Yes, Barack Obama Inhaled. So What?

A new book about the President details his marijuana use in High School and at Occidental College.

Apparently, the latest revelation to be leaked out of David Marinass’s upcoming book about the President that, shockingly, a student who was in High School and College in the late 70s and early 80s smoked marijuana:

Bill Clinton he was not. When it came to smoking pot, the teenage Barack Obama had rules. You had to embrace “total absorption” or face a penalty. When you smoked in the car, “the windows had to be rolled up.” And he could horn his way in, calling out “Intercepted!” and grab the joint out of turn.

Best-selling author David Maraniss'”Barack Obama: The Story” describes the future president’s teenage antics, notably his copious marijuana smoking, details of which were published early Friday by Buzzfeed. While the book won’t be released until June 19, vast sections of it were already available Friday on Google Books.

Starting on page 293, the reader begins to get the dope on high school-age Obama’s group of basketball- and fun-loving buds, who dubbed themselves the “Choom Gang,” from a verb meaning “to smoke marijuana.”

“As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking  trends. The first was called ‘TA,’ short for ‘total absorption.’ To place this in the physical and political context of another young man who would grow up to be president, TA was the antithesis of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” writes Maraniss, author of a biography of the 42nd president.

“When you were with Barry and his pals, if you exhaled precious pakalolo (Hawaiian slang from marijuana, meaning “numbing tobacco”) instead of absorbing it fully into your lungs, you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around. “‘Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated,’ explained one member of the Choom Gang, Tom Topolinski, the Chinese-looking kid with a Polish name who answered to Topo.”

Obama also made popular a pot-smoking practice that the future president and his pals called “roof hits.” When they smoked in the car, they rolled up the windows, and “when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling,” Maraniss writes.

Obama “also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘Intercepted’ and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind,” according to the text.

Maraniss details how the Choom Gang relaxed at a spot they called “Pumping Stations” partway up Mount Tantalus on Oahu.

“They parked single file on the grassy edge, turned up their stereos playing Aerosmith, Blue Öyster Cult, and Stevie Wonder, lit up some ‘sweet-sticky Hawaiian buds,’ and washed it down with ‘green bottled beer’ (the Choom Gang preferred Heineken, Beck’s, and St. Pauli Girl),” according to Maraniss.

Rod Dreher, certainly no fan of the President’s, finds this much ado about nothing:

I’m a social and religious conservative, don’t smoke pot, never have smoked pot, don’t have any close friends who smoke pot (around me, at least), and as far as I can remember, haven’t been around people smoking pot since my twenties (I’m 45). I’m pretty sure I don’t think pot should be legalized, but I don’t have strong feelings about it.

And I sure don’t care that President Obama was a teenage pothead.

Why not? Because I knew so many people in college who smoked pot recreationally, and turned out okay. If I concluded that anybody who smoked pot as a young person was therefore unfit for high public office, I wouldn’t be able to vote for many of the smartest and most capable people I know. And I wouldn’t be able to explain why in any way that made sense, even to myself.

That’s largely, I think, because it wouldn’t. Surely, there are some things that a person may do in their younger years that would be potentially disqualifying if the ran for office later in life. Multiple serious, especially violent, crimes come to mind for example, potentially involvement in large-scale drug trafficking would fall into that category as well. The same really can’t be said of youthful drug use, especially a drug as relatively harmless as marijuana. So Barack Obama inhaled, so what? It’s really not that big a deal when you get right down to it, and it’s a good thing that we’ve come to the point in our society where condemning a man for something he did in his youth that harmed nobody is considered silly. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. Douglas Ginsburg, a man who was more than well-qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, was forced to withdraw his name from nomination over revelations that he smoked pot during his time as a student at the University of Chicago in the 60s and as a young Professor at Harvard in the 70s. Bill Clinton was put through the ringer for the same activity and ended up coming up with the ridiculous wink-and-nod of “I didn’t inhale.” I’m sure both men would have prefered to live in an era where such youthful “indiscretions” were recognized for the irrelevancies that they are.

Of course, there is one aspect of the President’s youthful adventures with marijuana and it’s relationship with his Presidency that deserves to be talked about. After initially promising that his Justice Department would not pursue cases against medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, Obama and his Administration have done precisely the opposite:

On its own, stories like these about a young adult are actually kind of funny, even humanizing — like something straight out of a stoner comedy. But when you realize it’s about President Obama, it becomes a little less humurous.

Less humorous because President Obama has repeatedly laughed off and dismissed serious discussion about drug policy, like in that 2009 virtual town hall where the president mocked online voters for picking a question about marijuana legalization.

Less humorous because the president shuts down medical marijuana dispensaries with a frequency that would have made Richard Nixon stand up and cheer. He presides over a DOJ, IRS, and DEA that have threatened, audited, and shut down legal pot sellers in California, Colorado, Montana, and Washington. All this despite once promising to respect state laws regarding medical marijuana.

Federal agents have also staged a record number of crackdowns at stores that sell hemp or so-called “drug paraphernalia,” making Barack Obama and Eric Holder just two more in a long line of Generals in America’s mostly failed War On (Some) Drugs. One wonders what young Barack Obama would think about that.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Herb says:

    Man….I was hoping from the “So What?” headline we wouldn’t get the little hypocrisy charge at the end. But since this story broke (and it’s not even really news…more of a “book promotion” masquerading as news) that’s all I’ve been hearing.

