by Josh Orton, Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 08:24:30 AM EDT
I couldn't agree more with Glenn's assessment of Jim Webb's decision to tackle prison reform:
There are few things rarer than a major politician doing something that is genuinely courageous and principled, but Jim Webb's impassioned commitment to fundamental prison reform is exactly that.
What's most notable about Webb's decision to champion this cause is how honest his advocacy is. He isn't just attempting to chip away at the safe edges of America's oppressive prison state. His critique of what we're doing is fundamental, not incremental. And, most important of all, Webb is addressing head-on one of the principal causes of our insane imprisonment fixation: our aberrational insistence on criminalizing and imprisoning non-violent drug offenders (when we're not doing worse to them).
There was a time when I wanted Obama to choose Webb as his running mate. While some said Webb's stubborn aversion to campaigning and theatrics would have hurt Obama's campaign, I thought it would project a refreshing dissatisfaction with politics that voters would find appealing.
But Obama wasn't really looking for a VP with that strong an orbit, and this new push probably proves that Webb has more clout in the Senate than he'd ever have in the Administration.
Anyway, good stuff.
Webb's full floor speech announcing the initiative (in pdf form) is available for download here.