Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Drug Stigma

A story broke yesterday that “a high-ranking advisor to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign said Wednesday that rival Barack Obama's public admission that he has used cocaine and marijuana could seriously hinder the Illinois senator’s chances of winning a general election matchup.” It wasn’t long before that high ranking official, Bill Shaheen, back tracked from his comments and resigned from his role in the Clinton campaign. Whether this dig was calculated or truly a gaffe is up for debate among political pundits. Either way, it’s taken the national media’s attention off the fact that Obama is surging in Iowa.

On a related note, George Bush talked about his struggle with alcohol abuse in an interview with ABC admitting that had never been a "knee-walking drunk," but that "I doubt I'd be standing here if I hadn't quit drinking whiskey, and beer, and wine and all that." Tom Brokaw also revealed in his new book, “The Greatest Generation,” that “he did inhale, and not just once.” Finally, earlier this year, New York Mayor Michal Bloomberg may have given marijuana use a ringing endorsement when he said that not only had he tried it, but enjoyed it.

This leads me to wonder if past drug use, legal or illegal, is losing its stigma. If anything, voters appreciate the candor, but the brutal truth is that it wouldn’t be brought up if it didn’t still impact how voters perceive a candidates’ judgment. Undoubtedly, if Obama gets the nod, his admitted drug use will come up again.

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