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Pot Legalization Brings Boos at Tea Party Rally

I attended a Tea Party rally this morning in Santa Fe held on the steps of the state capital building.  The keynote speaker was former Governor Gary Johnson who is rumored to be running for president.  Gary is highly regarded in the state for his outstanding leadership during two terms as governor.  He slashed the size of state government during his term and left the state with a large budget surplus.  His speech brought enthusias…

  1. Kenneth

    Paules, were the hecklers a significant percentage of the crowd? 

    My guess would be that they weren’t representative of the normal Tea Party attendees.   Everybody in New Mexico knows where Gary Johnson stands on marijuana legalization, so perhaps a few rabid social cons showed up specifically to beard him on the issue. 

  2. The Mugwump
    Kenneth: Paules, were the hecklers a significant percentage of the crowd? 

    My guess would be that they weren’t representative of the normal Tea Party attendees.   Everybody in New Mexico knows where Gary Johnson stands on marijuana legalization, so perhaps a few rabid social cons showed up specifically to beard him on the issue.  · Jan 18 at 12:24pm

    Edited on Jan 18 at 12:25 pm

    The crowd was small, maybe 200 people, but the majority were clearly against the idea.  I found the response ill-mannered, but it did appear authentic and sincere.  While 200 people hardly represents a nationwide attitude, I’m suggesting that libertarians be careful with this issue.  The idea might provide a wedge by which so-cons and libertarians are divided when the times call for unity on more important issues.  What I saw was perhaps instructive without being in any way definitive. 

  3. Kenneth
    ~Paules

    Kenneth: ed up specifically to beard him on the issue.  · Jan 18 at 12:24pm

    Edited on Jan 18 at 12:25 pm

    I’m suggesting that libertarians be careful with this issue.  The idea might provide a wedge by which so-cons and libertarians are divided when the times call for unity on more important issues.  What I saw was perhaps instructive without being in any way definitive.  · Jan 18 at 1:09pm

    It’s a thorny issue.  One can disapprove of marijuana while at the same time pointing out that Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs” is an utter failure that has increased police power at the expense of individual liberty.

    Ultimately, I’d view it as a 10th Amendment issue.  Let each individual state decide – and remove the question from politics at the federal level. 

  4. Mike LaRoche
    ~Paules

    Maybe Gov. Gary Johnson should settle for suggesting that we need a national debate on the issue.  I can fully appreciate the economic arguments.  They certainly have merit.  I’m not satisfied yet that we’ve answered the questions about the social costs of pot legalization.  ·

    I agree with this.  The social costs of pot legalization would be considerable, and I don’t believe they are taken seriously enough by those who advocate for legalization.  From a purely political standpoint, perhaps this is a case where Mitch Daniels’s admonitions to social conservatives to settle for a truce on some issues might be conversely applied to libertarians.

  5. Joshua Riddle

    He came and spoke at Dartmouth a week ago, I was able to get quite a bit of face time considering his crowd was not very big, and of the people who were there most didn’t know a thing about him.  Most were there because they either worked at the Dartmouth Review with me, or, were stoners who heard a pro-marijuana candidate was on campus.

    He said if he were president he would ‘heavily’ advocate the decriminalization of marijuana, get the troops out of Afghanistan tomorrow, and support gay marriage.  In the casual conversation we had after he said he didn’t think driving while stoned was very dangerous.  That’s a questionable statement at best.  I think he understood the mood of the crowd and was trying to ‘people please’ instead of telling us what he his true convictions were.

    He also seemed to dodge a lot of questions.  When asked “do you believe in man-made global warming, yes or no?” He acted like a typical politician and talked about how we can lower gas prices or something.

  6. Casey Taylor

    I still support him.  Next time, though, he might want to point out that if they have an issue with his opinion, they might want to look up the words Congress and legislator.

  7. Chris Deleon
    Casey Taylor: …he might want to point out that if they have an issue with his opinion, they might want to look up the words Congress and legislator.

    That kind of a snarky come-back may feel good to say (or to imagine saying) but it won’t help– and it’s also incorrect.  The president quite often sets the direction which Congress will follow, in particular when they are from the same party.

    No, neither Gary Johnson nor Mitch Daniels will get my vote– ever.

  8. Chris Deleon
    Foxman: People are using medical marijuana to reduce or eliminate the opiates they take.  You think this is a bad thing?

    I’m quite sure that’s the only reason people are taking marijuana. ;-)

  9. Neal Pierson
    Joshua Riddle, Intern:   In the casual conversation we had after he said he didn’t think driving while stoned was very dangerous.  That’s a questionable statement at best. 

    I dunno. From my experience, I’m extra cautious when driving while stoned.

  10. flownover

    Come on people !! Pot should not be an issue. We have an economic meltdown, are fighting two wars, looking at trillion dollar holes in the pension funding, trying to face down a union takeover of various cabinet level departments, 20% unemployment, dismantling flawed nationalisation schemes of healthcare, automaking, student lending, mortgage guarantees.

    If the Tea Party tries to organize past it’s disarray instead of basking in the glow of power, attention from the media, and some weird cache that doesn’t ask for money, has no identifiable leaders, or platform then it should smack itself and consider the competition.

    No positions mean you can be everywhere. No leaders means everyone’s in charge, and no one. Guerrilla theater for mature people .  Guerrilla tactics for certain. Tall stalks get chopped. I say we keep ‘em guessin.

  11. Chris Deleon
    Neal Pierson

     Joshua Riddle, Intern:   In the casual conversation we had after he said he didn’t think driving while stoned was very dangerous.  That’s a questionable statement at best. 

     I dunno. From my experience, I’m extra cautious when driving while stoned.

    I dunno, but it seems that a lot of the people advocating for the legalization of pot have a… special interest in the issue.  Perhaps they’ve got a personal stake in the cause?

