Barack doesn#039;t blow it

by Beacon Staff • March 28, 2007

it feels like-each one of the potential future leaders has been scrutinized over past indiscretions.One such tidbit to emerge was admission by Sen.,Ever since the nation was bitten by the 2008 presidential election bug-roughly one day after the 2006 midterm elections,

it feels like-each one of the potential future leaders has been scrutinized over past indiscretions.

One such tidbit to emerge was admission by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to a history of not only marijuana use, but also cocaine use.

Plenty of Americans, still under the illusion that the War on Drugs is a noble fight that can be won, might feel a candidate who has used such a serious

substance is not fit to hold our nation's highest office.This is sheer silliness. In fact, Obama's handling of the issue suggests just the opposite.

Looking back at the historical role that "the drug question" has played in presidential campaigns, Obama's honesty about his experimentation suggests he may be exactly what the country

needs.

When Bill Clinton was asked on MTV during his 1992 campaign if he had ever smoked pot, he replied that he had used the substance but "didn't inhale."

For anyone who has ever taken a toke, Clinton's laughable answer was rightly seen as an example of a man who knows how to weasel his way out of tough questions.

Years later, when Clinton was facing impeachment, he once again displayed his masterful skills of weaseldom by having his questioner define the word "is" while under oath.

Yet again, when Slick Willy found himself between a rock and a hard place, he smooth-talked his way out of it in a fashion many feel characterized his presidency.

Clinton wasn't the only presidential

candidate whose handling of the drug question gave the American electorate a clear view into the style they would govern with.

During the 2000 race, when George W. Bush was repeatedly questioned about his alleged past cocaine use, he dodged the question like it was the Vietnam draft. With the 2000 election mere days away, it was revealed the future president was once arrested for drunk driving

during the height of his alcoholism.

Although he has spoken about his prior love of the drink, the other substances were not something Bush talked about in public.

When it comes to this and other touchy subjects, like torture, unconstitutional wiretapping, faulty intelligence and the exposure of a CIA operative, Dubya has consistently given the impression he'd simply rather not talk about it.

If only we had given the drug question a little more thought.

As our next presidential election

draws closer with each passing broadcast of "Hardball," the question of Obama's potential as a quality president can be previewed by the way he handles the current onslaught of questions regarding his drug history.

In his book "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," Obama talks about his past in an honest and comfortable way.

Openness and transparency: these are things that have been missing from the executive branch for too long now.

After what will have been eight long, frustrating and destructive years of neoconservative governance, many political spectators are already suggesting that Barack Obama's "RFK meets the American dream" image will strike a real chord.

Whether it does or not remains to be seen, but Obama should at least take comfort in the fact that he remained honest in the face of at least one difficult

question.

Barack doesn't blow it.