Obama vs. Bush On How Honesty is the Highest form of Leadership

Hillary Clinton fired the co-chair of her New Hampshire campaign, Bill Shaheen, because he speculated that Barack Obama would be attacked by Republicans for admitting youthful drug use,if he were the nominee. She then apologized to Obama.

But in this controversy, what is forgotten is that our current incumbent also admitted to youthful drug use:

‘ Bush has said that he did not use illegal drugs at any time since 1974, but he has declined to discuss whether he used drugs before 1974.

A conversation between Bush and an old friend and author, Doug Wead, touched on the subject of use of illegal drugs. In the taped recordings of the conversation, Bush explained his refusal to answer questions about whether he had used marijuana at some time in his past. “I wouldn’t answer the marijuana questions,” Bush says. “You know why? Because I don’t want some little kid doing what I tried.” When Wead reminded Bush that the latter had publicly denied using cocaine, Bush replied, “I haven’t denied anything.” ‘

I’d say that we know from this recorded interview that Bush 1) used marijuana in his youth, 2) used “blow” or cocaine in his youth, and 3) is deliberately dishonest about both in public.

We also know that Bush was an alcoholic until he was 40 years old, would go up at parties to little old ladies and ask them how sex is after 50, and fancied himself a ladies man (I think the evangelicals have words like fornication & adultery for that sort of thing, but the evangelicals seem to be selective in choosing the target of such vocabulary).

Of course, if you say you later got religion, and if you are a Republican, all these sins are suddenly forgiven and the nation’s newspapers and t.v. pundits and Baptist preachers immediately stop even remembering that they happened.

So everyone reported Bush’s condemnation of drug use by athletes on Friday with a straight face, and without making reference to his own drug use. (There is evidence that the alcoholism continued while he was in the White House).

I don’t doubt that what Bill Shaheen said is correct, and that the Republicans will play all sorts of dirty tricks on Barack Obama if he is the Democratic nominee. The Republican Party is about velociraptor politics.

But if they did come after Obama for his honesty, I’d reply that they have been led for the past 7 years by someone who did the same things and then stonewalled the public about them. Bush seems to think it is better to teach little children to lie than to be honest with them about the temptations they will face in this society during adolescence.

And the corporate media will never even notice, when they collaborate in the future swiftboating of Obama, that they gave W. a pass because he is a Republican and an elite white male from an old-established political family.

Obama did the right thing in coming clean. Bush did the wrong thing in obscuring the truth. Obama demonstrated leadership. Bush showed himself a political and moral coward, and a hypocrite.

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