Friday, November 21, 2008

Out With the Old, In With More of the Same

More evidence that the Obama team will tilt toward prohibitionism. The subject here is drugs, not porn, but the emerging policy posture on social issues seems pretty obvious:

Let's see, we've got this guy as the drug czar (I thought the Russians fought a revolution to get rid of czars, but what do I know?)

We've got Eric Holder as A.G. with his grand plan for driving porn off the Internet.

What's next? Bob jensen as porn czar?

And just because Obama voted against down-zoning porn shops back when he was a state legislator doesn't neutralize the toxicity of the appointments he's making now.

When it comes to social issues, talk of change seems so far to mean changing the faces but keeping the same bad ideas.


  1. According to Szalawitz article, Jim Ramstad is a rumor - he's not even "on track" to be anyone's czar.

    Obama supports the use of medical marijuana and Ramstad opposes it. Ramstad also opposes the use of clean needles for drug users - Obama has not been heard supporting that position.

    Obama has stated more than once that his favorite TV show is "The Wire", whose theme, in part, was the folly of the 'War on Drugs' in the inner city.

    I am certainly prepared to be betrayed by anyone in public office. But, there are betrayals, and then there are...betrayals.

  2. Sheldon,

    And I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised by anyone in public office.

    I'm still waiting for that surprise. Maybe I'll see it this time around, but so far the only real surprise so far is the line-up of familiar faces.

    I understand the reasoning behind this, and I don't dispute the good sense of it.

    But what I see shaping up is not a socially progressive administration that will make life significantly easier for people like us.

    I voted for Obama because I understand that there are issues at stake far more important than what makes people like us happy.

    Looking at war, the specter of depression and the near complete destruction of constitutional protections for the entire nation, I have to put my own concerns in perspective.

    If he does a good job by most other standards, Obama certainly need not answer to the likes of me.

    However, within the communities to which I belong there are likely to be some disappointed voters who unreasonably expected something else from what they're likely to end up getting. I think we need to be realistic in our expectations in this regard.

    We'll have to wait and see how all this shakes out, but to the extent that Obama is being portrayed as a potential Roosevelt, perhaps it behooves us to recall some of the deals Roosevelt had to make with various devils to accomplish the things he did.

  3. It is disappointing, considering I've been hoping that he really wasn't going to act like the DLC Democrat he was running against in the primaries.

    Looking back at the Clinton administration, there was definitely a mixed legacy when it came to obscenity law. On one hand, that administration really pushed hard for the Communications Decency Act and the like, which was one area where the DLC played its "Republican light" (and sometimes not-so-light) strategy. On the other hand, obscenity prosecutions were a notably low priority during the Clinton administration, compared to either the Reagan/Bush I and Bush II eras. Its hard to say if that's pretty much going to be the model that the Obama administration follows, which is to make occasional noise about the subject, but not really pursue it.

    Then again, these days, we now see the increasing trend toward lumping sex work of all kinds with human trafficking, if only by implication – this framing device is a very effective one, since it reframes sex work from an individual rights and labor rights issue to being viewed as inherently a human rights violation by its very existence. Hence, a demand for solutions to the "problem" of sex work will always be on the agenda, both left and right, until these issues became decoupled.

    BTW, I suspected this tactic was coming some years ago when I saw that Women Against Pornography had morphed into CATW and was aggressively lobbying the "sex trafficking" issue at international forums. I figured if they succeeded there, they'd eventually come back and attack porn from this angle. It looks like they have.