    “Obama smoked pot as a young man and now as president, he’s closing dispensaries. He’s a hypocrite!”

    Yeah, he is. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: He kind of has to. As much as we’d all like Obama to lead on the marijuana issue, we have to accept reality.

    If he made any major changes to marijuana policy, Libertarians will not give him credit for it. Liberals won’t go along with it because they’re political cowards. And just wait to hear what the conservatives have to say about legal Obamaweed.

    It’ll make that birth certificate stuff seem tame.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Finally a president who has something in common with the average person.

  3. KansasMom says:

    “serious, especially violent, crimes come to mind for example” Like assault and battery for example?

  4. Do you have evidence of a candidate for President convicted of such a charge on multiple occasions in a court of law?

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Pot-head vs. gay-bashing bully.

    Yeah, I think I’ll take the pot-head.

  6. KansasMom says:

    “Evidence” Yeah, the on-the-record word of 4 of the guys who helped him commit the assault. “Multiple” How many time must one commit assault and battery before they are no longer worthy of respect Doug? “Convicted?” That’s cute. Apparently in 1965 the son of a governor wouldn’t even be reprimanded, let alone charged or tried for assaulting a DFH. On the bright side though, this crap can’t be brushed aside so easily today. Yay, progress!

  7. Jenos Idanian says:

    Sheesh, Doug. You’re so dense.

    A single 50-year-old incident involving Mitt Romney, high schooler, is critical to understanding his nature.

    A several-year period of Obama’s teens and 20s when he was a coke-snorting pothead who frequently drove under the influence about 30 years ago is irrelevant.

    Oh, and you’re a racist, too.

  8. While it’s probably the opposite of how most of the Republicans complaining mean it, this is what so:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWWOJGYZYpk

  9. Socrates says:

    Does Obama still seem like a stoner?

    No.

    Does Mitt Romney still seem like a jerk?

    Yeah.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Actually both sets of data are revealing. I take note of the apparent fact that Mr. Romney was a bully. And I take note of the apparent fact that Mr. Obama used various illegal substances.

    My expectation would be that growing up Subject A was likely to lack empathy, to be selfish, intolerant and arrogant.

    My expectation would be that Subject B would be willing to set aside the strict letter of the law — say, for assassinating an American terrorist overseas, or violating a country’s sovereignty. I’d also guess the subject would be an underachiever, but I’d obviously be wrong about that. But that he would later become a persecutor of pot users is all too predictable as politically-motivated self-inoculation.

    It’s all information, it’s a question of how seriously you weight it. And of course any attempt to predict based on past behavior has to be measured against actual real world performance.

  11. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Socrates: Obama’s been far more of a bullying a-hole than Romney has, just in the past few years. But that doesn’t fit the narrative, does it?

  12. Peterh says:

    Maybe a little off-topic, but awhile back when it was revealed that Trayvon Martin had THC in his system, Bloomberg News had Dr. Drew (I think) on asking him his opinion of the potential impact….zero said the Doctor….the example he put forth went something like this: who would you rather confront? Someone who just stepped out of a bar after having a few Tequila pops or someone who just rolled off the couch after smoking a joint.

    Back on-topic: yeah, shocking that a kid in High School may indulge, whether it be in the 70s or today. Personally, I didn’t do pot in high school in the 60s, but did in college in the 70s and afterwards. If a kid is going to indulge in something (and most do), I’d rather see it as pot than booze….

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I wish you guys would make your mind whether Obama is weak and ineffectual or a domineering bully. It’s been almost 4 years now and you clowns can’t even figure out how to attack him. If I give you a few bucks will go buy yourself a narrative?

  14. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Sheesh, Doug. You’re so dense.

    Dude, at least swing at the right people. Doug pretty firmly wrote that he felt Romney’s bullying thing didn’t matter at all for the same reasons.

    You’d be a LOT more credible if you actually remembered who made what arguments and who is backing which candidate (note that more than likely Doug will be supporting Romney).

  15. @KansasMom:

    Again, to you have any evidence of any Presidential candidate being convicted of assault and battery? I know you don’t, you know you don’t

  16. anjin-san says:

    So Doug what are you saying – no conviction, no foul?

  17. I’ve already said all I intend to say about the Romney story, which is obviously what KansasMom is talking about

  18. KansasMom says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Your original comment didn’t have the word conviction in it and neither did my reply. But I’ll never vote for anyone who “allegedly” committed a violent assault against another person, especially when said assault had been detailed and verified by those who helped commit it. Nor will I brush it off as no big deal. You will, bully for you.

  19. @KansasMom:

    As I said in the one and only post I wrote about this, I really don’t find one single incident from the youth of a 65 year old man to be relevant. The same goes, as I noted, with Barack Obama’s pot smoking.

