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 A lot of ink and electrons have spilled recently over one candidate’s admitted use of illegal drugs as a young man.  Earlier this month Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire co-chair, Bill Shaheen wandered into the thicket when he said, "The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use."  Shaheen also said Obama's candor on the subject would "open the door" to further questions. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

 The Obama campaign cried foul, calling the remarks "desperate."  Shaheen resigned the next day, and Sen. Clinton personally apologized to Obama.    However, it now appears that was an insincere gesture and that Shaheen was actually right about the attacks, just not where they would come from.

 The latest was Sunday, from a longtime Clinton supporter and Black Entertainment Television founder, Robert L. Johnson, who backpedaled on remarks he made on stage with Sen. Clinton at a packed Martin Luther King event in NYC.  Johnson later explained he was refereeing to Senator Obama’s community work, not his personal drug use.  Few people outside the Clinton camp are buying that explanation.
 (CNN report, Johson, Bill Clinton phone interview)

   We now have a growing generational rift between old school civil rights leaders like Johnson, Al Shapton and even Bill Clinton against Obama.  Michelle Malkin put it well,  "Obama is indebted, but not beholden, to the civil rights gerontocracy."

 With less than two weeks to go the younger Obama supporters and establishment Clintonites battle it out in South Carolina and things there appear to be getting ugly and as one Clinton supporter, state Sen. Darrell Jackson put it, "painful."  Senor writer for The State.com, "South Carolina’s Home Page," Wayne Washington, wrote on Jan. 12,

"The Clinton-Obama battle has the potential to become a wrenching divide for black voters. Historically those voters have been strong backers of Bill and Hillary Clinton. But many black voters now are drawn to the prospect of a black man winning the presidency."

 Going into South Carolina Clinton is walking on eggshells.   She will be met by some angry young black men like state representative, Todd Rutherford, now openly challenging the liberal status quo, "If they are going to call themselves black leaders, and people are running by them to vote for Obama and they are standing there and pointing in the other direction, then maybe they need to be replaced," Rutherford said.

Bill_Hillary_hippies

 It’s clear the spotlight has been unfairly focused on Obama, so what about Hillary?  Did Bill ever share his stash with her?  What was life really like for the twenty-something Hillary in 1971 Summer of Love Berkeley where, as I recall "The air was sweet with hash," and where she and Bill shacked up (lived together) in a cozy apartment on Derby Street, three blocks from People's Park?  What about the numerous reports of drugs, guns and huge loads of cash flying around Mena, Arkansas in the 1980s when she was that state’s first lady, and while making her first million on some rather spectacular investments?  At any rate, Hillary Clinton's web site bio does not mention anything about her possible use of illegal drugs.  Yet even more conspicuous by its absence is any discussion of Bill’s well-known (at least in Arkansas) illegal drug use over the years, or his reported cocaine overdose in 1980, (source).

 Of the so-called "top tier" candidates, no one needs the Cannabis Culture more than John Edwards.  According to OnTheIssues.org, Edwards is another self-admitted toker of the sticky-weed.  By courting the marijuana vote he could motivate millions of voters that see little distinction between Clinton and regardless his candor, Obama, on this particular issue, especially in the pot-friendly west.  

 Edwards has promised to immediately end DEA raids on "legal medical marijuana clubs," primarily in California.  (vid)   In Dec. 2003 Edwards was rated "B-" by VOTE-HEMP, indicating a pro-hemp voting record.

 Coming from most politicians I would not believe it, but from a nerd like Dennis Kucinich who claims he’s never smoked marijuana, I can buy it.  It’s also no surprise one of the smartest members of the House thinks cannabis should be legalized, taxed and regulated like alcohol.  There’s no reason to doubt one of the most honest men in the U.S. Congress, but Dennis you really don’t know what you are missing...

 Why is it important to know about a candidate’s past or present illegal drug use?  

 It’s the hypocrisy and credibility factors.  Why should I support anyone who would punish me, brand me with a criminal record, in a "special" court or subject me to some kind of mandatory drug "treatment" for doing something he or she has admittedly done, or perhaps still does?   Saying it was a "mistake" or a "youthful indiscretion" is all well and good, if it’s honest.  But, how are we to ever know?

