cannabisnews.com: . . . And Confessing Everything But





. . . And Confessing Everything But
Posted by FoM on August 19, 1999 at 06:18:38 PT
By Richard Cohen
Source: Washington Post
Every once in a while, I have one of those "I-wish-I-wrote-that" moments. That's precisely what happened when I read a Time magazine essay by John F. Stacks about whether or not George W. Bush should be compelled (how?) to reveal whether he ever used illegal drugs, particularly cocaine. 
Until I read Stacks, I would have said "No!" and followed it with an impressively erudite disquisition on the need for even public figures to have some private space. Now, though, I want to know.My reason -- Stacks's reason -- is that using cocaine is a crime for which many go to jail. The issue, then, is not so much what Bush did in the past but whether he is a hypocrite in the present. After all, he is tough as nails on drugs, having supported state legislation mandating jail for anyone caught with cocaine, even less than a gram. Would a bystander with the hearing of a German shepherd have heard him murmur, "There but for the grace of God go I?" It would be nice to know.I happen to think Bush is a Fifth Amendment cokehead. If he had not used the stuff, he would certainly say so. After all, it's not as if he is such a reticent fellow. He has told us much about his past -- his drinking, his carousing, his lost youth, his meandering career path and how he gave up booze and found God. This is a stirring tale, and I am moved every time I hear it.But to quote yet another magazine (the National Review), "If politicians want us to respect their privacy, they will first have to respect it themselves." This, clearly, Bush has not done. He tells us, for example, that he never committed adultery but becomes indignant when the pesky press asks about cocaine use. It is an inconsistent position and leaves us all a bit in the dark: What, if anything, has Bush learned from the life he once led?Why, for instance, does he think that people who use cocaine recreationally ought to go to jail? What about marijuana or, for that matter, heroin? Does he think that if -- just if -- he once used marijuana or cocaine he should have done jail time? Can he empathize with others or, possibly, has his own experience convinced him that we ought to have jail as a deterrent? Should 600,000 people be arrested annually for breaking the marijuana laws? We would like to know.I concede that coming clean is not tantamount to coming to your senses. Bill Clinton and Al Gore admitted to some familiarity with dope (Clinton, you will remember, did not inhale), and yet they have lacked the political will to institute a sane drug policy. Bush, though, is a conservative, albeit a compassionate one. Just as Nixon could go to China, so Bush, as a hard-liner on crime, might question the nation's drug policies. As Texas governor, he has presided over the execution of 98 persons -- even, with some admirable insouciance, a pious woman (Karla Faye Tucker). He has the requisite body count to do something useful.It would be good, too, to hear from Bush about his parents and their values. Incessantly, the lack of values gets mentioned whenever a child goes astray. And sometimes some very astute lawmakers -- Rep. Bob Barr comes to mind -- deduce the connection between bad behavior and the refusal of governments to tack the Ten Commandments to the walls of public buildings. Bush was a self-acknowledged youthful debaucher, and we would like to know if, perhaps, the Ten Commandments were not posted in his house or if his parents, the former president and first lady, failed to instruct him in essential values. Bush might want to say something about that.I don't expect Bush to say anything terribly original or bold about the lessons he has learned from life. Party doctrine insists that all social issues be buried under mounds of goopy bromides, and Bush himself seems to be the sort of person who avoids reflection. He says he's "made mistakes," but he's learned from them. "What matters is who I am today," he has said.I could not agree more, especially when it comes to the strictly personal matters that he has already talked about. But there can be no such disconnect between the past and the present. When Bush says "What I did 20 or 30 years ago, in my judgment, is irrelevant," he's not just turning his back on who he once was but on others who may now be doing what he once did.It seems compassion begins -- and ends -- at home. Thursday, August 19, 1999; Page A21  Copyright 1999 The Washington Post CompanyRelated Articles On Bush:Bush Won't Answer Drug Questions-8/18/99http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread2544.shtml
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 20, 1999 at 18:16:06 PT:
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Friday Aug 20, 1999 06:04 PM PDT San Francisco Examinerhttp://www.examiner.com/Well, excu-u-u-se us!Youthful indiscretions are now inoperative since they haven't been committed during the last 7 years, Twinkies or not!Stop the constant hounding. We'll say this once and only once: We haven't used drugs for the last seven years. Not pot, not cocaine, not heroin, not magic mushrooms, not airplane glue. So get off our back about it.And, speaking hypothetically of course, if we allegedly might have used an illegal substance in any period of time preceding the last seven years, we did not inhale. Not one molecule. If anyone claims to have seen us snorting cocaine, or dancing nude on a piano, we would be forced to conclude that we were unconscious at the time, or in a parallel universe of irrational youthful exuberance that no candidate can be expected to be called to account for.Any former beauty queen we are alleged to have cavorted with in a hotel room was, in fact, simply giving us a back rub after a long, hard day of campaigning.Sure, mistakes were made, and we should blame those mistakes.Any perception of misbehavior must be attributed to youthful indiscretions. It all stems from childhood abuse at the hands of an alcoholic stepfather and overhearing the verbal battles between our mother and grandmother. Plus, Roger stole my comics.If there are any skeletons in our closet, chalk them up to an overindulgence in Twinkies and other forms of junk food. You are what you eat.None of us is a crook. If any of us, for example, is accused of backdating a document, you can rest assured that we were merely memorializing an agreement that had been reached earlier.None of is guilty of lying, or, as Winston Churchill phrased it, "terminological inexactitude." Any prior statements of ours that now might seem to lack verisimilitude may be regarded as inoperative.Any rumors of interaction with hookers, little boys, bighorn sheep or campaign bagmen were the result of our conducting our own personal investigations into matters vital to the preservation of this nation and the Republic for which it stands.We did not have sexual relations with that woman, whazzhername. It all depends what your definition of a real fine smoke is.We'll be glad to answer any and all your inquiries if you will simply state them in a manner that allows us to creatively evade them in the time-honored fashion.Don't let the nattering nabobs of negativism grind us down. We have important work to do for the American people. So we'll just say no to drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll. At this point in time.