    Studies show that driving under the influence of cannabis does make you drive slower and more cautiously, because you’re– well, stoned.  But they also show your reaction time slows significantly (duh).  In other words, you’re not as dangerous as a drunk driver to others, but if anything unexpected happens, you’re much more likely to get into an accident.

    If your perception is impaired by anything (including lack of sleep) you shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a machine that requires your full alertness to control.

  12. Good Berean

    This topic and conversation highlights some of the ideological divisions on the Right.  The opinions here on Ricochet seem frequently to fall along libertarian, classical liberal, social and fiscal conservative lines. The challenge, as I see it, is to find common ground for the purpose of realpolitik, first on the Right, and second with the Left (if such a thing is possible).

  13. Chris Deleon

    I have some common ground with libertarians on economic issues, but after that we part ways, irreconcilably.  Sorry.

    So this issue, yes, is one that will tear “us” apart if it gets pushed.

    I seem to find that some libertarians (who only recently can be said to have joined with conservatives in greater numbers) are now busy evangelizing and proselytizing for their pet non-conservative causes (such as pot legalization, gay marriage, etc.).  Some are also actively putting down social conservatives and their organizations.

    It’s as if, having contributed to the success of the Tea Party movement, they want to claim the entire movement for themselves.

    They have a right to do and say what they want, but it won’t gain them any friends and certainly won’t help with party unity or achieving common goals.

  14. AmishDude
    Joshua Riddle, Intern:

    He said if he were president he would ‘heavily’ advocate the decriminalization of marijuana, get the troops out of Afghanistan tomorrow, and support gay marriage. 

    He also seemed to dodge a lot of questions.  When asked “do you believe in man-made global warming, yes or no?” He acted like a typical politician and talked about how we can lower gas prices or something. · Jan 18 at 1:38pm

    Edited on Jan 18 at 01:41 pm

    He seems kind of obsessed with pot. Look, if the voters of California (California!) couldn’t manage to decriminalize (or whatever the current word is to pretend it isn’t “legalize”) pot, it’s an issue that’s off the table.

    The real “tell” here is AGW.  The guys at Reason don’t buy into it, but this so-called libertarian does.  Sorry, I think he’s a liberal who doesn’t like to pay taxes.  He certainly doesn’t sound like somebody who wants to bravely challenge the assumptions of the prevailing society.  I thought the libertarians were into that.

    Besides, social liberalism always comes with a pricetag.

  15. Dan Holmes

    This issue (drug legalization) is the main one that has kept the potential Libertarian Party candidate on the sidelines of serious political power.  The question Governor Johnson got is dreaded by all libertarians who vie for political office, for answering the question of legalization in the affirmative almost always instantly knocks the contender out of the race.

    I believe that marijuana legalization should be the first test case for drug legalization, done by the states, as per the 10th amendment of the Constitution.

    It is not harmless, but it is surely the least harmful of all the illicit drugs currently available, and its use remains extremely popular.

    If one does not agree with full legalization, one can always take solace in the thought that the employed can be discouraged, indeed, almost completely prevented, from using marijuana via random drug testing by one’s employer (it stays in the body’s fat tissue for about 30 days).

  16. katievs

    I don’t agree that there is philosophical inconsistency in being for limited government and against the legalization of pot.  Securing the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness involves protecting the commonweal from public menaces.  Some may not think it’s a menace, but those who do have plenty of evidence supporting their conclusions and they vote accordingly.  (Matt Labash had a great cover story on this topic over at Weekly Standard.  https://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/gone-pot )

    Seems to me the Tea Party is primarily about reining in the federal government and returning more power to the people.  You don’t have to be a libertarian to get on board with that.

  17. Kennedy Smith
    Neal Pierson

    Joshua Riddle, Intern:   In the casual conversation we had after he said he didn’t think driving while stoned was very dangerous.  That’s a questionable statement at best. 

    I dunno. From my experience, I’m extra cautious when driving while stoned. · Jan 18 at 2:06pm

    Ha!  Wish my Like button worked.  I stand firmly with the editorial position of National Review on this.  It’s less destructive than alcohol, we waste far too much money and talent incarcerating people for it, and doing so even interferes with out foreign policy, which seems a wildly misguided set of priorities.

    Paules is right to note the political difficulties.  It’s a taboo, and rubs a lot of people the wrong way.  Even got significant pushback on Ricochet (primarily from chicks; such nannies).

    It may come as a huge surprise to many that I’ve never smoked a doob.

  18. Dan Holmes
    Chris Deleon: I have some common ground with libertarians on economic issues, but after that we part ways, irreconcilably.  Sorry.

    I seem to find that some libertarians (who only recently can be said to have joined with conservatives in greater numbers) are now busy evangelizing and proselytizing for their pet non-conservative causes (such as pot legalization, gay marriage, etc.).  Some are also actively putting down social conservatives and their organizations. · Jan 18 at 2:49pm

    Edited on Jan 18 at 02:50 pm

    To me, the gay marriage issue is partly economic.  I am against it because I think gays want State-sanctioned marriage so they can then accrue the economic benefits derived therefrom.  

    As for pot legalization, there is an appealing economic argument for that as well; i.e., free up law enforcement resources for more dangerous and heinous crimes.

    As to libertarians impugning social conservatives–this is something I’ve never seen, and totally anathema to libertarian philosophy.

  19. Sisyphus

    I would like to second flownover of Missouri, the “Show Me” State (#12). As a libertarian, I am with Milton Friedman, who, on Uncommon Knowledge, insisted that he wanted his policy recommendations to prevail by consensus, never by fiat. 

  20. Michael Labeit

    Good job Tea Party people. So much for their limited government principles. Aggravating.

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