  20. anjin-san says:

    I’ve already said all I intend to say about the Romney story

    Then it’s “Romney was never convicted” followed by sticking your head in the sand, with a false equivalence about Obama thrown in for good luck? A principled stance on your part…

  21. al-Ameda says:

    What’s great about this “story” is that we already knew (see the 2008 Campaign) that Obama smoked marijuana in the past – it was in his book, god’s sake.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that whether or not Obama smoked marijuana about 30 years ago will NOT en up changing anyone’s vote in 2012.

    Everyone has their mind made up, it’s all about turn out.

  22. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    Do you have evidence of a candidate for President convicted of such a charge on multiple occasions in a court of law?

    One of the named witnesses said this: “I’m a lawyer. I know what an assault is. This kid was scared. He was terrified. That’s an assault.” Mitt was the governor’s son. The apparent absence of real consequences is not a surprise, and proves nothing. It’s reasonable to treat this as a proven fact: when he was 18, Romney led a violent, criminal assault. That he did it is material. The absence of a conviction “in a court of law” is not.

    Just imagine if a report emerged that an 18-year old Obama had led a group of black kids doing this to a white kid. The outrage would be off the scale, and words like ‘violent … criminal … thug’ would be repeated constantly. Not convicted “in a court of law” would make no difference whatsoever.

    Imagine that you hear these facts about a guy your daughter or sister is dating. You’re going to say it’s perfectly okay with you because he was not convicted “in a court of law?” I doubt it. And everyone knew OJ was guilty even though there was a failure to convict him “in a court of law.”

    I’ve already said all I intend to say about the Romney story

    Yes, and you failed to respond when I demonstrated that your post was packed with garbage.

    I really don’t find one single incident from the youth of a 65 year old man to be relevant.

    There is more than “one single incident.” And the problem is not just what he did then. What is arguably more significant is the way he’s handling it now.

  23. jukeboxgrad says:

    kansas:

    Yeah, the on-the-record word of 4 of the guys who helped him commit the assault.

    Just to be clear, there are five witnesses, four named and one unnamed. Also, we only know that one of the witnesses actively participated in the assault. That was Buford, a champion wrestler, who helped pin Lauber down. The other four were present and perhaps were providing some degree of moral support to Romney, but we are not told that they ever touched Lauber. They may have been participating, objecting or just witnessing.

  24. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    a single 50-year-old incident involving Mitt Romney, high schooler

    The “high schooler” was 18. That’s old enough to know better. And there was more than one incident.

    [Obama] frequently drove under the influence

    Which comes nowhere close to GWB’s colorful record as an alcoholic, including multiple arrests.

  25. @jukeboxgrad:

    Since Romney is a Republican and you’re not, it’s clear that you will consider anything that puts him in a bad light to be relevant and damming. The fact that it is 50 years in the past and tells us nothing about the rest of Romney’s life? Irrelevant apparently.

    I don’t support Romney or Obama and I find what they did in their youth and young adulthood to be irrelevant

    And I, apparently, am the unreasonable one.

    Okay then.

  26. @anjin-san:

    No, it’s that, just like the story about Obama, stories from Romney’s youth are not relevant to me.

  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    it’s clear that you will consider anything that puts him in a bad light to be relevant and damming.

    I could just as easily say this: “It’s clear that you will consider anything that puts him in a bad light to be” irrelevant, even if it’s serious and well-documented. Neither claim is particularly helpful or informative. You making that claim is just an attempt at diversion.

    And I, apparently, am the unreasonable one.

    Indeed, because you wrote a post containing various false claims, and you refuse to take responsibility for doing so, even after they have been pointed out to you. “Unreasonable” is a generous way to describe that behavior. Stronger words are justified.

  28. paladin says:

    Lighten up people! All this stuff is just to amuse us before the hard slog reaches its denoument this fall.

    Romney put his dog on the roof of his car? Obama ate a dog? Obama inhaled? Romney didn’t? A 5000+ piece at WaPo on an incident in Romney’s high school says something about his character but Obama’s tokin’ and smokin’ says nothing? Don’t make me laugh!

    This “vetting” business by Breitbart isn’t about the sacred and holy Obama, it’s about how the establishment press fell down on the job and into Obama’s lap. Nobody’s opinion of Obama will be changed by all this stuff any more than what Romney did in high school will change opinions; if you aren’t disgusted by what Obama has done as POTUS so far you’ll never be disgusted by him.
    I say just enjoy all these shiny objects while you can; the Chicago Way is coming soon..

    As a (former) resident of Illinois, I say—-you ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet.

    So let’s just enjoy these amusements for what they are—watching the establishment press commit suicide before our very eyes.

  29. jukeboxgrad,

    Just because you disagree with my opinion that the Romney/Cranbrook story was neither relevant nor worthy of front page coverage in the WaPo, that doesn’t mean you have a monopoly on the truth. Even if I took everything you said in that comment as accurate, and I do not, I would still say that the Cranbrook story is irrelevant.

    And so is the fact that Obama smoked pot or, as he admitted in Dreams From My Father, did cocaine.

  30. Gustopher says:

    Rather than the perennial question of who would you rather drink a beer with, I think this year we’ll get to who would you rather smoke pot with.

    Obama sounds like a blast — and he displayed good common sense in adopting strategies to minimize waste.

    Romney? I bet he’d barely inhale and then wouldn’t shut up about how stoned he was.

