAKES SENSE IF THE ISSUE IS BIG ENOUGH!"

Yes. But, at least for me, there are bigger issues. Yes, Obama probably used discretion when he decided to do something that's legal but maybe expensive. And yes, that guy is now in prison and pissed off and his life is in tatters.

But please accept that for other people, other issues are "BIG ENOUGH" to vote for Obama. Or against Romney. After all, that's what democracy is about.

Also, and this will probably come as a surprise for you, but there are no angels on the ballot. If you are going to vote at all, you'll be voting for someone with a well filled closet and you have to guess the number and size of the skeletons in there. Like everyone else. Live with it or abstain. On the other hand, what I'd base my vote on is not someones past but my expectation of someones deeds in the future. Past deeds may be an indication for them but one should never mix up evidence and the criterion itself.

If you think someone else can do better, how about getting that person on the ballot in 2016? Have you any idea about finding a suitable person and getting her to apply for the job? I know the buddhist priests have a process for identifying the next dalai lama, wandering around and testing kids. Maybe something similar could be designed for future presidents? (Only half joking here.)

YOU have toyed with a candidacy for a long time as well. What has become of it?
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
Thanks for the updates. :)

If you believe Romney is most likely (even if not certain) to continue Obama's policies on medical marijuana, then by extension you believe Romney, if elected, is likely to continue jailing citizens purely for political gain.

If you feel that's a firing offense, why on earth would you hire Romney?



Also, you don't live in a swing state, so thanks to our Electoral system (which I think you should change in your revised constitution), changing your vote is purely symbolic. It's not a two-vote difference, and voting for a third-party candidate isn't a one-vote difference. It's a zero-vote difference, unless your influence, no matter how limited, manages to change some minds in Ohio, Florida, etc.

[Romney gives a specific reason for opposing medical marijuana. Experts that he respects tell him it is a gateway drug. It's not a firing offense to have a stated reason for your policy even if the reason turns out to be wrong. It's only a firing offense if you jail citizens for political reasons alone and offer no credible reasons whatsoever.

If you own a convenience store and discover an employee stealing, do you fire him or do you figure that whoever you hire next is likely to steal just as much, so why bother? - Scott]
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
@tkwelge

[Wait, but the issue is that the president's administration put somebody behind bars for no explainable reason. You argue that because there could be some secret reason, we should give obama the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't work that way. When Scott says "political reasons" that doesn't just mean to win votes. "Political reasons" includes the sort of back door intrigue that is common place in politics. So even though he can't win votes from this move, there is probably some other inter office politics going on here within the government. ]

Then perhaps he should say back door intrigue instead of political reasons. Even after you made this point folks are chiming in asking what political benefit Obama gets from this crackdown. That means folks are still confused on what Scott means by 'political reasons'.
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
I don't know if this qualifies as the Obama administration breaking its silence on this issue but....

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/21/14587726-feds-not-changing-marijuana-policy-even-if-3-states-legalize-it-us-official-says?lite

[Look at the Deputy Attorney General's quote: "We're going to take a look at whether or not there are dangers to the community from the sale of marijuana and we're going to go after those dangers." That is a clear statement that the feds have no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries pose a danger, and also a clear statement that the feds have discretion over whether or not they should "go after" anyone. Can I rest my case now? -- Scott]
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
More than one commenter has made the counterargument that Romney has done or said he would do the exact same thing; jail an American for political gain. My response to this is: when and where? Seriously. Im an Obama supporter and want to believe this is one of the better counterarguments to Scotts endorsement here but you have to help me out.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
Why do you think President Obama is getting some sort of political gain from this? The people most likely to even hear about it, California citizens, have already overwhelmingly supported legal medical marijuana, as evidenced by the fact that the law was passed in their state, so it's unlikely that he's going to curry much favor that way. Not to mention that California is already an overwhelmingly liberal state, so it's not likely that Romney was going to get their votes (and Californias electoral votes) anyway.

For the rest of the country, most people will probably never even hear of it. For those that do, it will be a blip on the radar compared to other issues they care about. The "jailing someone for political gain" argument would be relevant if there were any visible political gain taking place here.

[As this entire discussion proves, almost no one will vote against the president for being tough on medical marijuana dispensaries. But if he leaves them alone he'll take a lot of heat from every anti-drug group, including, ironically, any big pharma companies that don't want to compete against weed. -- Scott]
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
[Jailing a citizen for no reason other than political gain has to be a firing offense. I'd like to believe every citizen agrees on that point.]

Sadly, there's a reason why democracies are called mobocracies. If the person was unpopular enough, jailing him would be a way to get a quick boost in the polls. If that person was unpopular among your campaign donors, you'd also get money from the act.


I think Scott makes a genuinely good point about one issue firing offenses, but unfortunately I don't see this getting much traction. So let's so the another route. When the Bengahzi attack happened, the US had drones in the area.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/us_watched_as_terror_raged_AypAEEA9OK23rPf7Z5BHWO

In theory, considering that Libya is an unstable country and there had been requests for more security, a quicker response should have happened. It didn't. So to cover up the incompetence leading up to the first US ambassador death since Carter, the admin found a video, called it the cause for over a week, and got the filmmaker put in jail on a parole violation.

This is a trifecta of firing offenses if you ask me. You don't send people into the wrong places without ample security. You don't try and cover up the causes. And you don't have someone arbitrarily put in jail because of it.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
I agree with all your reasoning, i think there is just one thing you are not considering, i believe almost every politician would do something like that for power or political gain, if Romney had the option, right now, of guaranteeing his own victory by sending 10 people to jail on his state for not other reason than getting elected, i think he wouldn't blink about it. And as I said Romney i could have said anyone else. So, it's sad, but i don't have any hope in anyone in a similar position.
Anyway, that doesn't justifies Obama, i just think that voting for anyone right now is the same.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
The closest of Scotts categories listed above I come to with my opinion on this, is the "Law is the law" category.

And when I re-read Scotts refutal of that argument, I realized that he isn't actually disagreeing that the law is the law. His counter argument could then be interpreted as: jailing the guy shouldn't have been a priority, despite that what he did was wrong (according to the officials interpretation of the law).

If I look at it that way, then this isn't even about the jailed citizen, but purely about whether Obama should be immediately fired for having allocated limited resources to a one or more low priority tasks. No way thats a firing offense. Its sounds like a no-brainer once you take the jailing out of the picture.


That being said, I don't actually consider myself a law-is-law person. But I have understanding for those that do.
 
 
 
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