Well, excu-u-u-se us!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 20, 1999 at 09:25:39 PT:
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US NY: Editorial: Mr. Bush's Drug DodgesNewshawk: Robert Fieldhttp://www.csdp.org/ Pubdate: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: letters nytimes.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ "But Mr. Bush may need to square his own drug use as a young man with the tough law enforcement policies he espouses as Governor for dealing with youthful drug offenders."MR. BUSH'S DRUG DODGESGov. George W. Bush of Texas has run into a distracting and potentially dangerous patch in his Presidential campaign. The issue is whether he ever used cocaine or other illegal substances during his youth. Mr. Bush has been dancing around the question for several days, creating the impression that he probably did experiment with cocaine and that he believes evasion rather than an honest answer is the best response. The Clinton years have left Americans understandably ambivalent about prying into the private lives of politicians. The country is weary of Mr. Clinton's inability to control his behavior, and sorry for the lost time it cost the President and the nation. But the Clinton experience has also made clear that questions of character and personal conduct can severely distort a Presidency. That is the environment that greets Mr. Bush and the new crop of Presidential candidates. While there is no clear-cut rule about how much personal information they need to provide, more information is almost invariably better than less. That is because efforts to limit information usually just raise more questions, not only among reporters but among voters. Evasion also diminishes those who practice it. Sensitized by Mr. Clinton's 1992 campaign circumlocutions on personal matters, Americans now fear such dodging may be a signal of deeper flaws. Given this history and climate, Mr. Bush would be wise to quit tiptoeing around the issue of drug use, and to stop complaining that he is being unfairly questioned by the press. His statements have become progressively more untenable. At first he refused to respond or gave cryptic answers. Wednesday evening he told The Dallas Morning News that he could satisfy the Federal security clearance requirement of not having used illegal drugs for the last seven years. Yesterday he said he could pass a White House background check under rules going back to 1989, when his father became President. His spokesman later explained that this meant he had not used illegal drugs since 1974. If Mr. Bush never used illegal drugs, he should say so. If he did, he should 'fess up. For one thing, he might find that voters would forgive a youthful indiscretion. Many members of his generation experimented with illegal drugs when they were young. That ought not to disqualify people from holding high office, provided they gave up the habit. But Mr. Bush may need to square his own drug use as a young man with the tough law enforcement policies he espouses as Governor for dealing with youthful drug offenders. Mr. Bush cannot have it both ways on his personal life. He voluntarily proclaimed his marital fidelity, which is surely the most private of subjects. That only adds to the impression that he is hiding something about other aspects of his life. The best course for him is to be honest, and to let the country take his measure. In his campaign, the Governor has emphasized the importance of assuming responsibility for one's own actions. He should be thinking now about how to set a good example.
