nearly confirmed as Drug Czar
President Bush's hard-line nominee to head
the Office of National Drug Control Policy won approval of his
nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 8th,
but as the Razor Wire went to press no further action had been
taken. John Walters, a protege of former drug czar William Bennett,
saw his nomination approved on a 14-5 vote. The nomination will
now go to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass.
The Walters' nomination had been strongly criticized
by drug reformers and some senators because of Walters' positions
on, among other things, racial disparities in the criminal justice
system (what racial disparities?), government sponsorship of
drug treatment (the liberal nanny state), and mandatory minimum
sentences for drug offenders (a good thing).
Now, having been approved in committee and likely to win approval
from the full Senate, Walters is on the verge of completing the
Bush administration's hard-line drug policy trio. He will join
Attorney General John Ashcroft and DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson,
both of whom have recently and decisively demonstrated their
contempt toward a civilized drug policy. Walters should fit in
perfectly with this punitive crowd.
The five senators who voted against the Walters nomination are
Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Biden (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles
Schumer (D-NY), and Ted Kennedy (D-MA).