Surprise! Republican Senator Rand Paul Praises Eric Holder On Drug Policy

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Speaking in Iowa on Friday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) offered unexpected praise for outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. The Senator applauded Holder’s approach to drug enforcement policy. Specifically, Paul agreed that Holder was right to end support for letting police seize the assets of suspected drug dealers, who have not been charged with a crime. The Senator added that jailing people for “55 years for selling marijuana is obscene”.

The mention of 55 years was an apparent reference to Weldon Angelos, who was convicted of selling marijuana while in possession of a firearm in 2004. Mandatory minimum enhancements for possessing a firearm while selling drugs lead to the lengthy sentence, even though the gun was not brandished during the drug transactions, and the drug in question was simply marijuana.

Senator Paul, who is often very critical of the government, seems an unlikely person to defend Holder. Holder has served as Obama’s top federal law enforcement official since the President took office in 2009. During his tenure, Holder has frequently aroused the ire of conservatives. In this context, Senator Paul’s comments carry added weight by bridging the liberal-conservative divide.

Politics sometimes creates strange bedfellows. Rand Paul saying something positive about Obama’s chief law enforcement officer is a pretty unusual event, in the current polarized political environment. However, the realization that Rand Paul and Eric Holder can find common ground on pushing towards a more sane national marijuana policy does portend hope for eventually putting an end to the ill-conceived War on Drugs.

The prospects for reforming national drug policy are somewhat promising since the issue doesn’t fall strictly on partisan lines. A significant faction within both major parties seems willing to consider exploring changes to the nation’s drug laws. Voter passed experiments in Colorado and Washington, have demonstrated that marijuana legalization does not lead to economic collapse or moral ruin. Both states are doing just fine.

It should come as no surprise that the libertarian-leaning Rand Paul supports less draconian drugs laws. What is surprising is that he is willing to give somebody in the Obama administration credit for holding similar views. That small moment of recognition could be helpful in uniting members of both parties to put partisan politics aside, in order to work towards a saner drug policy for America. The incarceration model clearly isn’t working, and every step made to replace that model is a step forward.

7 Replies to “Surprise! Republican Senator Rand Paul Praises Eric Holder On Drug Policy”

  1. He isn’t really “defending” Eric Holder as much as he is praising the policy change and approach.

  2. Fair enough. “Defend” might not be the perfect word choice. But the two do agree substantively on at least this one issue.

  3. Rand Paul never does anything that doesn’t benefit him in some way. Electing him to the senate certainly hasn’t been a game changer for the people of Kentucky. He’s slick as snot. If he’s praising Eric Holder, he has an ulterior motive. He’s done the calculations and there will be a political benefit for him.

  4. Rand Paul is opposing the nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. This is all that needs to be said about his willingness to cooperate with a Democratic sadministration.

  5. Rand Pauls father, Ron if yall remember was all about ending the drug war. May be where rand got a few of his views on the drug laws.
    Again, I am an Iraq war vet and I suffer from PTSD, I used to drink to the point of passing out just so I could sleep at night. I wont go into detail but what I see when I close my eyes is something horrific. I still cannot go to fireworks displays.
    Now I got me a vaporizer and some good hash oil. I take a couple tokes and bam off to sleep I go. No nightmares, and most importantly no hangover and I can function the next day.
    Why am I criminal now? Just for wanting to find a medicine that allows me to be a functioning member of society? Or the cancer, aids, depression, and the myriad of other ailments of patients this plant can help?
    The drug “war” is the longest most costly “war” Americans have ever fought, end it now!

  6. Thank you for your service, EJBuckeye. I’m so sorry to hear about the pain you’re still suffering for having served in a war that should’ve never happened. My heart goes out to you and yours.

    But I would very much like to correct what appears to be your assumption. Rand Paul isn’t for deregulating MJ. He’s against the Federal gov’t. If you read his and his father’s speeches on this issue, you’ll see that Rand Paul’s simply against the Federal Gov’t regulating MJ and believes that those decisions should be made by individual States.

    Now, this might sound like a great idea to some people, but let’s not forget that Jim Crow laws is a prime example why we can’t give each State powers that supersede the Federal’s.

    What Rand Paul is doing now is hoping to catch the attention of the young demographic that had come out and elected the Senator Barack Obama. He hopes for the same when he runs for president.

  7. I completely agree with you on the Jim Crowe laws. But just like murder that is not a law to be handled by the state. No state should be allowed to pass a law that discriminates. But many laws should be.
    Just I was trying to say that his father had a more liberal stance on the drug war than his comrades. So this story comes as no surprise.
    Lets not forget its time to start primpin for that popularity race coming up. He has got to try and swing the more liberal sane of us over to his side.

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