Monday, February 25, 2008

Here's two paragraphs about Obama, drug use, and Mexico in the Wall Street Journal that I'm still not sure how to take ...

... so if you want to help me, just dive in.

It's actually a great Wall Street Journal story about Eduardo Medina-Moro, Mexico's new attorney general, who is committed to taking on the violent drug lords in his country.

But I almost didn't read it because the first two paragraphs sent me first one way and then the other:

Perhaps it is a sign of a maturing electorate that Barack Obama's past drug use has not become a disqualifying factor in his bid for the presidency. It may signify that Americans are beginning to view the intake of mind-altering substances as a private decision.

For those who embrace the notion of personal responsibility, such a change in public attitudes might be considered progress. But in Mexico, what suggests an increase in tolerance of illegal drug use in the U.S. has a tragic flipside: the gut-wrenching violence that arises when demand meets prohibition. This country is paying dearly for that contradiction.

So is the author, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, actually a Libertarian? Maybe.

On the other hand, I don't think she's right about her observation regarding Obama and drug use. What Barack Obama has said is that he used cocaine as a teenager. Had Barack come out and said, "And occasionally, after a hard week of campaigning, I head back to the crib and do a little blow with the staff to unwind," I don't think the reaction would "signify that Americans are beginning to view the intake of mind-altering substances as a private decision."

I think what Barack Obama proves is that--unlike Bubba, who wouldn't even admit to inhaling--Americans believe that short of rape, murder, or other felonies, being a teenager should not necessarily make you ineligible to be an adult for the rest of your life.

And if you don't think Obama's drug use won't be brought up again as a disqualifying factor for the presidency, then you really don't watch American elections all that closely. The way Barack Obama swipes his deodorant across his armpit (in the direction of Mecca, I'm reliably told) will become every bit as important as the erection John McCain almost got (and almost remembered) when thinking about what he'd like to do with a pretty lobbyist if only he could still remember how.

But I digress. Read the article about Mexico's fight against the drug mobs--it is an important issue, albeit one that won't end up in any presidential debates real soon. Just skip those first two paragraphs.

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