  31. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The president already admitted to using marijuana during the 2008 campaign, and he’s stated it was wrong. When Romney is confronted with being a thug he says it’s no big deal, rather than doing what a decent person would and saying he’s very sorry about it. But he’s running for president in a party where he’ll be tarred and feathered for not abusing a gay child, so he can’t apologize even if he wants to.

    One man is coming out of this looking much worse, and it isn’t Barack Obama.

  32. Gustopher says:

    Also, smoking pot and gay-bashing are very different youthful indiscretions. The patented Mataconis Equivalence is just nonsense.

  33. anjin-san says:

    @ paladin

    Obama wrote about his drug use in his own book. How is “vetting” even related?

    Obama’s tokin’ and smokin’ says nothing?

    It says he was a normal high school kid in the 70’s. I went to high school back then, I would estimate 75%-85% of the students smoked pot, some very heavily, some just to try it.

    Obama ate a dog?

    A child ate what was set before him in a country where “eating dog” was a cultural norm. Even bringing this up pretty much marks one as an idiot. A grown man abusing an animal is something else entirely.

    A 5000+ piece at WaPo on an incident in Romney’s high school says something about his character

    No, Romney’s actions say something about his character. His actions then, and his refusal now to take ownership of them.

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    … that doesn’t mean you have a monopoly on the truth. Even if I took everything you said in that comment as accurate, and I do not …

    I demonstrated that you made false claims. It’s not that I “have a monopoly on the truth.” It’s that I showed solid evidence to support my claims. You brushed this off, and you’re still brushing this off, which is a good way of letting everyone know that getting your facts straight is not a high priority for you.

  35. paladin says:

    anjin-san, I guess you didn’t get the Doug Memo: SO WHAT?

  36. anjin-san says:

    @ paladin

    I am responding to comments you made. Don’t run and hide behind Doug. Stand on your own two feet, or run along and play in one of the many right wing sandboxes available for that purpose.

  37. merl says:

    @paladin: If the Chicago Way involves kicking your ignorant ass, I’m all for it.

  38. jan says:

    @paladin:

    “if you aren’t disgusted by what Obama has done as POTUS so far you’ll never be disgusted by him.”

    That’s so true! If Obama is your guy, then there is nothing that he can say or do that will take that velcro hold off that he has over you. This country could go broke, be nuked, have every country show us their index finger, while Obama plays his 100th game of golf, and people would still be saying it was Bush’s fault. It’s gotten to be comical on how tightly affixed those blinders are on people.

  39. Tillman says:

    Really, the story confirms Obama’s a douche. Only a douche would screw rotation constantly like that.

    Romney’s story still keeps him sufficiently Other-ized from compassionate human beings.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    I’m tempted to run on a platform of “anything you can grow in your backyard is fine. Just don’t further purify it.”

    Question is–if pot and opium poppies were legalized, would that get people off the nastier stuff like meth?

  41. Jeremy R says:

    This actually came a lot during the 2007-2008 campaign, for example:

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2007/11/25/4423993-obama-open-to-limited-legalization

    AUDUBON, IA — Obama can’t seem to escape the smoke of his youthful indiscretions wafting after him on the campaign trail. Just four days after he told a group of high school students that he had experimented with drugs in high school, Obama had to admit to it again at a town hall here.

    When a voter asked Obama if he was for the legalization of medical marijuana, Obama said that he wasn’t in favor of legalization without scientific evidence and tight controls. Citing his mother who died from cancer young, Obama compared marijuana to morphine saying there was little difference between the two.

    The question was followed up by another voter asking him, “Unlike other presidents, did you inhale?”

    “I did,” Obama said to loud applause and laughter. “It’s not something that I’m proud of. It was a mistake … But you know, I’m not going to. I never understood that line. The point was to inhale. That was the point.”

    Obviously it was out there because he had been open about it in Dreams from my Father.

  42. G.A. says:

    I wish you guys would make your mind whether Obama is weak and ineffectual or a domineering bully. It’s been almost 4 years now and you clowns can’t even figure out how to attack him. If I give you a few bucks will go buy yourself a narrative?

    lol..how much we talking?

  43. G.A. says:

    Does Obama still seem like a stoner?

    Do the Bears **** on their seasons?

  44. G.A. says:

    And I take note of the apparent fact that Mr. Obama used various illegal substances

    ya he did. lol..Larry… and picked on girls.

  45. anjin-san says:

    That’s so true! If Obama is not your guy, then there is nothing that he can say or do that will end your irrational hatred. The country could come back from the brink of depression, Bin Laden could be at the bottom of the sea, GM could be profitable, and they would still hate him. It’s gotten to be comical on how tightly affixed those blinders are on people.

    Jan… FTFY

  46. Jeremy R says:

    @G.A.:

    ya he did. lol..Larry… and picked on girls.

    What are you, five?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/03/us/politics/03Reunion.html?_r=2

    In “Dreams,” Mr. Obama recalled just one other black student when he first arrived on a scholarship, a girl with few friends whom he called Coretta, to protect her privacy. While not close, he wrote, they shared “a different sort of pain.”

