Slate notes that Vice President Joe Biden sponsored the legislation that created the job 21 years ago, so it was fitting that on Wednesday he announced the Obama administration’s choice for drug czar: Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske. The announcement thrilled neither progressive anti-prohibition groups, which dislike the idea of a career cop in charge of drug policy, nor conservative anti-drug groups, which distrust Kerlikowske’s record on enforcement.
Like Obama, Kerlikowske is a pragmatist. Both as a candidate and as president, Obama has repeatedly pledged allegiance to “what works.” And most analysts agree that, since its inception in the 1970s, the drug war has not worked. Meanwhile, the Office of National Drug Control Policy soldiers on, as expensive and ineffective as ever. If Kerlikowske’s record is any indication, he is just the man to clean up this mess.