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Barack Obama has just chosen a Vice Presidential candidate who has spent much of his career trying to put folks like Barack Obama behind bars.

Right now, the news folks are all falling all over one another talking about what a great VP pick Joe Biden is.  And maybe they are right.  Perhaps, in some way that I don't fathom, picking a long-term Senator and repeat failed Presidential candidate from a state which is a slam-dunk for the Democratic nominee, and is worth a mighty three electoral votes, is brilliant.  Perhaps this man, who rambled on for over 40 minutes when he had his chance to grill Sam Alito before the Senate Judiciary Committee without asking a single question, will really be the brilliant political attack dog that the media says he will.

What troubles me regardless of whether they are right or wrong is that Biden has a terrible history of "leadership" in the War on Drugs, still America's longest-running and most utterly failed war.  Biden was the author of the awful Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (also known, sadly, as the "Biden Act").  This act included the massive expansion of capital punishment, adding sixty different crimes to the list of those for which Federal prosecutors could seek the death penalty.  It eliminated the ability for prisoners to get grants for education while incarcerated.  Biden is also the Chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, and as the head, was the brilliant person who created the cabinet position of "Drug Czar".  He has remained, throughout his career, an ardent drug warrior, sponsoring the RAVE Act in 2003, and leading the attempt to make steroids such as androstenedione, which were abused by professional baseball players, illegal under Federal law.

In other words, exactly the person who was leading the charge to put millions of black men, who experiment with marijuana and cocaine, just like Barack Obama, in prison.  Just the sort of person who has been repeatedly accused by the ACLU and other civil libertarians of drafting laws which abridge the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

So, maybe the talking heads are right, and Biden is the correct choice for Obama's political benefit.  But, from all the available evidence, I believe that Sen. Biden is exactly the sort of person who should not be advanced any further than he has been by anyone with the interests of American citizens at heart.

Originally posted to Jay Elias on Fri Aug 22, 2008 at 11:30 PM PDT.

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