 Welcome to Urine America Challenge ’08.  To put and end to all this nonsense, all the candidates should submit to random chemical analysis of their bodily fluids, hair, nails and blood and make all results available to the public.  This isn’t an unreasonable demand.  It’s the same indignity millions of working Americans are regularly subjected to in order to get or hold even a minimum wage job, with no health insurance.  With the fate of the world at his or her fingertips, why should the President be exempt?  

 As fun as it might be to read Hillary’s lab results, there is an even more important drug test I think the candidates need to take.  Call it the Prohibition IQ Test.  It consist of only three, true or false questions:

1. True or false?  Illegal drugs are out of control.

  1. True or false?  Our current drug laws are mostly unenforceable.
  1. True or false?  Our current drug laws are widely ignored, corrupted and mocked by the general public.


 Of course the answer to each of the above is "true."  Going forward then, our intelligent candidates who pass the above test will need to reassess his or her continued support of drug control policies that they admit are essentially just plain stupid, if not racist and elitist.  Policies that don’t actually control drugs yet do incarcerate millions of mostly poor and minority people.  Laws that are, by design, intended to have a much bigger impact on poor people, especially non-white poor people while the vast majority of drug offenders, who are white and middle-class, are safely tucked away behind closed doors, out of reach of the long white arm of the law.  Perhaps worse of all, policies which if left in place too much longer and combined with a sinking economy will result in a massive crime wave, more race and gang wars, and a near total breakdown of law and order along the U.S. Mexican border and in major urban areas across the country.  Meanwhile, the answers to the test above remain the same.

 However admirable candidates admitting past illegal drug use may be, connecting that experience – one that over fifty percent of high school students will also have - to the reality of our drug- and gun-infested schools and streets is, sadly, unheard of on the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.   The debate we so badly need over the nation’s failed drug policy has again been lost in the shuffle.  

 Obama has chosen to play his personal drug use story as the familiar existential tale of youthful folly, regret and lessons learned.  Liberals are expected to admire his candor and acquired wisdom, then politely drop the subject.  It’s been that way since you-know-who and his sideways, "I didn’t inhale."  Progressives have been laughing at that for many years, and now it’s time to take it to the next level.

 On the one hand Obama is holding his experience up as an example why young people today should avoid drugs, as if they could.  However, here was a young man who did drugs and is now a national political figure.  That’s a head spinner.  Especially if you are any of the thousands of young people denied student loans because of a drug conviction.

 So does Obama have a secret plan for drug policy reform?  Thus far he has not proposed anything substantially more or less than Clinton or Edwards.  They are all a breath of fresh air, yet for the most part merely replace the word incarceration with "treatment" and continue to ignore the fundamental problem, adult drug prohibition.

At this link, LIVEFREE, the NH Marijuana Policy Initiative you will find videos of most of the Presidential candidates and their positions on medical marijuana, hemp and drug policy.

OnTheIssues.org, candidates voting records and positions on drug policy.

Originally posted to GreenFloyd on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 02:05 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Another lost war, another unstable border.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MantisOahu, Executive Odor

    Cops pissing on an inferno, and the scum of the earth getting rich.

  •  As long as I'm forced (7+ / 0-)

    to drop my pants like a whore for a paycheck, then every judge, lawyer, and politician who supports the policy should have to suffer the same indignity.

    Any checkout clerk at WalMart has to pee in a cup, but a person in charge of launching nukes doesn't? We've fallen down the rabbit hole, for sure.

    I respect those who admit to their "youthful indiscretions", or whatever they prefer to call it. Obama (and, I'm willing to bet, Bill, Hillary, Edwards, and most of the Repugs) is living proof that casual or recreational use of cannabis does not destroy lives, while rap sheets, on the other hand, do. I believe that's the underlying point that drives "drug warriors" crazy: people like Obama derail the propaganda.

    If life's the best teacher, I'm in all the best schools.

    by Executive Odor on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 02:48:02 AM PST

  •  I love it, although (7+ / 0-)

    I'd much rather we submit all of Congress and their families to mandatory urine tests.  If they're going to waste our time with investigations into sports figures (not that I'm a defender of steroid use - far from it), I'd love to see the hypocrisy on display when the same legislators who go hysterical on the floor when discussing illegal drug use have to backpedal, hedge, and otherwise "explain" why theirs or their family member's urine tests came out, shall we say, tainted?

    (No, I'd never suggest mandatory drug testing for anyone's family members - that's ridiculous.  Although the members of Congress...)