    Coretta is Joella Edwards, who now lives in Florida. In interviews, she recalled the day Barry Obama arrived as a fifth-grader, having returned to Hawaii from four years in Indonesia with his mother. “He had a brown and white weird-design shirt, and just kind of stood there,” Ms. Edwards said. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, there’s another black person here.’ ”

    “I was ‘the lonely only’ until he came,” she said, adding that she wished she had known then how sympathetic Mr. Obama felt. Five years later Ms. Edwards left Punahou, tired of “the n-word” and taunts of “Aunt Jemima,” she said.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/05/mitt-romneys-empathy-problem.html

    There was one other child in my class, though, who reminded me of a different sort of pain. Her name was Coretta, and before my arrival she had been the only black person in our grade. She was plump and dark and didn’t seem to have many friends. From the first day, we avoided each other but watched from a distance, as if direct contact would only remind us more keenly of our isolation.

    Finally, during recess one hot, cloudless day, we found ourselves occupying the same corner of the playground. I don’t remember what we said to each other, but I remember that suddenly she was chasing me around the jungle gyms and swings. She was laughing brightly, and I teased her and dodged this way and that, until she finally caught me and we fell to the ground breathless. When I looked up, I saw a group of children, faceless before the glare of the sun, pointing down at us.

    “Coretta has a boyfriend! Coretta has a boyfriend!”

    The chants grew louder as a few more kids circled us.

    “She’s not my g-girlfriend,” I stammered. I looked to Coretta for some assistance, but she just stood there looking down at the ground. “Coretta’s got a boyfriend! Why don’t you kiss her, mister boyfriend?”

    “I’m not her boyfriend!” I shouted. I ran up to Coretta and gave her a slight shove; she staggered back and looked up at me, but still said nothing. “Leave me alone!” I shouted again. And suddenly Coretta was running, faster and faster, until she disappeared from sight. Appreciative laughs rose around me. Then the bell rang, and the teachers appeared to round us back into class.

    For the rest of the afternoon, I was haunted by the look on Coretta’s face just before she had started to run: her disappointment, and the accusation. I wanted to explain to her somehow that it had been nothing personal; I’d just never had a girlfriend before and saw no particular need to have one now. But I didn’t even know if that was true. I knew only that it was too late for explanations, that somehow I’d been tested and found wanting; and whenever I snuck a glance at Coretta’s desk, I would see her with her head bent over her work, appearing as if nothing had happened, pulled into herself and asking no favors.

    My act of betrayal bought me some room from the other children, and like Coretta, I was mostly left alone.

  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: I wish you guys would make your mind whether Obama is weak and ineffectual or a domineering bully.

    I guess you’ve never dealt with a bully. They try to bully those weaker than themselves. When they can’t, they often end up exposed as weak and ineffectual — which is why they are bullies.

  48. Peterh says:

    1. guess you’ve never dealt with a bully. They try to bully those weaker than themselves. When they can’t, they often end up exposed as weak and ineffectual — which is why they are bullies.

    Awesome Jenos…..and how do you define those that exceed the bully threshold….Master Sir? I think I just wet my pants…..lol….

  49. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Riiiight. Very convincing.

    I think I used to right shite like that maybe 20 years ago for young middle grade girl series. Of course, I was ghosting, I’d never write anything that dumb in one of my own books.

  50. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: Far be it from me to contradict a professional “righter,” but please explain how a single incident is far more indicative of a person’s character than a couple of years’ pattern of behavior?

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    a single incident

    You already made that claim in this thread, and I told you it was more than “a single incident.” But you’re blithely ignoring that, and making the same phony claim again. So this thread alone contains more than “a single incident” of you making a phony claim. That’s because almost every sentence you write contains at least “a single incident” of you making some kind of phony claim.

  52. Just because you say there was “more than a single incident” doesn’t mean I am required to believe it.

  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Funny what sticks in people’s minds. I recall citing five examples of Obama playing the bully just in the past decade or so on another thread. But for the life of me, I can’t seem to recall the specific times you cited those other incidents. Hell, in this thread alone, you get into obsessive detail on this single incident.

    It’s a terrible failing of mine, I admit, but I don’t commit your every single utterance to memory. I don’t even bookmark them for later review and further study to aid in my enlightenment.

    Since what you say is obviously so valuable, it’s a crime against humanity that you don’t have your own blog where they can be easily collected, indexed, and preserved for all time.

  54. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Well, what do you know: my list of Obama the bully incidents was in the very same thread you linked to. Thanks, chump!

  55. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, you dare question juke’s word? How could his saying that they happened not be sufficient for you? Don’t you know that his every utterance is absolute truth? How DARE you ask him to actually cite examples?

  56. G.A. says:

    What are you, five?

    No, I am this many…lol… guess how many fingers i am holding up?

    And why did you make me read that Shite? errg….

    Of course, I was ghosting, I’d never write anything that dumb in one of my own books.

    lol…or here….

  57. G.A. says:

    Of course, I was ghosting, I’d never write anything that dumb in one of my own books.

    A teacher of Alinsky’s brain washing style of union and community organisations who you defend as not being a bully LOL, you people are even stupider then surmised…

    High I.Q.s wasted on liberal evolution of pick something…blagh….

