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  Explaining Why They Didn't Inhale
Posted by CN Staff on November 08, 2003 at 16:05:54 PT
By Steven A. Holmes 
Source: New York Times  

cannabis The question during the debate, held in front of an audience of twenty-somethings in Boston, was inevitable. The answers showed how much the times have changed.

"Which of you are ready to admit to having used marijuana in the past?" Anderson Cooper, the moderator of last Tuesday's "Rock the Vote" debate on CNN, asked eight of the nine Democratic presidential candidates (Representative Richard A. Gephardt, was not there).

"Yes," said Senator John Kerry, leading off. "Yes," said Senator John Edwards . "Yes," said Dr. Howard Dean.

None of these three baby-boomer candidates said anything beyond their short, declarative affirmations. None followed with a hurried explanation that it was just a few times, that it was some kind of "youthful indiscretion," or that he didn't inhale. The implication of their answers seemed to be, "Yeah, so what?"

In fact, the defensive answers tended to come from those replying in the negative.

"No," said Representative Dennis J. Kucinich. "But I think it ought to be decriminalized."

"I grew up in the church," said the Rev. Al Sharpton. "We didn't believe in that."

"Well, you know, I have a reputation for giving unpopular answers at Democratic debates," said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman. "I never used marijuana. Sorry!"

The next day's news coverage of the debate focused on the attacks on Dr. Dean for his references to appealing to people who fly the Confederate flag. The admissions of marijuana smoking by three of the Democratic candidates for president were largely ignored.

Source: New York Times (NY)
Author: Steven A. Holmes
Published: November 9, 2003
Copyright: 2003 The New York Times Co.

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Comment #17 posted by FoM on November 11, 2003 at 18:03:44 PT
Related News Article from
"Rock The Vote" Debate — That 70s Show

By Lisa Fabrizio

Wednesday, November 12, 2003


It started sometime in the late 1960s. This was the beginning of the end of America as we knew it. Up until the 'Summer of Love', there were children and then there were adults. The adults ran things, acted responsibly and were respected by children who obeyed and tried to emulate them.

This was before the 'Generation Gap' replaced the bridge which had connected the old and the young, resulting in a devastating case of role-reversal. Faced with the admonition that no one under 30 was to be trusted, parents ceded their roles as leaders and shapers of opinion to their children, and donned the love beads of same.

Nearly everyone's family album contains some embarrassing photo of Aunt Josie with a peace medallion or Uncle Harry with a Nehru jacket. Older celebrities also did not want to be on the wrong side of the Gap, and they began popping up everywhere on 'cool' TV shows like Laugh-In, dressed in fab gear and spouting hip lines like; "You bet your sweet bippy!" and "Here comes da judge." Who can forget presidential candidate Richard Nixon nervously asking, "Sock it to me?" Some, like Phyllis Diller even made a career out of this cringe-inducing shtick, but most adults, excepting liberals, soon regained their senses and returned to acting their ages.

I was reminded of this phenomenon last week while watching the "Rock the Vote" Democrat presidential debate. Deep in the heart of Liberal Land, eight candidates fell all over each other trying to look, act and respond to the questions of the Harvard crowd in the coolest of fashions. The result was what one would expect, only more so.

Like the 70s themselves, the experience was an equal mix of comedy and pathos. The only thing keeping it from total farce was the absence of Dick Gephardt, the only man in America who actually admits to being the son of the proverbial milkman. He would have been as out of place with this audience as was Rueben on the Partridge Family bus. Not that any of the rest of them didn't remind you of that middle-aged, female teacher who tried to do the funky chicken at your sophomore hop.

First there were the clothes. This was Hah-vad after all, so five of the eight men wore suits but removed the jackets to demonstrate their willingness to take a walk on the wild side. The other two, Dennis Kucinich and Wesley Clark, wore black turtlenecks in a defiant tribute to that avant garde moment in the 60s (think Illya Kuryakin in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E") when that attire was deemed acceptable in high-tone circles. The look made Kucinich appear even more insignificant than usual while it seemed to render Clark amorphous.

