Drug Czar No Longer To Be a Cabinet Position

It's official. President Barack Obama, as reported weeks ago, will name Seattle police chief R. Gil Kerlikowski to the position of Drug Czar. But...

The administration will remove the job's Cabinet designation -- reversing an elevation of the office under President George W. Bush -- although one senior official said that Kerlikowske would have "full access and a direct line to the president and the vice president."

And this should be no surprise:

The source also noted that Vice President Biden was instrumental in the creation of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and would continue to be an outspoken advocate on the issue.

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    Speaking of czars, DNA tests confirm that (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by magster on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:18:32 AM EST
    Anastasia did not escape and have secret heirs.

    Any thoughts... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 10:56:17 AM EST
    as to a reason for the demotion of sorts?  Is Obama trying to distance himself from this disaster without actually being brave and denouncing it?  Nah, can't be...then he would have never picked gung-ho drug warrior Biden.  He's down with the disaster.

    I was reminded of "Traffic", with the new czar's son having drug issues...too much to dream that the new czar will have an epiphany like Michael Douglas' character in the film..."I don't how you wage war on your own family".

    Wouldn't it be great if the position is (none / 0) (#9)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:42:09 AM EST
    tasked with how to phase out this war? The end of the drug battle will cause layoffs and/or redirecting of resources to deal with how the current sellers and growers handle the loss of income.

    Maybe its because (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:00:25 AM EST
    Joe Biden will be the real drug czar and Kerlikowske will have to clear all policy decisions with him.

    Kerlikowske reportedly is close to Holder...how close is he to Biden?

    Biden (none / 0) (#3)
    by CST on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:03:21 AM EST
    I get the feeling he was largely a symbolic pick designed to make middle America more "comfortable" with Obama during an election year.

    Nothing more, nothing less, except maybe be a "liason" with the senate...

    has he actually DONE anything yet?

    The administration (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:18:53 AM EST
    has had to keep him quiet and away from the press.  That's probably why we haven't heard much about him.

    Wasn't listening closely enough, but (none / 0) (#7)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:29:01 AM EST
    I thought the morning news said Biden will be doing the "welcoming" or swearing in of Kerlikowski. So, he's doing something today.

    Drug Czar shouldn't be ANY position... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:22:07 AM EST
    ...in any government.  It's a show-pony position that accomplishes nothing but further our puritan hypocrisy.

    The pilgrims stopped at Plymouth Rock partly because they had run out of fresh water to make their booze.  Had they stopped because they needed fresh water to irrigate their weed, we'd all be getting arrested for drinking beer.

    Let this nonsense end.  Get rid of the entire position.  Yesterday.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#8)
    by magster on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:31:40 AM EST
    What would the Thanksgiving feast be like now if the pilgrims had been stoners...?

    Brownies and Cheetos (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:56:43 AM EST
    Jeez..you guys are being unfair (none / 0) (#11)
    by ai002h on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 12:24:07 PM EST
    Kerlikowski is actually a great pick by Obama...considering what we have gotten from both democratic and republican presidents, he is a pretty big change. Yet all I'm reading are snarky comments about Biden and Obama. There are places to criticize Obama, I just dont think this is one of them.

    Are you serious? (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 12:36:51 PM EST
    This is totally legit criticism...I'd love to see the big change you're seeing.  Looks like the same sh*t to me, maybe with a little less stank than a McCaffery.

    It all depends on where you start from (none / 0) (#17)
    by ai002h on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:17:04 PM EST
    If you want to be a realist and accept that the Drug Czar will be someone from law enforcement, then its as good as it gets. I'm not sure you know his record, but he is a break from his predecessors. he has treated marijuana as the low crime offense that it is, he gave hardly no time to enforcing busts or arrests of marijuana possession in Seattle. While he hasn't gone all the way, in many ways he's been a silent supporter of decriminalizing the drug. There's a reason why many advocates for ending "the war on drugs" were extremely pleased with this pick.

    He is also anti-gun (none / 0) (#18)
    by ai002h on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:18:18 PM EST
    Which, considering he comes from law enforcement, is a positive

    Anti-gun or Anti-gun rights... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:43:58 PM EST
    If anti-gun that greats, if anti-gun rights that's another problem in my book.

    I thought they were high on Obama... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:20:28 PM EST
    when they lauded the pick, but you're right, I don't know that much about the guy...when Uncle Sam is involved I assume the worst...it's the safe play.

    I sure as hell hope you're right about the guy...I'll take a decreased emphasis on marijuana prohibition as a bone.


    Seattle and drug busts (none / 0) (#22)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:40:10 PM EST
    If you want to get a better sense of who the new czar is, there is a great deal of information on the internet about him, and the drug busts in the greater Seattle area.

    Thanks for the link.... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:45:58 PM EST
    reads like same old sh*t to me.

    Thought you'd enjoy that (none / 0) (#25)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:50:49 PM EST

    I happen to have a Seattle acquaintence waiting for sentencing because he rented a house to a group of guys who decided to grow mj there. He knew and didn't act on it. He could be facing 10 years in federal prison for that.

