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Jewish World Review Dec. 2, 2002 / 27 Kislev, 5763

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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Consumer Reports

An issue for Bush: Drugs | In his January State of the Union speech, President Bush should open a new front in his domestic agenda by issuing a strong demand for curbs on drug use in the United States, particularly among young people.

After the enactment of his tax cut and education agendas in the first year of his administration, the president has not found a big idea around which to group his domestic programs. Expanding the war on drugs to cut demand for narcotics at home could be just such an issue.

At some point, Bush will run out of countries in his war on terror. Most likely, the Iraqi situation will be well on its way to solution by the end of 2003, and the war on terror will alternate between vigorous efforts at homeland defense and busts of terrorists worldwide. Bush needs a cutting edge issue to take with him into the election of 2004. Drugs is the issue he should use.

Polls show that over 70 percent of Americans support mandatory drug testing in high schools, provided that parental consent is required. The U.S. Supreme Court has, at least partially, cleared the way for widespread drug testing by its decision this year affirming drug tests as a prerequisite for participation in any high school extra-curricular activities.

Bush should propose a national program to cut drug use, both to save a generation of American kids and to dry up funds that permit narco-terrorists to wreak havoc in the civilized world. Drug use is just the kind of good vs. evil issue at which this president excels and about which he can speak with passion and conviction. Specifically, Bush should call for:

1. A national program of mandatory, random drug testing in high schools - given prior consent by the students' parents or guardians. The consent feature is not only necessary politically, but it will also help the program pass constitutional muster. By involving parents, the schools become an arm of the family in their personal efforts to stop drugs from infecting their families;

2. Treatment and counseling for students who are using drugs along with repeated drug testing to measure their progress;

3. Tax credits for companies that institute drug testing for their employees. If the business community helps the government in drying up the market for drugs, they should get tax breaks for doing so; and

4. By drawing the link between terrorism and drugs, Bush can make the ultimate argument against drug trafficking - that it funds evil in the world and must be stopped. Bush needs to say that we must not put all our emphasis on protecting our borders and cracking drug cartels. As long as there is demand, there will be supply. We must stop subsidizing the drug lords with the money of our children.

Politically, the issue will split the Democratic Party in half. The left will be unable to endorse drug testing and the center will be unable to oppose it. Bush will have found the perfect political issue to rally his troops.

But, more to the point, he will have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, both of students who will not be ensnared with drugs and of Latin Americans who will not find their nations vandalized and, ultimately, captured by drug lords and their mercenary troops.

What better way is there to predict which kids need special help than to find out who is using drugs? By identifying these children and targeting them for 12-step anti-drug therapy, we can bring mental health and perhaps a sense of spirituality to our most disturbed young people.

The testing and counseling must not give these kids a criminal record and the police should not have access to the information. But we should use drug testing to spot those who need special help and get it to them before it becomes too late.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.


11/27/02: Women gone wobbly?
11/25/02: The U.N. over a barrel
11/15/02: Gore's suicide
11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2002, Dick Morris