Obama says he doesn’t want to end up a forgotten, no-name president. His refreshingly frank comments on marijuana legalization suggest a big way he could make that happen.
David Remnick’s new, long profile of President Barack Obama in The New Yorker is filled with all sorts of revelatory tidbits, none more interesting than the ones about his vast ambition—“He didn’t want to be Millard Fillmore or Franklin Pierce”—and his softening, though still ambivalent, attitude toward marijuana legalization at the state level. “It’s important for it to go forward,” he said, reversing past statements that were anti-pot.
With just three years left in office and a possible Republican landslide in the fall’s midterm elections, Obama must be in something close to panic mode. His health care plan seems like it’s imploding, his foreign policy and civil liberties record is awful, and the economy is still barely stumbling forward into an uncertain future. Enthusiastically winding down the federal war on pot would be popular with voters and, as important, wouldn’t require immediate cooperation from Congress.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells Remnick that in 2007, Obama explained, “I have no desire to be one of those presidents who are just on the list—you see their pictures lined up on the wall. … I really want to be a President who makes a difference.” But Obama’s approval ratings are mired in the low 40s, a reality he partially—and unconvincingly—attributes to racism: “There’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.” As HotAir’s Ed Morrissey notes, the existence of rump racists completely fail to explain Obama’s two electoral victories and his 60 percent-plus approval ratings at the start of his presidency. A far better explanation is simply that he’s failed to accomplish much of anything the public likes.