Sometimes, the truth of an issue runs way too deep to let general ideological differences or even past animosities interfere with cooperation. Last night, Judy Woodruff shone a light on a very strange limited political-partnership indeed. Ben Jealous and Grover Norquist are working together to fight for major reform of America's unfair, destructive and way too expensive penal system. No. Really.
Key points from the transcript:
Ben Jealous: So, on the one hand, we know that, for instance, drug rehab, dollar for dollar, is seven times more effective for dealing with nonviolent drug addicts, which are the bulk of people in prison, than jail or prison. On the other hand, we also know that, if you look, for instance, at the state of California, when California was known to really have the best public universities in the entire world, like in the '70s and '80s, they were spending 3 percent of their state budget on prisons and 11 percent on their colleges and universities.
Grover Norquist: And when you look at it, you're seeing a lot of people are sent to prison who perhaps ought not to be in prison, in terms of some cost-benefit analysis. And, again, we're conservatives. I think there are a bunch of people who deserve to be in prison forever. I think there are some people that deserve to be in prison for a long time. I don't get weepy about the whole idea. But we are keeping some people in prison who might be better off in drug rehabilitation or under other kinds of house arrest or other kinds of control, other than very expensive prisons.
Beyond the fact that I deeply support substantial overhaul of the corrections culture, this seems to me to be the way America is supposed to work. Put aside the differences. Get together. Move forward.