Tuesday, November 29, 2005

# Posted 8:27 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CHICKENHAWK BUSH SNORTED COKE, SAYS PATRIOTIC DEM: Paul Hackett is the Marine vet of Operation Iraqi Freedom who came within a hair's breadth of winning an open congressional seat in Ohio earlier this year. He lost the race to Jean Schmidt, but his success has propelled him into a run for the Senate in 2006.

Last Wednesday, Hackett was on Hardball, where he denounced Schmidt and others for "play[ing] politics with the lives of young Americans" and avoiding the real issue of what to do about Iraq. In order to restore the proper level of dignity to American political discourse, Hackett promptly started talking about the President's alleged coke habit:
MATTHEWS: You said he has—in “G.Q.” this month you said, “He didn‘t have the stones to serve in his generation‘s war. Instead he wanted to drink alcohol and snort cocaine and party.”

Do you stand by that?

HACKETT: Those are the facts. I stand by it.

MATTHEWS: How do you know it‘s the fact that the president snorted cocaine, as you say?

HACKETT: Well, I think it‘s been widely reported.

It was widely reported leading up to his first election. And there are many who have come forward and documented that and said they saw it happen. I take that at face value. I think it‘s probably quite factual. And given the fact that he worked so hard to avoid service in his generation‘s conflict, it seems consistent to me.

MATTHEWS: You know, it‘s been widely reported—I guess it‘s been charged and some people have suspected it because of the way he‘s denied it, but you know for a fact that President Bush, the commander-in-chief—because you‘re running for the U.S. Senate...


MATTHEWS: ... was a cocaine user, you know that for a fact?

HACKETT: Well, I‘ve read the reports as you have read the reports.


MATTHEWS: Well, they‘re not reports; they‘re charges.


MATTHEWS: I wouldn‘t say I read it in the Associated Press or the “Wall Street Journal” or the “New York Times.”

HACKETT: Right. Fair enough.

MATTHEWS: I may have heard the arguments made by people who I may not think have got a firm grounding in journalism, but I‘ve never heard a major or a quality newspaper make such a charge like that.

HACKETT: I think that‘s a fair criticism.

I‘m relaying what I‘ve heard and what you‘ve heard and what I‘ve read and you‘ve read. So...

MATTHEWS: But that doesn‘t make it a fact, having heard it, does it?

HACKETT: Point well taken.

I think, though, where there‘s smoke there‘s fire.




MATTHEWS: Always? Well, why do we bother to check for fire if we know there‘s smoke—that‘s enough.

Anyway, let me get into your—the war issue, because you‘re right, the issue here is the war...
Bizarre. What was that again about Democrats being committed to reality-based politics? Anyhow, good for Matthews for not letting Hackett get away with it. You could almost hear the disbelief in Matthews' voice. And he was very hesitant with his questions, as if he weren't sure whether he should waste time cross-examining Hackett on such on obviously silly point. But if Hackett is going to argue for substantive politics and then talk about cocaine, that's what he deserves.

On a related note, Newsweek has an article up about Democratic efforts to recurit veterans to run for office in 2006. My memory is hazy on this point, but I think the Democrats tried to run a veteran for president last year, but it didn't work out too well.

UPDATE: Over at Kos, knowthings congratulates Hackett on his stellar peformance. Yes, really. The smarter liberals at RBC admit that Hackett came off looking pretty bad.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

Well, there are a few different things happening here. One is that, as a political matter, to bring this up about Bush right now is foolish without having it nailed down.

The others, though, are these: as Matthews said, "some people have suspected it because of the way he‘s denied it", by which he means that Bush hasn't categoricaly denied it. Note this from August 1999:

Bush Thursday denied using illegal drugs over the past 25 years, but refused to discuss his younger years for fear of sending "a signal to children that whatever I may have done is okay."

This question was also the context for the famous statement, "When I was young and irresponsible I was young and irresponsible." So considering that it's been asked and explicitly not answered, it's not like Hackett suggested that Bush may have knocked over a convenience store or something.

Finally, I'm closer to Bush's age than to yours -- I'm Yale Class of 1980 -- and if I were to learn that someone from my class had become President of the US and, in addition, had regularly done cocaine, I'd be more surprised by the first than by the second.
Heh. Sounds like Yale has gotten a lot more tame over the years.
Has anyone actually alleged that they saw George Bush do cocaine or had personal knowledge that he used cocaine? I don't think so. Also, if George Bush was doing cocaine at Yale in the mid-1960s he would have been quite avant-garde. Cocaine wasnt readily available in the United States at that time--not anything like its availibility in the late 1970s or today--and was certainly not popular among the Ivy League frat boy/jock set. If Bush had been at Yale in 1980, I would be more willing to believe that he tooted his fair share of blow.
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