Editor’s Note: In this, the penultimate installment of our series of profiles of the Republican presidential candidates, guest blogger Kelsey Harclerode examines the policy stances of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and finds them–like the rest of his candidacy–completely unsurprising and largely uninspiring.
Willard Mitt Romney: the Republican candidate you hate to love. As our friends at Stop the Drug War have pointed out, Romney has done his best to avoid establishing a clear drug policy. But despite his best efforts, a review of his actions as the Governor of Massachusetts and his statements on the 2008 and 2012 campaign trail have established one for him—which might best be summed up by the chorus of En Vogue’s hit “My Lovin’ (Never Gonna Get It).” As in, “never gonna get” legal medical marijuana, “never gonna get” a true end to the drug war, and—as so often seems the case for Romney—“never gonna get” a distinctive or ideologically coherent overall policy.
Like the majority of the Republicans in the race, Romney supports the drug war…at least most of the time. During his time as the Governor of Massachusetts, he had a generally “tough on drug crime” stance: in 2004 he supported a crackdown on drunk drivers that aimed to bring Massachusetts’ notoriously lax penalties into line with federal norms. In 2005, his administration introduced legislation that would increase the penalties and fines for those charged with possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamines. And Romney proposed legislation that would provide funding for school districts that drug tested their students (though there is little evidence that many districts took him up on this offer).
His positions on the international dimensions of the war on drugs are a little less clear.