We don’t expect the teetotaling former Massachusetts governor, who has said he supports the federal ban on marijuana, to take the leafy bait — but there are a few reasons it might not be such a wacky idea, once the GOP field has shaken out and he’s the last man standing.
First, Paul’s supporters could be quite valuable to the eventual GOP nominee. While they’ve been dismissed as the party’s fringe element, they’re young and enthusiastic, two characteristics the party badly needs in the general election. (After all, Romney’s managed to tick off Hispanics, so he needs any constituency he can get his hands on.)
And then there’s Colorado. With medical-marijuana shops on nearly every corner and a libertarian-leaning electorate — not to mention its status as a swing state — the Centennial State could tempt Romney to take a seemingly radical turn on drugs.
Pot legalizers note that he could couch his support in terms of a 10th Amendment argument — essentially saying it should be up to states to decide for themselves. That would allow him to maintain his opposition to legalization while giving a shout-out to social conservatives, who love a good nod to states’ rights.
There’s evidence that the idea of pot legalization is going mainstream — even among Republicans. After all, Pat Robertson endorsed the idea, and approval among voters in recent polls is surprisingly, well, high.
More ‘claptrap’ on Hungary
In October, when last we visited matters Hungarian, Prime Minister Viktor Orban was riding high — constantly criticizing Western Europe, predicting the decline of the West, and praising the Chinese and their system.
But things have gotten a bit rocky. The European Union moved last week to freeze about $650 million in next year’s development aid to Hungary, and the European Commission began investigating whether Orban’s new anti-democratic laws violate European norms.
Orban’s party remains by far the most popular in the country. Tens of thousands or more turned out in Budapest on a national holiday Thursday to hear him, chanting “Viktor, Viktor” as he vowed that Hungarians “won’t be second-class citizens in Europe.”
But an opposition rally also drew a large crowd, and tens of thousands have demonstrated in recent months against the government’s anti-democratic moves. (That may not sound like much, but Hungary’s population is only around 10 million, slightly larger than metro Chicago’s.)
Some flunky for Orban’s regime reacted to another Loop item about the Obama administration’s displeasure with the Hungarian government’s anti-democratic drift by talking about reporters “who use their time off to come up with all sorts of claptrap.”
(Let’s be clear: Whenever we type, we are on the company clock.)
In all fairness, there have been some mixed messages. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Budapest last June, publicly rebuked Orban for his moves to crack down on the media, undermine judicial independence and push through a new constitution favoring his party.