COMMENTARY | The Atlantic Wire believes that it has hit upon President Obama's surefire October Surprise to change his political fortunes and get him re-elected for a second term. That October surprise would be for him to support the legalization of pot.
This last-minute gambit has an advantage to starting a war, being that no one would get killed. The theory is that young voters, disenchanted with Obama because of the fact they are still living in their parents' garage three years after graduation and can't get a job, will be motivated to turn out for him because he supports legalized dope smoking.
The Washington Post related David Maraniss' claims of Barack Obama being a pothead during his high school days. The gambit would also answer Penn Jillette's recent rant on the hypocrisy of Obama, a self-admitted former doper, enforcing drug laws that put people like he used to be in jail.
The idea that Obama can get potheads motivated enough to turn off "The Daily Show," get off the couch, and go to the polls is a very charming one. To be sure, people voting while stoned could explain a lot of election results -- the re-election of Jerry Brown as governor of California comes to mind. But the legalized pot gambit has some pitfalls.
Millions of people, likely more than who toke while laughing hysterically at Bill Maher, are against legalized drug use. Rasmussen suggested that a plurality of 47 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana and taxing it, which makes the say yes to drugs gambit just a little tempting to a president facing defeat in November. But such a move could be turned back on Obama fairly quickly.
Mitt Romney, whose skill at the political riposte has become well known, would have lots of fun with an Obama legalize dope initiative. What next, he will ask. Selling crystal meth to school kids from vending machines? And if Obama proposed taxing pot at the same time, Romney would think that the good lord really does want him to be president. The conservative base likes few things less, besides gays getting married, than legalized dope and raising taxes, even on legalized dope. What, Obama would ask, does this have to do with a bad economy?
One hope would be left for Obama: a stimulus package for pot growers. It may be his only hope.
- Politics & Government
- President Obama