  58. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “Well, what do you know: my list of Obama the bully incidents was in the very same thread you linked to.”

    And yet…your list of bully incidents isn’t really a list of bully incidents. To wit:

    1) Was mean to Rutherford B Hayes by repeating an oft-misquoted joke about the telephone
    2) Made fun of Nancy Reagan’s astrologers
    3) Called a woman “Sweetie”
    4) Made fun of his bowling prowess (and apparently insulted the politically correct sensitivities of Special Olympians everywhere)
    5) Called someone a babyface

    If this is all you have, then you don’t have….well, anything. Chump indeed.

    Here’s a few that might have made your list if you weren’t such a partisan:

    A) Ordered a few Somali pirates snipered.
    B) Was mean to Osama Bin Laden by sending in the Navy SEALs
    C) Bullied Gaddafi with air strikes
    D) Blew up “an American citizen”-slash-terrorist provocateur with a drone
    E) Hurt Donald Trump’s feelings at a hoity-toity dinner

    But by all means….focus on the time he called someone “sweetie.”

  59. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: Let’s look at those examples of Manly Man Obama:

    A) Allowing the Navy to shoot pirates: Wow, that’s like… the Navy doing what it started doing over 200 years ago.

    B) “Mr. President, we’ve found Bin Laden. Should we go kill him?”

    “Let me sleep on it, I’ll give you an answer in the morning.”

    16 hours later… “Yeah, go shoot him in the face.”

    C) War Powers Act? What War Powers Act? You mean the president isn’t supposed to just start waging war without going through Congress?

    D) Yeah, I’m real thrilled that the president ordered the summary execution of an American citizen who had never even been indicted of any crimes. No wonder the ACLU loves this guy.

    E) I think you mean “colluded with the always-willing press to redefine the whole purpose of the Correspondents Dinner and trash this (somewhat deserving) guy who has no effing clue what he’s walking into.”

    I tried to ask George Allen about your “sweetie” remark, but I seem to have misplaced his phone number…

  60. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian: While the organ grinder cranks, you dance.

    I just gave you five better examples you can use in your “Obama is a bully” arguments and your first instinct is to spit up the normal conditioned responses, like you’re Pavlov’s dog and the bell is ringing.

    Such a knee-jerk partisan you can’t even tell when a guy is trying to help you out. Sheesh.

  61. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: No, you tried to get snarky, and you failed. You trotted out the “Obama is a tough manly-man” list of talking points. But to those who have a clue, they are easily deconstructed.

    And have been repeatedly.

  62. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    Just because you say there was “more than a single incident” doesn’t mean I am required to believe it.

    You are certainly not “required to believe” any facts you find inconvenient. You are also not “required” to refrain from making statements which damage your credibility.

    The WaPo article cited multiple witnesses reporting multiple incidents. And no one has denied any of those incidents, including and especially Mitt himself. So thanks for this excellent example of someone who is choosing to do this. And this.

    ==============
    jenos:

    I recall citing five examples of Obama playing the bully

    What I “recall” is you citing examples that come nowhere close to leading a violent assault.

    I don’t commit your every single utterance to memory.

    And when did I say that you should? I didn’t. I simply pointed out that you regurgitated the same false claim even though I had already called you on it in this very thread. And I can’t find the part of your comment where you take responsibility for making that false claim. Twice.

    How could his saying that they happened not be sufficient for you?

    I realize you and your little straw man are having lots of fun together, but I never suggested that my “saying that they happened [should] be sufficient for you.” This isn’t about what I’m saying. It’s about what was said by multiple witnesses cited by WaPo. And it’s about the fact that Mitt himself responded by saying “not going to argue with that,” which is one of many reasons to believe that the reports are correct.

    How DARE you ask him to actually cite examples?

    The examples are in the article. Do you really not know what article I’m talking about? Do you really need help finding it?

  63. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “No, you tried to get snarky, and you failed.”

    Guilty, your honor. I was being snarky. And yes, my list was “talking points,” for you. You’re the one who wants to paint him as a bully. I’m merely suggesting that the time he bombed Libya is a much better example than the time he called a reporter “Sweetie.” That’s all.

    Do you disagree? Or is this just a case of “any opportunity to whine about Obama is a good opportunity?”

  64. jukeboxgrad,

    Okay maybe now you can move on to the real question — why is what Romney or Obama did when they were 18 relevant today?

    I don’t see how it is.

  65. jukeboxgrad says:

    why is what Romney or Obama did when they were 18 relevant today?

    This has only been explained about a million times, here and elsewhere.

    Lots of people do stupid things when they’re 18. Very few people lead a violent assault when they’re 18 (or ever). So when I encounter someone who did that, it’s reasonable to wonder how much they have changed. With regard to Romney, there are many reasons to believe that the answer is this: not much.

    This is not just about Romney at 18. It’s about Romney now, because we are getting to observe how he has reacted to the story: by laughing about it, literally. So it’s not just that he thought it was a laughing matter at the time. It’s that he still thinks it’s a laughing matter. This tells us a great deal about his character, and it’s consistent with what we already know: he’s a spineless coward with no sense of empathy, remorse or personal responsibility, and therefore no capacity for real leadership.