The debate itself was surprisingly animated while the videos from the each of the candidates' camps were excruciatingly bad, especially those that attempted to pander woefully to the hip-hop set, recalling memories of Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French) singing "It Ain't Me Babe" in the 60s.

The questions that got the most press coverage concerned reefer madness, binge drinking and casual-sex hookups—just what the parents of a Harvard undergrad might expect for the $150,000 price tag. One such question from an Ivy League coed was:

I'd be curious to find out, if you could pick one of your fellow candidates to party with, which you would choose. But keeping in mind, partying isn't just, you know, who do you think can shake their groove thing. I mean, we're talking, who's going to be loyal to you? Who is going to stand by your side? If you get sick, who's going to hold your hair back? There's more. There's more to it. Who's going to be a team player, you know, if you—imagine if you were single again. If you see a cutie across the room... who's going to be your wing man? Who's going to take one for the team? Replying in what can only be described as a "Mr. Furley" moment, holy Joe Lieberman said, "I hope my wife understands this. I'd like to party with the young lady who asked that question." The camera did not record the young lady's reaction but if it was anything akin to mine, it wasn't pretty.

Next came a question via email that was eagerly anticipated by the audience—and please note the wording; "Which of you are ready to admit to having used marijuana in the past?" The results? Yes: Dean, Edwards and Kerry. No: Kucinich, Lieberman and Sharpton with Carol Moseley Braun abstaining, so to speak. Clearly this is not your father's presidential campaign.

Truly representative of the throwback quality of the whole evening though, was this from the Peter Pan-ish Dennis Kucinich:

The question that was asked earlier by the young woman about why would young people want to pick any particular candidate, and in my case it's because the same passion that I felt at age 20 about changing the world, that fire in the heart, that fire in the spirit, that same willingness to try to change it all resides in me right now. It's that rebellious spirit that doesn't accept the status quo, that's ready to take a vision and take it to the farthest place.

In the case of these Democrat presidential candidates, that place would appear to be Never Never Land. Right on, dude.

Copyright 2003

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by FoM on November 09, 2003 at 21:16:44 PT
Keep smiling ekim!
You are far from a trouble maker! Have a nice night what's left of it!

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #15 posted by ekim on November 09, 2003 at 20:59:16 PT
ok FoM
I guess it takes a little trouble maker to appreciate another one. see you later.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #14 posted by FoM on November 09, 2003 at 20:54:51 PT
Oh ekim!
I think this is the first thing I don't agree with you on! You liked Dennis The Menace! He drove me CRAZY! LOL!

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #13 posted by ekim on November 09, 2003 at 20:51:18 PT
I allways liked Dennis the Menace he was truthfull
petition to demand that the White House release ALL documents requested by the 9-11 commission:

Monday, November 10 7:30 – 8:00 am

San Francisco, California Live TV at KRON – The Morning Show

12:00 – 12:15 pm

San Francisco, California Rally – The Progressive Agenda – a Press Conference and Rally San Francisco State University, HSF 360 - 1600 Holloway Street, San Francisco

12:15 – 1:00 pm

San Francisco, California Event: Press Conference The Progressive Agenda San Francisco State University, HSF 360 - 1600 Holloway Street, San Francisco

Friday, November 21, 2003

8:00 p.m.

