Mel Martinez might not be Central Florida's only link to the Bush White House. Former campaign workers for rejected Senate candidate Bill McCollum are giddily assessing the 20-year conservative congressman's chances to become the nation's drug czar.
That's horrid news for anyone whose views on drug issues are the least bit progressive: In Congress, McCollum was the antithesis of anything forward-thinking. He single-handedly quashed a medical marijuana movement and pushed laws seeking to try juvenile drug offenders -- some as young as 14 -- as adults. In his most disgusting attempt to trample the Fourth Amendment, McCollum suggested giving cops a "good faith" loophole around search-and-seizure protections.
"His drug-war philosophy," says David Borden, of the Drug Reform Coordination Network, "is extremely reckless."
Another discouraging candidate is James McDonough, Florida's current drug czar. Not long ago, McDonough was revealed to be exaggerating the number of deaths associated with "club drugs" to promote a crackdown on the rave scene. He and McCollum both advocate toxins to eradicate the state's marijuana crop -- toxins, the state Department of Environmental Protection warns, that could wipe out just about any other plant as well.
And we thought Barry McCaffrey was reactionary.