  66. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I guess you’ve never dealt with a bully. They try to bully those weaker than themselves. When they can’t, they often end up exposed as weak and ineffectual — which is why they are bullies.

    And, that’s how some of them end up hazing gay students.

  67. al-Ameda says:

    @G.A.:

    A teacher of Alinsky’s brain washing style of union and community organisations who you defend as not being a bully LOL, you people are even stupider then surmised…

    High I.Q.s wasted on liberal evolution of pick something…blagh….

    Love that Saul Alinsky reference. Trouble is, if you asked, most people would guess that Saul Alinsky is the Executive Producer of “Jersey Shore”

  68. Mike says:

    I live in a non-MM state. If Obama does not legalize MM, I will not vote for him. I will write-in Ron Paul. It’s not fair some states have it and some don’t.

  69. Mike says:

    Why won’t President Obama support our Right To ‘Choom’ like he did? He sold us out for campaign donations. He’s two face.

  70. Mike says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Why won’t President Obama support our Right To ‘Choom’ like he did? He sold us out for campaign donations. He’s two faced.

  71. michael reynolds says:

    @Mike:

    Maybe he thinks weed makes you dumb. Mr. Obama cannot dictate state medical marijuana laws. He is enforcing federal laws, and I doubt it has anything to do with contributions. More likely he’s burnishing his “tough on crime” credentials.

  72. jukeboxgrad says:

    Above I mentioned that there are problems with Doug’s earlier post about Romney’s assault, and I cited my comment here, where I explain some of those problems. I forgot to mention that it’s really a two-part comment, and it’s important to scroll down and also see my comment here, in order to get a fuller picture of the important problems with what Doug wrote.

    I recently mentioned that this incident demonstrates that Romney lacks a sense of personal responsibility. I should add that making bogus claims and then refusing to correct them demonstrates the same thing.

  73. Jukeboxgrad,

    Your opinion on relevance, not mine. I have plenty of problems with Romney and Obama, what they did when they were 18 or whatever is the least of my worries.

  74. jukeboxgrad says:

    what they did when they were 18

    You’re completely ignoring what I said about his reaction, now, and why that’s material. Since you’re completely ignoring the answer I gave you, it’s hard to understand why you even asked the question. You’re also completely ignoring the problems I demonstrated with what you wrote. But it makes perfect sense that you see no need for Romney to take responsibility for what he did wrong, because you also see no need for you to do the same thing.

  75. Romney’s initial response was less than ideal, but he issued an apology before the end of the day on which the “story” broke online in the Washington Post.

    You seem to be the only person still pushing this non-story like it actually matters.

  76. jukeboxgrad says:

    he issued an apology

    No, he didn’t issue an apology. He issued a non-apology. This is something else that’s already been explained. The first step in a real apology is to acknowledge what you did. By saying “I don’t remember” he’s refusing to acknowledge what he did.

    Lots of people understand that Mitt issued a non-apology. That group includes James Joyner: “Romney has issued a tepid non-apology apology.” Maybe if you read what James wrote it will help you understand the difference.

    Some more explanation of the difference between an apology and a non-apology:

    Did I say “apology”? I meant “total dodge that absolves him of any responsibility for what happened, and any genuine regret”—what CNN political analyst William Schneider once coined the “past exonerative.” By inserting “if,” Romney leaves open the possibility that, in fact, no one was hurt or offended by the assault. Maybe the tears were tears of joy? It’s also curious that Romney, who purportedly didn’t remember the incident, now remembers the incident so well he’s able to refute the accounts of his classmates, who explicitly noted that the Lauber’s perceived homosexuality had made him a target. As Conn Carroll of the conservative Washington Examiner puts it, “Romney bullying apology [is] unacceptable. It is non-responsive. Only guarantees more questioning. Does he remember incident or not?”

  77. jukeboxgrad,

    You continue to wish to debate this non-story for reasons I cannot understand. I, as I have said repeatedly, do not care about it one whit.

  78. jukeboxgrad says:

    You continue to wish to debate this non-story

    Earlier in this thread you said this:

    I’ve already said all I intend to say about the Romney story

    Subsequent to posting that comment, you posted another nine comments “about the Romney story.” Don’t expect me to have less interest in this story than someone who posted nine comments about the story after they said “I’ve already said all I intend to say.”

  79. anjin-san says:

    You seem to be the only person still pushing this non-story

    You seem to be very invested in making this a “non-story”. How many comments were there on this non-story on OTB? More than a few, as I remember it…

  80. I’m not “invested” in it at all. The Jukebox guy is the one pushing it. I’m the one saying it, and Obama breaking the law by smoking pot and drinking alcohol while underage, are irrelevant to me.

  81. anjin-san says:

    Well Doug, you are entitled to your opinion. But I have to call BS on the false equivalence. Conservative estimate, 75% of the student body when I was in high school smoked pot and drank. I am putting the number who committed violent assaults at about 2%.

  82. Gary Strawley says:

    I think Obama! shows he is real in 2009 human! and not against human rights and equal rights!
    Where the gop has always been against Human rights! LOOK IT UP!

  83. george says:

    @anjin-san:

    I’d put it (locally) at about 50% pot (close to 90% alcohol), and about 25% in fights.

