Pubdate: Thu, 08 Mar 2001
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Section: Inside The Beltway
Copyright: 2001 News World Communications, Inc.
Contact:  202-832-8285
Author: John McCaslin


The last time we wrote about Nicholas Thimmesch II, the then-communications 
director to Rep. Steve Largent, Oklahoma Republican, was voicing 
bewilderment that a candlelight vigil was scheduled on the U.S. Capitol 
Lower Terrace, with the explicit instructions: "Note: NO candles."

"What's a candlelight vigil with no candles?" he wondered.

Now we're pleased (we think) to report that Mr. Thimmesch, son of the late 
Los Angeles Times Syndicate columnist Nick Thimmesch, has become 
communications director for NORML, National Organization for the Reform of 
Marijuana Laws.

Particularly intriguing, given he began his career in the Reagan White 
House, served on the 1992 Bush-Quayle campaign, ditto on the 1996 Dole-Kemp 
campaign, and huddled with conservative moralist Bill Bennett at Empower 
America, among other duties in 15-plus years.

And what would Ronald Reagan say if he knew Mr. Thimmesch was peddling 
marijuana decriminalization?

"I think the Gipper was always for people following their hearts and voting 
with their feet, and by coming to NORML I'm adhering to the Reagan dictum 
of voting with my feet," says Mr. Thimmesch, who says he's delighted with 
the election victory of George W. Bush.

"More than anything, I hope to open dialogue between traditional 
conservatives and the drug reform movement in this country," Mr. Thimmesch 
says, adding he could "no longer idly sit on the sidelines while the nearly 
30-year so-called 'war on drugs' continues to devastate American freedoms 
and constitutionally guaranteed rights.

"For too long it's been libertarian Republicans who've gone to bat on this 
issue. I think the more traditional conservatives and Republicans look at 
the cost effectiveness of the drug war, the damage to our civil rights, the 
essence of freedom that this is all about, the more they will be convinced 
they should change their policies."
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