    I've also been removed from jury selections because I told the judge I would not be able to follow his instructions and put a mother in prison (and her children in foster care) for the mj sales her boyfriend did simply because she lived off the income.


    I wish your acquaintance luck.... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03:00:38 PM EST
    he/she is gonna need it.  That's why I'd never dream of growing...I like my landlady too much.

    For some good news, I just got word this week a friend of mine who I've mentioned on TL in the past is getting out of prison at the end of the month after over 8 years in a cage over some drug charges...can't wait to see him outside of a cage.


    Great pick (none / 0) (#34)
    by Mikeb302000 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 09:00:34 AM EST
    I think he's a great pick too.  Removing cabinet status for the post won't hurt anything, it may even be more appropriate this way. Today I wrote about the great new direction which has been promised for a long time: treatment instead of prison.

    Everyone with a brain (none / 0) (#13)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:31:04 PM EST
    Knows the "war on drug," has been a legal, social, and financial disaster. I presume Obama and Holder actually do have a brain.

    Since the problem has always been how to placate the right wing "yahoos" and their knee-jerk accusations of "soft on crime" against any candidate daring to actually use their brain and do something smart regarding the drug issue, there is a solution.

    Nobody has ever accused President Obama of being a "dumb" politician, and he does have the bully pulpit. How hard would it be for Obama and Axlerod to reframe the issue like this:

    "My fellow Americans; for 35 we have been waging a "war on drugs" that has drained our Treasury dry, caused more problems than its solved, and frankly, its been a war we aren't winning. Today, I want to announce the end of the "old" war on drugs, and replace it with a New, MORE POWERFUL and WINNABLE war. The new "war" will be headed by Chief ####, AND Dr. ####, working as a team, and will analyze, attack, and WIN this war. This blight on our society has gone on far too long, and when one approach doesn't work, we must be smart enough to CHANGE our tacticts and go with something that WILL win.

    The American people want, no, DEMAND, real solutions to real problems, not cheap political sound bites. By utilizing every resource available at the State, Local, and Federal level, Chief #### and Dr. #### have committed to me, and YOU, the American people, that the drug war must be won, can be won, and WILL be won.

    Thank you, and God bless America.

    (As the camera pans out, a hundred teams, officers with badges and guns shining on the left, and Doctors with white coats and stethoscopes on the right are shown marching out together.)    

    That would be a nice start... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:43:59 PM EST
    though for the life of me I don't know what we need the badges and guns for...the only "drug problem" we have is an addiction problem, and the doctors can attempt to minimize the harm caused by addiction on their own.

    Don't you think, though, (none / 0) (#15)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:01:33 PM EST
    the over-crowded court dockets and jails are a big problem with the war on drugs?

    End this war and many, many attorneys, court employees, police officers and task forces, jails and prisons will see a massive decline in their revenues. The war on drugs actually funds the lives of many, many people.


    I wouldn't call that a problem.... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:14:14 PM EST
    the problem is that so many derive their living from suffering and tyranny in the first place...that's what should concern us, not potentially laying off workers in the misery business.

    Shorter version...there are honest livings, and there are dishonest livings, we should be so lucky as to render some dishonest livings obsolete.


    I agree with you on ending this war, but (none / 0) (#20)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:28:37 PM EST
    there will be a great deal of transitional aggravation when/if that happens.

    Some hassles.... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 02:32:55 PM EST
    for sure, but well worth it.

    Fun to ttalk and think and dream about, but it won't happen...we're hopeless.


    Well, (none / 0) (#28)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03:11:32 PM EST
    we're going to have to address these "changes" in almost every category you can think of.

    You know, "work smarter, not harder," replace dirty industry with "green" industry....and so on.

    In the Drug War, decreasing prisons, increasing rehab and hospital centers would mitigate the dislocation. Doctors and health specialists replacing cops and prison guards could be a wash.

    As long as we are being forced to change just about everything our society has been used to anyway, we might as well throw in "the war on drugs" into the mix too.


    The badges (none / 0) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03:03:49 PM EST
    are to placate the "lock'm up and throw away the key" crowd.

    You know, "visuals," like at the very moment they're destroying the E.P.A. they have The Grand Canyon as the backdrop for the President's announcing "Clean Air for your Children" Act.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#29)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03:16:36 PM EST
    but we have to stop putting up illusions and catering to the stupid eventually...it's an expensive hobby.

    You're younger than me, (none / 0) (#31)
    by NYShooter on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 05:53:46 PM EST
    Good luck; maybe in your lifetime, certainly not in mine.

    So, is the only real change (none / 0) (#30)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 05:40:32 PM EST

    that there will be no senate confirmation or oversight?

    Wrong. (none / 0) (#32)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 08:19:04 PM EST
    Chief K was nominated to become Director of ONDCP. That means he gets the job if and when confirmed by the Senate (just like a few thousand other sub-Cabinet appointments).

    Good (none / 0) (#33)
    by diogenes on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 08:56:40 PM EST
    There are too many cabinet positions already.  Maybe commerce and education can be demoted too.