    But I’d also say that doing stupid things in high school that they wouldn’t do today is 100%. Does anyone really believe that Romney would attack someone like that today (and yes, some guys his age would still do it).

    There are a lot of reasons not to vote for Romney (starting a war in Iran would be near the top of my list, as well as increasing the deficit by enlarging the military without raising any taxes to pay for it), but I really couldn’t care less what he (or any other politician) did when they were in high school.

    The people (mainly conservatives ironically enough) who want to get rid of the young offender’s act in Canada (which is based on the idea that kids actually often do things when they’re young that they wouldn’t do later on) are all for judging a youth as if they were an adult. Personally I think that’s a real mistake.

  84. al-Ameda says:

    Okay everyone, admit it …

    You’re really, really, really happy that your teenage and college years were not secretly videotaped (that is of course, unless your were the part of that one percent of kids who did everything right.)

  85. anjin-san says:

    @ George

    The 75% figure is based on my own experience, which is Marin County, mid-late 70’s. That figure may be something of an outlier, though I think a huge majority of high school kids at least tried pot and did some drinking in the 70s.

    Does anyone really believe that Romney would attack someone like that today?

    Not I, but the fact that he did that at all is telling. It was a very nasty piece of business. And as I and countless others have said, it was his action now in refusing to own up to what he had done then that is the real issue. It is worth noting that Obama has been quite candid about his drug use.

    judging a youth as if they were an adult

    Romney was 18 when that happened – the law says 18 is an adult. It is a very clearly drawn line. I know when I (and my buddies at the time) turned 18, we were very aware that the consequences of our actions could be much more serious than they were when we were minors.

  86. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Romney was 18 when that happened – the law says 18 is an adult. It is a very clearly drawn line. I know when I (and my buddies at the time) turned 18, we were very aware that the consequences of our actions could be much more serious than they were when we were minors.

    And Obama was in college when he was snorting, toking, and driving under the influence. Why does he get a pass for his years-long pattern of behaviors that could have killed people.

    Personally, I’m willing to give Obama a pass for what he did when he was “young and stupid.” But if this single incident from Romney’s past is going to define him for this election, then Obama’s years of irresponsible, dangerous conduct should be on the table, too.

  87. al-Ameda says:

    Amazing that some people here insist that there is no difference between hazing and being in the “purple haze”

    The bottomline:

    If you want to see the beginning of privatization of MediCare, cut backs to Medicaid, and a reduction of the top marginal tax rates from 34% to 25%, and not have a reduction in the deficit – then vote the guy who hazed someone.

    If you don’t want that – then vote for the guy who was in the “purple haze.”

  88. WR says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “Personally, I’m willing to give Obama a pass for what he did when he was “young and stupid.” But if this single incident from Romney’s past is going to define him for this election, then Obama’s years of irresponsible, dangerous conduct should be on the table, too. ”

    So you don’t care about Obama’s teen behavior. Unless someone you’ve never met cares about Romney’s teen behavior. Then suddenly Obama’s behavior is important to you.

    Do you actually have a brain of your own, or do you simply outsource all your thinking so that it directly contradicts whatever the other team is doing? How do you expect anyone to take your opinions seriously when you come right out and state that you don’t – that they’re nothing but markers on a board?

  89. Jenos Idanian says:

    @WR: Man, that last bit cuts to the quick. It really is incisive and slices right through the BS.

    Which is why I’ve said much the same thing several times — pointing out that you “outsource your thinking” to nutjobs like the DUmmies and Kossacks, where you collect your talking points.

    Some day, you might have an original thought of your own. But don’t hold your breath.

    No, on second thought, please do.

  90. Wayne says:

    Obama’s reaction to using drugs including cocaine was lousy. Ask if he inhaled and he answered “That was the point”. Where was his apology for using it and putting people in danger by driving under the influence? Where was Obama’s condemnation of drug use? He may have done it in some vague place but he did not do it repeatedly and consistently like Bush did so with drinking. Mostof the time I saw him he joke light heartily about it. Of course a Republicans drinking alcohol is extremely important but a Democrat doing drugs including cocaine is irrelevant.

  91. jukeboxgrad says:

    putting people in danger by driving under the influence

    I think you must be talking about Bush:

    On September 4, 1976 (age 30), Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family’s summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He admitted his guilt, was fined US$150, and had his driving license in the state suspended for two years … The most notorious episode… has 26-year-old Bush visiting his parents in Washington, D.C. … and taking his 16-year-old brother Marvin out drinking. On the way home Bush lost control of the car and ran over a waste container, but continued home with the garbage can wedged noisily under the car.

    Come back when you find Obama’s DUI.

  92. Steve Verdon says:

    @Herb:

    No Herb, here is the hypocrisy….

    Would President Obama’s life have been better if he had been arrested for smoking dope back when he was in high school and college? Sounds like he smoked a fair amount too. What if he had enough to be charged with distribution too? (BTW you don’t need that much to be charged with distribution). According to Obama now, the answer would have to be an unmitigated yes. Because he now supports arresting people who did exactly what he did back then.

    He is a hypocrite who thinks that damaging people’s lives over smoking marijuana is fine.