    Maybe the invasive nature of the tests will finally convince some of them to lay off the witchhunt, or at least to reconsider the way we approach the war on drugs.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 02:48:58 AM PST

  •  Well King Bush piss in the cup (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MantisOahu

    and give us a hair sample. Bush does have some real hair left behind the toupee, doesn't he?

    •  Little late for finding anything but legal drugs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jimreyn

      When GW Bush was living on Mid Lane in Houston is when he would have tested positive for coke. That area of upscale apartments and "young professionals" was known as the only place in Houston where it snowed.

      I believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and FOX NEWS...in that order.

      by OHdog on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 05:06:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  do these people think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Theghostofkarlafayetucker

    that attacks against obama's drug use are working with the democratic base? i would bet most blue state folks have used and/or still use some recreational drugs. as far as i am concerned when they attack "drug use" they are attacking me. i will remember on primary day.

    The Natives are Restless

    by MantisOahu on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 03:10:23 AM PST

  •  Look. It is this simple. Politics is Hardball. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    Every negative thing about any major candidate is going to be trotted out and used against him or her.

    It is not unfair.

    Things that are unfair are unsubstantiated claims like the swiftboating of John Kerry but saying things that are true are not unfair.

    Obama did drugs by his own admission.

    We have just lived through seven years with a former coke head as President.

    It is a legitimate question to ask if we want to brush that fact aside and risk living the next eight with another one.

    I know lots of people who do drugs or who did drugs. I don't know any of them that I would say are truly cured and I would certainly not vote for any of them for President.

    •  You probably know lots of people (0+ / 0-)

      who smoke a little weed on the sly, too. They may sit beside you in church, or write you a traffic ticket.

      Bush also abused alcohol, which probably did the most damage -- assuming he isn't naturally stupid.

      If life's the best teacher, I'm in all the best schools.

      by Executive Odor on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 03:32:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why is it taboo to bring this up? (0+ / 0-)

      Obama admitted to using cocaine in his teens, yet we cannot even discuss it during the primary without being acused of racism.  I'm sorry, but using cocaine is NOT OK.

      And what will the GOP do in the fall with this if Obama is the Democratic nominee?  Is there really any question?  It will be all coke all the time.  They will trot out some character who claims to have supplied obama with his cocaine.  And then they will tie that guy to some terrible crime and blame Obama for funding him.

      And no one will be able to discuss the issues because of the noise created by this "scandal".

  •  This Drugs in Arkansas crap is crap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    What about the numerous reports of drugs, guns and huge loads of cash flying around Mena, Arkansas in the 1980s when she was that state’s first lady, and while making her first million on some rather spectacular investments?

     Thanks for the Republican pile of shit. All the cocaine flights into Arkansa were part of Reagan-Bush (mainly Bush the first) dirty war in Central America. Governor Ann Richards turned Bush down in allowing unregulated CIA flights to land in Texas but they were allowed in Arkansas.

    I believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and FOX NEWS...in that order.

    by OHdog on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 04:59:40 AM PST

  •  No drug tests without probable cause. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, brentmack

    Period.

    On the other hand, there's more than enough probable cause for psychiatric evaluations of our Prez and VP. They are obviously a danger to others.

    •  Wanting a job IS probable cause. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soros, marina

      Drug users are known to work to earn money for buying drugs.

      Every last one of you should be tested weekly to ensure compliance with the law.[/snark]

      All candidates should be drug-tested.

      All cops who fire their guns should be tested every single time. Cops who kill innocent people - like those assholes here in Atlanta in 2006 - drug test them. Cops are such massive hypocrites and liars. Test 'em.

      I hate drug testing with a special passion. IT's a tool of oppression.

      If you're flying a plane...maybe a drug test isn't all that horrible... if you are watering flowers at Home Depot... no... you shouldn't be drug tested.

      People who support prohibition are simply dumb. I want to piss them off enough that they feel compelled to attempt to write defenses of their stupid shit.

      Hey... I'm just a messenger.

      •  Hey Messenger (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xxdr zombiexx

        Appreciate your snark.

        I know that when I'm at K-mart, I want to be sure those pothead cashiers are transferring my money to the corporation and not spending it to smoke LSD. God knows what they do after work! They probably get the munchies, and then take a nap. What criminals!

        Meanwhile, BushCo and CEOs are ripping us off for billions, killing hundreds of thousands; sociopaths are destroying the nation.

        But we'd better make sure those potheads don't get into our system. They might wreak havoc! Especially the medical patients.

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