A reader writes:
While locking up nonviolent drug offenders in other states may seem silly, it's not in Kentucky, or other parts of Appalachia. For the vast majority of America, "nonviolent drug offender" means "weed dealer/user." In Kentucky, it's crystal meth and Oxycontin, two drugs with massive social deterioration effects - basically hillbilly heroin. The fiends who peddle that stuff are ruining their communities, and need to be stopped. And this is coming from someone who fully, completely, and totally supports Prop 19, and hopes to see full federal legalization in his lifetime.
As a native of Kentucky, a little context is called for in this case.
The state has an outrageous and growing meth problem that is arguably destroying much of the rural parts of that state. Note these statistics, including: "The recent increase of locally produced methamphetamine may have eclipsed the amount of Mexico-produced methamphetamine transported into the state." This is not an issue involving a low risk drug like marijuana.
Also, Rand Paul's objection to the drug war is usually in the context of very large and expensive American actions in foreign countries like Mexico and Columbia. Kentucky's drug problem is actually much more local in nature, and slamming Paul for his position in the context of local Kentucky problems is totally fair game. You're not going to find many Kentuckians who would argue that the meth problem is not tearing their state apart - unless they happen to be tweakers.
I live in Lexington. The issue with Rand Paul isn't that he's against the war on drugs; it's that he's totally unaware of the meth and oxycontin epidemics in Eastern Kentucky. That's what he's been taking heat here from the Democrats. Bill Clinton excoriated him on Monday, at a Conway event, for being simply ignorant about Kentucky - and that was just the headliner of many ways in which Paul's clueless about this state. Conway didn't get up and say, "And by God we need to put more of those people in jail." He got up and said, "Why does Rand Paul want to cut assistance to clinics and rehabilitation programs?" It's classic Dem politics, not triangulating at all.