US NY: Editorial: Mr. Bush's Drug Dodges
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 19, 1999 at 12:05:15 PT:
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Bush Says Drug Question Doesn't Belong In CampaignMICHAEL HOLMESAssociated Press WriterThursday, August 19, 1999 (08-19) 01:18 EDT AUSTIN, Texas (AP) http://www.sfgate.com/George W. Bush says he hasn't used illegal drugs within the past seven years, while insisting that such personal issues have no place in the 2000 presidential race. Click the link to read the complete article.http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/cnews/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/1999/08/19/politics0118EDT0448.DTL
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 19, 1999 at 09:55:32 PT:
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ROANOKE, Va.George W. Bush Said Today That He...Boston Globehttp://www.boston.com/By Associated Press08/19/99 11:34 ROANOKE, Va. George W. Bush said today that he could have passed stringent background checks for illegal drug use when his father was president, from 1989-1993. In his most specific comments to date about an issue he insists he doesn't want to discuss, Bush told reporters today, ''Not only could I have passed in today's White House, I could have passed the standards applied under the most stringent conditions when my dad was president, a 15-year period.'' Bush spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said the Republican presidential front-runner was saying that he has not done illegal drugs at any time since 1974, when the 53-year-old Bush was 28. ''Over 20 years ago, I did some things ... I made some mistakes and I learned from those,'' Bush said today. ''That's all I intend to talk about.'' Asked if Bush could have met the standard when his father was vice president, from 1981-1989, Tucker said, ''My understanding is he was answering questions regarding when his dad was president, not vice president.'' She said Bush would not go into any more detail about his earlier years. Boyden Gray, White House counsel for President Bush, said the younger Bush never was asked to undergo a background check while his father was president. The Bush White House asked staff members if they had done any illegal drugs in the last 15 years. Bush was peppered for the second straight day with questions about whether he had ever used illegal drugs. ''I'm going to tell people that we need to clean up the process. I'm going to tell people that the politics of personal destruction have got to end,'' he said. ''I'm going to tell people that I made mistakes and that I've learned from those mistakes. And if they like it, I hope they give me a chance, and if they don't like it, they can find somebody else to vote for.'' Bush, who has avoided talking about the drug issue, said he thought it was relevant to ask whether he could pass a federal background check that he would subject his own employees to. ''The answer is absolutely,'' he said. The drug questions came as the Texas governor visited the West End Center for Youth. ''You can be governor too, but you've got to make the right choices,'' he told one child. ''When someone says drugs are cool, you've got to say drugs are not cool.'' Afterward, Bush toured the city market area downtown. A man, carrying a big green sign with the word ''snort,'' yelled, ''Just answer the question. Did you do it? Don't feed the frenzy, just answer the question. Al Gore answered the question.'' Bush testily refused to answer questions Wednesday about whether he had ever used illegal drugs, insisting that such personal issues have no place in the 2000 presidential race. But later in the day, The Dallas Morning News asked him about the requirement that federal employees answer questions about drug use to get high-level security clearances. ''As I understand it, the current form asks the question, 'Did somebody use drugs within the last seven years?' and I will be glad to answer that question, and the answer is 'No,''' he told the newspaper. At Wednesday's news conference, Bush said rumors about his personal life were ''ridiculous and absurd,'' possibly planted by political opponents. ''You know what happens? Somebody floats a rumor and that causes you to ask a question,'' Bush told reporters. ''And that's the game in American politics, and I refuse to play it.'' Since his first campaign for Texas governor in 1994, Bush has declined to answer some questions about his past. Bush has said he quit drinking alcohol 13 years ago, when he turned 40. And in the wake of the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bush said he's been faithful to his wife of more than 20 years. The governor's campaign says Bush believes there is a line to be drawn between legitimate questions about his record and other inquiries. ''Important facts that people deserve to know about are how he's fulfilled his duties as governor, father, husband and employer. Those are relevant questions,'' said Bush spokesman Scott McClellan. ''He is going to take this on and say, `Enough is enough.' If that leads to mistaken assumptions about his past, that's fine with him. He's not going to itemize for the children of America and his daughters, who are watching, everything he did or did not do in the past,'' McClellan said. Comedians have capitalized on Bush's refusal to answer the drug question. An Aug. 11 monologue by Jay Leno on ''The Tonight Show'': ''Bush has come under fire lately for not answering questions about possible cocaine use. Well, today, he came out for mandatory drug testing. He says he is for it. In fact, he said, 'Look, whatever drugs you've got, bring them by. I will test them.''' Clinton, while seeking the White House in 1992, also faced questions about drug use. ''When I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two and didn't like it,'' Clinton said. ''I didn't inhale and I didn't try it again.'' An opinion poll taken earlier this year indicated Americans are about evenly divided on the question of whether the public needs to know about a candidate's past drug use. Just over half said ''yes'' in the February CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. An AP survey of 11 presidential hopefuls on Wednesday found that both the Democrats Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley have acknowledged trying marijuana. Eight Republicans said they hadn't used illegal drugs. The campaigns offered differing opinions on whether the question should be asked. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said, ''I think Governor Bush is making a big mistake in not settling that issue and getting it behind him. ... Why not just say you didn't, if you didn't? And if he did, say why and how he's overcome it.'' ''Every candidate has a responsibility to decide what questions are appropriate and how they are going to respond,'' said Gore spokesman Roger Salazar. In Texas, former Gov. Ann Richards, whom Bush ousted in 1994, faced drug use questions from a Democratic primary election rival when she first sought the party's nomination in 1990. A recovering alcoholic, Richards openly discussed her drinking and her recovery, but she refused to answer the drug question. She won the primary, and GOP candidate Clayton Williams didn't raise the drug issue. Neither did Bush four years later. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 19, 1999 at 08:59:07 PT:
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What Candidates Say About Drug Use! Should they have to answer the question? http://www.msnbc.com/ ASSOCIATED PRESS The presidential campaigns were asked Wednesday if the candidates had ever used illegal drugs and whether they believed that the question is appropriate. Here are their responses: Click the link to read the complete article.
What Candidates Say About Drug Use!
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