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Sunday, February 20, 2023
Drug Use and Politics
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:25 pm

It would seem that the only nugget of interest in the Bush Tapes is the sideways admission that he used drugs: New Tapes Say Bush May Have Smoked Marijuana.

Here’s my question: does this matter? I am of the opinion that we have hit a point in American politics that, on balance, youthful drug use is not anywhere near as big a deal as it was even twenty years ago (remember the withdrawal over the college days pot smoking of Reagan Supreme Court nominee Ginsburg?). A decade and a half ago Clinton was the first baby boomer candidate, and we had the inevitable brouhaha over whether he smokes or not, but that was marked as much by his “I did not inhale” minuet as anything else.

A student who was reading Senator Obama’s autobiography noted that in it he admits to some drug usepresidential or veep run, but I am wondering if that really matters anymore. Hiding having done it hurts (look at Bush’s DUI), and certainly doing it now would be a problem, but is it a career killer in today’s politics if one used drugs when one was young and stupid?


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PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » More on the Politics of Drug Use linked with [...] More on the Politics of Drug Use By Steven Taylor @ 11:40 am My main point about the post on Drug Use and Politics that was inspired by the Bush Tapes and the seeming marijuana revel [...]


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  • pt
    1. The Bush Tape
      The local news hyped up this story about “President Bush made some amazing admissions on tape. Stay tuned for your local news at 10.” I naturally was drawn in.

      It turns out the whole big deal is that he may have smoked Marijuana. Who cares? For a …

      Trackback by Morph3ous's Weblog — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 10:12 pm

    2. Oh, man this brings back memories. Like there was this one time that like some of my like buddies and I like uh, um… well, we were like kinda bored, you know and so we… um, like you know, like we got some stuff and like… I forgot what I was going to say.

      I think I need some Doritos right about now.

      Comment by John Lemon — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 11:26 pm

    3. I don’t think it is, and I don’t think it should be. What a bizarre coincidence, though, that this story and this discussion occurs as we learn of Hunter S. Thompson’s suicide.

      The two lessons we can draw from these stories? 1. Own up to your past, and 2. Drugs can kill. Thompson’s life was a mess. And he was so brilliant

      Comment by Bill Hennessy — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 11:58 pm

    4. For my part, I think hiding mistakes is far worse than making them. I disagree with Bush’s position about disclosing drug use, even though his consistency on the point is remarkable. His daughters problems in college demonstrate that, while honesty may not have prevented them from getting wild, hiding his own past certainly didn’t stop them, either.

      Comment by Bill Hennessy — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 12:03 am

    5. I have to ask, would moderate drug use make a difference in performance today? Keith Richard has the occasional dose of heroin, and it does not adversely affect his life.

      Maybe what our leaders need is a pre-conference toke to put them in the right mood.

      Comment by Alan Kellogg — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 4:42 am

    6. I think that the operating principle is: “It’s OK if you are a Republican.” Don’t grieve for lost moral values. Once Democrats get back in, I am certain that Republicans will once again find their moral center and condemn durg use, man-whoring, and state funded propaganda.


      Comment by jri — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 8:24 am

    7. what I see within this story is that Bush, at the most, admits to trying pot. In no way is he saying he did any more then that. He isn’t saying that he smoked it on a consistent basis. It could have been like a kid sneaking a cigarette, and never touching it again.

      PS: was there supposed to be more in the 3rd paragraph, between usepresidential? That happens to me on my laptop alot.

      Comment by William Teach — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 10:41 am

    8. That’s the thing. I don’t recall such a casual reaction among conservatives when it was Bill Clinton or Al Gore admitting to marijuana use.

      Comment by Harry — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 10:44 am

    9. jri/Harry:

      I think you misunderstand my point. I am not, per se, trrying to down play Bush’s usage (and note I mentioend Barak Obama in my post as well). What I am trying to do is note that these things evolve. Yes, Clinton took heat for “not inhaling” but he has also served two terms as President. If he had been running in the early 80s, rather than the early 90s, the marjiuana thing (and the draft thing) would have meant he would have lost the nomination.

      Comment by Steven Taylor — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 11:09 am

    10. I think the Ginsburg mess may be a poor example, given that what he owned up to wasn’t simply smoking pot in college, but with his students, while a professor.

      Otherwise, I think you’re right on, however: Why should a public official have to deal with charges that he engaged in activity that is treated, today, as akin to a traffic violation?

      Comment by Tom — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 11:43 am

    11. I’m actually not too certain it is “evolving”. I have a funny feeling that if Democrats come back into power, the attitudes of Republicans will suddenly shift back to times “where we had higher moral fiber”. And the excuse (the reason for going viciously after the Democrat) will be that we are “sick of the degridation of morality in this country”.

      That’s speculative on my part, but I bet I’m right.

      Comment by goyen1 — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 12:28 pm

    12. And just to add a little to what I am saying above.

      Dems truly are more lenient with issues such as this. So even though you might get some Dems TRYING to make a big deal out of it for political purposes, most Dems, (like me), look at it and say “big deal”, I dont see it as a major transgression.

      But, I think most Republicans DO think its a big deal, but when they guy is already elected, what can you do? So you tend to forgive, especially since he’s on the Republican side now, and doesnt appear to be smoking dope now.

      But if it was a Democrat then Republicans arent as forgiving, because he is an outsider to Republicans. He isn’t “one of us”. Therefor, the same forgiveness that you would extend to a friend (Republican), you wouldnt extend to an opponent (Democrat).

      Seems like human nature to me.

      Comment by goyen1 — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 12:37 pm

    13. Yes, but griping is one thing, stopping someone from being a viable candidate is another.

      Comment by Steven Taylor — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 12:43 pm

    14. I like Ann’s suggestion. Let’s elect Keith Richards to some high office (no pun intended). I mean, that guy has lived through everything, so he’s kind of like the closest thing we have to Superman.

      Comment by John Lemon — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 1:11 pm

    15. The Bush Tapes
      First of all, the common theme of revelations were, “Yeah, I kind of figured that.” First of all, dealing with religion and President Bush’s religious beliefs. A lot of things I had assumed were confirmed by statements made on the tapes. For instanc…

      Trackback by The Methodist Democrat — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 4:39 pm

    16. […] More on the Politics of Drug Use
      By Steven Taylor @ 11:40 am
      My main point about the post on Drug Use and Politics that was inspired by the Bush Tapes and the seeming marijuana revel […]

      Pingback by PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » More on the Politics of Drug Use — Monday, February 21, 2023 @ 5:43 pm

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