Mr. Bush said: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."This is the old gotcha game all over again, and it's a stupid little ritual. George W. Bush has admitted to a colorful past; Barack Obama has admitted to cocaine use (the tapes also contain a non-denial denial on allegations of Bush's possible cocaine use). As Bush says on the tapes, it's part of his schtick; I've made mistakes, it's time to move one.
The interviews also contain ample evidence that it's more than political schtick, though; Bush's religious convictions come across as real and deeply held, and (listen up, progressives) Bush states his opposition to gay marriage in 1999, while refusing to bash homosexuals for politicial points.
Frankly, if Bush drank as much as he apparently once did, and given that a lot of that drinking took place in the sixties and seventies, the real shock would be if he hadn't tried drugs. I believe that if Bush had a serious drug problem, we would have surely heard of it by now. More importantly, Bush's strong leadership has trumped any shenanigans in his past. That's between him and his God, and apparently he feels they've worked it out.
Some on the left would see this as a hypocritical stance - why, they might ask, didn't you extend the same forgiveness to Bill Clinton's infidelities, or John Kerry's overblown 'Winter Soldier' testimony? In Kerry's case, he made Vietnam the issue, so his behavior thirty years ago became relevant once again at his own bidding; in the case of Clinton, the behavior was ongoing and apparently pathological. Bush has owned up to his past; he claims to have made amends with his maker; he doesn't owe me or any one else a detailed explanation; and as for me, that's the end of that. Finis...
CORRECTION 02/21/05 10:57 am central: In the post above, I state that Barack Obama admitted to cocaine use; I could have sworn I read or heard him say that, but the interview that I referred to has him admitting to only doing drugs, generically, in his younger days.