Activist Suggests Johnson for Drug Czar

Activist Suggests Johnson for Drug Czar
Posted by FoM on January 11, 2001 at 08:01:58 PT
By Steve Terrell, The New Mexican
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican
Arianna Huffington, a national columnist and political activist, called upon President-elect George W. Bush on Wednesday to appoint New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as the new national drug czar.Meanwhile, Darren White, a former member of Johnson's administration, is making a serious bid to become the drug czar.
"As drug czar, Johnson would have the courage and the passion - and, yes, the compassion - to lead the nation in a long-overdue debate on this critical subject," Huffington wrote in her column published in Salon online magazine and newspapers around the country.The chances of Bush appointing Johnson might be slim. The idea has been a joke among New Mexico political observers ever since Bush declared victory in the presidential election, and the suggestion even came up as a tongue-in-cheek question at a recent news conference."He's a popular Republican governor," Huffington wrote, "the first in the history of his state to be elected to two consecutive four-year terms; the only governor to complete the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii; a model of abstinence who doesn't even drink."A spokesman for the Bush transition team couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday. In the past, spokesmen have declined to comment on possible choices for administration positions before an official announcement.Addressing her comments to Bush, she wrote, "Now, like you, he used to party. But, unlike you, once in office he didn't hypocritically introduce tougher drug sentences for first-time offenders and instead launched a crusade for sensible drug policies."Huffington probably is best known for her frequent appearances on the ABC political-satire show Politically Incorrect and for her role in last summer's "shadow conventions," billed as alternative presidential conventions intended to highlight issues the major political parties won't address. Johnson spoke at both shadow conventions - in Philadelphia and Los Angeles - about the war on drugs. He is backing proposals in New Mexico to legalize small amounts of marijuana and lessen penalties for possessing other drugs.Huffington quoted Johnson in her column, saying, "The first thing I would do is institute truth in advertising rules at the Office of National Drug Control Policy because a lot of what has been coming out of it is pure hogwash - especially the claims of victory."But she noted that the governor was quick to add, "It would be too bold a statement for Bush to choose me. I'm a little radioactive. But I definitely think that a bold choice is what is needed."His remarks were similar to those at a recent Santa Fe news conference at which Johnson jokingly was asked about being appointed drug czar. "I'm sure that's the last headache that Bush needs right off the bat," Johnson said last month.The second person from New Mexico being discussed as drug czar, Darren White, said Wednesday he has applied for the drug-czar position or to be director of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. White resigned as public-safety secretary last year because he disagreed with Johnson about drugs.White, now a television reporter for KRQE Channel 13, said a person involved in the Bush campaign, whom he declined to name, urged him to reply.He sent the required paperwork to Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson, both New Mexico Republicans. Wilson, White said, mailed him a copy of a handwritten note she sent to Dick Cheney, the vice president elect.White said he does not expect to hear from the Bush team for several weeks.Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)Author: Steve Terrell, The New Mexican Published: January 11, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Santa Fe New MexicanAddress: 202 E Marcy, Santa Fe, N.M. 87501Fax: (505) 986-3040Contact: letters sfnewmexican.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Governor Gary Johnson's Home Page Right Stuff - Arianna Huffington Bill Would Legalize Small Amounts of Pot Articles - Governor Gary Johnson 
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Comment #2 posted by CyberGuy on January 11, 2001 at 13:22:13 PT
While I generally admire Jesse, I wish people would stop giving him props on the drug issue. He yaps a lot, but has barely even spoken of this issue in other than an off-hand manner, and has certainly done nothing about it. A very comprehensive medical MJ bill was introduced by several legislators, but was shelved because of police commisioner Robert Olson's influence. He was supposedly going to work with the group and Jesse, but we now hear that the sponsor is "reluctant to bring the issue up again this session".My take: Olson is a typical power-broker more concerned with the enhancing his department's authority by whatever politically expedient means is available, and mouths typical prohibitionist platitudes about study and research as a means of obstructing reform.Not that Minnesota is very harsh in general (for MJ), being a decrim state (unless you're Black, in which case I'd head for the border), but prohibitionist ideology holds sway over those in power, and I don't think Jesse deserves much credit in the reform arena, because he talks about a lot of stuff without doing anything about it, and opted out of any criticism of, or reform within, his own administration.
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Comment #1 posted by sm247 on January 11, 2001 at 11:51:41 PT
we are waiting..
Well we are waiting in suspense  yes Gov. J would be my top choice for the fact he isn't afraid to speak his mind. We don't need another puppet playin king of the mountain.
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