Pubdate: Wed, 18 Aug 1999
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Chronicle


Editor -- Although raising valid questions about the furor surrounding
possible prior cocaine use by Gov. George W. Bush, your August 12 editorial
doesn't carry them to a logical conclusion. America has -- as a matter of
ardently pursued policy -- not only relentlessly demonized all drug use,
we've declared mere possession of ``illicit drugs'' felony criminal
behavior. There is no longer any innocent drug experimentation; by that
standard, the New York Daily News question to the candidates becomes

``Has it really come to this in American politics?

Are voters ready to disqualify every Baby Boomer politician who once
experimented with drugs?'' The short and completely accurate answer to your
question is ``Yes.'' Clinton implied it in 1992 with his ``never inhaled''

Your suggestion of how Bush should answer it today is fatuous; everyone
assumes he's the only one of the GOP hopefuls with undeniable cocaine use
in the background. He has to stonewall, at least until the field has been
narrowed. No matter how he deals with it, the issue will have the power to
wound his candidacy -- even fatally.

The better rhetorical question is how valid is a public policy that makes
approximately 25 million Americans guilty of a felony, plus an additional
55 million or so, presumably including Bush Jr., guilty of one or more in
their past? A delicious irony is that the candidate, an ardent supporter of
that policy, is hoisted on his own petard.


San Mateo

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