The Cocaine Question! 

The Cocaine Question! 
Posted by FoM on August 10, 1999 at 08:22:54 PT
Source: The Denver Post
August 10 - Political pundits and most Republican candidates for president are, more or less, in agreement that Texas Gov. George W. Bush should have to answer reporters' questions on whether he has ever used cocaine.
The conventional political wisdom is that Bush will rue the day he declined to answer the cocaine question and said, "I don't like trash-mouth politics.''It's widely predicted Bush will be unable to avoid an answer, if for no other reason than that a fellow Republican is likely to confront him later in the campaign.It's also predicted, this time more believably, that the press will continue to hound Bush about it and that some news agencies will launch efforts to find witnesses to some past cocaine use. Should such evidence be found, it is said, it will be a show-stopper.For our part we make no assumption that Bush is trying to hide anything. We take him at face value that he is trying to redirect the political discussion back to the issues and has merely decided where to draw the line in discussing his earlier life.If that is what it is, then his decision signals a most welcome change in American politics.Certainly the press is entitled to raise legitimate questions about a candidate's past conduct where there is an obvious basis for the inquiry. If a person has had a drinking problem in the past, as Bush readily admits he has, then questions about that are appropriate. But in our view that doesn't justify expanding the inquiry, first to cocaine, and beyond that conceivably to a long list of other chemicals assuming the candidate is obliged to respond to each item in turn.Bush has taken a big personal and political gamble in drawing the line where he has. His decision already had produced significant criticism, and should later investigation prove he declined to answer as a way of avoiding a damaging admission, he will pay a price.We hope that doesn't happen and that his gutsy decision will eventually be seen as an important first step in establishing some new and more sensible political ground rules.The list of potentially embarrassing questions routinely tossed at candidates is already quite long, including as it does inquiries on infidelity, draft status, marijuana use, etc. It will be a sign of improved politics if, in future elections, this particular list has shrunk rather than expanded. Pubdate: August 10, 1999Copyright 1999 The Denver Post.Bush Defuses Alcohol Issue, Sidesteps Drug Rumor - 8/09/99
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