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.

Tags: Jim Webb (all tags)



Jim Webb is one of the most interesting Pols

out there.

I think he leans too hard right for me on a number of issues, but I agree, he is probably the most willing to cut through to the crux of the issue.

As a follow-on, I would love Webb come out and state the obvious.

We have over 1/2 a million prisioners incarcerated for pot related charges, and we are basically funding a civil war in Mexico with the money from pot sales.

We need to move first to decriminalization, then eventually to full legalization, control and taxation of pot like alcohol.

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-30 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Webb is one of the most interesting Pols

Most of the Mexican Drug War cartels earn the big money from cocaine, not pot. There are many good reasons to decriminalize pot but it won't end Mexican cartels or violence.

by Lolis 2009-03-30 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb

This guy is the real deal-- an honest and principled man.  I also don't agree with him on everything, but this is a really big issue, and he is the only one with the courage to bring it to light right now.

He's got my support for as long as he stays in politics.

by Rooktoven 2009-03-30 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb

In some ways, it takes a Jim Webb to take on this issue.  It has such a potential to create a political firestorm that you really need someone who has the correct stage presence.  Young, good-looking, war vet, no-nonsense.  The uninformed get the sense that he's doing this out of a sense of justice and not because he's "soft on crime" (gagging a little).  

It's too bad that the Hollywood mentality has pervaded our society to this extent, but I'm glad that we have the right optics on our side for now.  I just can't see all of those pre-pubescent Fox News types getting a lot of mileage out of calling Jim Webb "weak".

by the mollusk 2009-03-30 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb

That's absolutely right. Many progressives don't seem to realize that sometimes a centrist or even conservative has to be the one to say "enough!" beacause it's too toxic politically tobe handled otherwise.

by spirowasright 2009-03-30 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb

Actually they do realize that. It is centrists like Bayh and Landrieu that don't.

Webb did get a lot of support from progressives during his election because progressives are pragmatic too. It wasn't just the macaca incident.

by Pravin 2009-03-30 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb

It is incredible how much crime is committed inside of state prisons that is just accepted as the norm and goes without prosecution. Like any civil right like gender identity rights or any other civil issue, the right to be free of criminality while serving a prison term needs to be addressed and action taken.

Thankful that Webb is addressing this bane on liberal democracy.

by MainStreet 2009-03-30 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb

is the greatest one term Senator EVER!

by QTG 2009-03-30 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb
You know when people make excuses for guys like Bayh and that he needs to act more conservative because he is from a Red State, I want to tell them that they need to use principle to guide their decisions and fight harder to sell the right thing instead of fighting harder to oppose the President to pander to their voters. They actually have an advantage over a self proclaimed liberal because they do not have the baggage of a label to support a reform that can be perceived as liberal.
Look at Webb. He will face less pushback on any possible drug reform deal compared to Obama personally asking for it.
by Pravin 2009-03-30 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb

Webb was able to get an article published in Parade magazine yesterday. This is a great way to reach out to the mainstream and reach a very large audience. Maybe it is finally the right time -- and Webb the right person -- to challenge the prison-industrial complex.

by RandomNonviolence 2009-03-30 02:25PM | 0 recs


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