Eric Holder--Drug Warrior

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Here's Hit & Run on Holder back in the Clinton days:

Holder wanted "minimum sentences of 18 months for first-time convicted drug dealers, 36 months for the second time and 72 months for every conviction thereafter." He also wanted to "make the penalty for distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana a felony, punishable with up to a five-year sentence."

I think the worst part of all this is you can bet that not a single Senator is going to question Holder about his views on the drug war. No one fucking cares. This thing is wreaking havoc on communities across the country, and yet it's left to the Mike Gravels and Ron Pauls of the world to tackle. Damn. This is not a good sign. Here's Obama during the campaign:

"I think it's time we also took a hard look at the wisdom of locking up some first-time, non-violent drug users for decades. Someone once said that '...long minimum sentences for first-time users may not be the best way to occupy jail space and/or heal people from their disease.' That someone was George W. Bush - six years ago. I don't say this very often, but I agree with the president. The difference is, he hasn't done anything about it. When I'm president, I will. We will review these sentences to see where we can be smarter on crime and reduce the blind and counterproductive warehousing of non-violent offenders. And we will give first-time, non-violent drug offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior. So let's reform this system. Let's do what's smart. Let's do what's just".

He needs to be real about that. I hope the Holder deal isn't an indication of his thoughts on drug policy. I also hope Holder doesn't still hold on to those neanderthal veiws.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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