Obama’s Drug Use A Bad Example

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - November 28, 2007

In a recent speech to a New Hampshire group of high students, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama admitted to his past.

“I will confess to you that I was kind of a goof-off in high school ...”

OK, who didn’t “goof off” a bit when we were younger? Fine.

But then his comments about his youth continued: “You know, I’ve made some bad decisions that I’ve actually written about. You know, got into drinking. I experimented with drugs. There was a whole stretch of time that I didn’t really apply myself a lot.”

Pretty revealing stuff from a politician whose colleagues would mostly shy away from such personal revelations.

The interesting aspect of this story (for most) may be the admission that a presidential candidate has used drugs, drank alcohol and skipped school. In the gotcha world of big-time politics, it is rare to hear such candor from a contender. Perhaps he felt compelled to share his story in light of recent comments attributed to and denied by fellow rival Hillary Clinton.

It appears the ever clever Clinton Inc. alluded to having in its possession embarrassing information about Obama, yet chose not to release it as not to damage a fellow Democrat. It could be that Team Obama thought it be best to dredge out some of the skeletons in the proverbial closet.

Hold on. Barack wrote all about these escapades in his book, Dreams of My Father. So, why the disclosure of his high school dalliances in front of a group of high school students?

I believe every single move a candidate makes is as choreographed as a Bruce Lee movie. It was no accident he spoke about this in front students. Sen. Obama clearly wanted to dispel any notion he would shrink from the challenges a candidate faces. He could have come out and decried the actions of the Clinton campaign, but he knows that performance would be viewed as Obama reacting to a Clinton agenda instead of advancing his own. Secondly, his comments put himself squarely in the news cycle with about six weeks before the Iowa caucus. In such a compacted primary season, this can only be viewed as a positive strategic move. Lastly, Obama is taking a calculated risk that his revelation of mediocrity and drug use would actually personalize him in the eyes of Democratic voters. Hillary is viewed as such an icy personality that by sharing his questionable, yet common, behaviors in school, it will endear himself to voters and confirm that he is more like them than Clinton.

There was a time when proclamations of such activities would torpedo a candidate. Well, it still would. Could you imagine a statement like Obama’s being made by Giuliani, Romney, Thompson or Huckabee? The press would be all over them like white on rice. But the press treats Obama’s comments with some kind of reverence. There is no criticism. There is no gnashing of editorial teeth. There is no call for the ending of his campaign. It must be good to be a Democratic candidate.

By the way, remember that Obama grew up in Hawaii and attended Punahou School. According to the hopeful future president of the United States, “I went to school in Hawaii, so there was a lot of opportunity to goof off because the weather is really good all the time.”

So, that’s the Hawaii high school experience? Is that the Punahou School experience? It’s amazing that a man who wants to lead the free world would tell an audience of high school students that his high school experience was rife with drinking, taking drugs and goofing off. In essence, his message was, “Do what I did and you could be president.” Talk about a green light to play in the red zone ...

Remember, one of the primary criticisms and concerns of former President Bill Clinton’s extracurricular activities with Monica Lewinsky was that kids would experiment with or justify oral sex because “the president did it”? Whether intended or not, Sen. Barack Obama has done a similar disservice with his cathartic, self-serving commentary.

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