New York City, New York Bringing Vision Back Into Politics Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich and an extensive interview by Barbara Ehrenreich author of Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America and Angela Gilliam, Black feminist anthropologist and activist Master of Ceremonies, James Schamus, Academy Award-nominated producer and screenwriter of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by Jose Melendez on November 09, 2003 at 20:43:40 PT
relax, it's just a joke.
If you drop an 'n' from dennis it could remind people of Bill Clinton.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by CongressmanSuet on November 09, 2003 at 15:53:22 PT
Dennis Kuccinich is Clearly the best candidate...
For the job. But one has to think that with the name DENNIS many people will subconsciously associate him with the "Dennis, The menace" cartoon,a negative in my opinion "Oh, what will Dennis do to get him in trouble this week, hide Margaret's Anne Coulter Look-alike Babie devil doll? " take on things, you would be surprised how many people read this lackluster dribble, only "Family Circus" outshines it for sheer inanity. And look, in the land of soundbytes, the three minute opinion, and my campaign coffers are bigger than yours, having a name that rhymes with "spinich" doesnt help. I remember the flack BushHorrorShowI took over a Broccoli remark! LOL, my tongue is obviously in my cheek. Now, If I could just get a case of Bachmans's Pretzels throught the "Presidential Mailroom"... but seriously, I can remember reading something about how we would be mortally embarrased if our Pres. rhymed with a Veg, Now a "High, and Proudly Erect Standing BUSH" we gain somehow we gain credibility. Unless the connection can be made to a the words "Burning, or "Cranberry"...... SPIN >>>>>Its why Rush will be a hero!!!!!

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #10 posted by ekim on November 09, 2003 at 15:46:17 PT
a little dreaming
seems over the years drug testing has been oked by allmost every company in the country. So iam wondering how long before lie detectors will be used to replace the drug tests and also used on Wall Street, or used when we file our taxes.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #9 posted by goneposthole on November 09, 2003 at 09:10:42 PT
do as I say, not as I do
that is what these annointed politicians are really saying.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on November 09, 2003 at 08:25:22 PT
Don't forget...
Dean killed a medical marijuana in his state. Kerry has strongly supported the HEA of 1998 which punishes young people by taking away education from those who partake.

And rounding this illustrious trio of virtuous men is Edwards, who said stopping the DEA thugs from raiding the sick in California would be "irresponsible".

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on November 09, 2003 at 08:23:24 PT
This is exactly what makes me pessimistic
We've finally reached the point where cannabis is fully embraced by the mainstream culture. So is it quickly legalized? No. Instead, our society changed. Now doing illegal things is part of everyone's life, and that's OK! Hypocrisy is the moral gold standard of our leaders, demonstrated so that all may incorporate it into their lives and families.

"Yes, it's OK for you to get high and still want the dirty brown people thrown in jail for it! Yes, fellow members of the political class and rich elite, you can smoke and it's still OK to persecute poor people! You're one of us!"

And of course, nary a peep from the media on the hypocrisy of the situation.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by BlakNo1 on November 09, 2003 at 06:50:43 PT:

correction(I think)
I believe Kerry has said that he would stop the DEA from arresting MMJ patients altogether, and Dean has called for, at least, a moratorium on arrests.

So, even with the front-runners, some minute progress could be made if we hold their feet to the fire, so to speak.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by BlakNo1 on November 09, 2003 at 06:46:39 PT:

Dennis rocks!!!
I saw this, and Dennis didn't seem defensive to me. He showed, once again, why he is the best choice, and my candidate. Out of the candidates, he is the clearest contrast to GW Bush.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #4 posted by Adam1 on November 08, 2003 at 21:01:20 PT
Kucinich Stands for MJ Patients......
Although he's never tried it, he is the only democratic candidate to vow to sign an executive order to bar the DEA from arresting state sanctioned medical MJ patients (Perhaps this is why he is getting next to zero media attention...).

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #3 posted by goneposthole on November 08, 2003 at 17:31:22 PT
they're willing and able to speak the truth. Much better than lying.

Why should they lie? They'll paint themselves into a corner.

Credibility blends better with truth.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on November 08, 2003 at 17:28:46 PT
Remember the last Rock the Vote?
Al Gore claimed that a group of doctors had exhaustively studied the medical marijuana isssue and found "absolutely no evidence" for its benefit.

Things have progressed a lot since then.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by delariand on November 08, 2003 at 16:30:26 PT
Somebody get the smelling salts, I'm feelin faint!
Oh HO! So, admitting to prior cannabis use is the popular response now?

Where the people go, the government must soon follow... I hope...

[ Post Comment ]

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