Conservative bloggers and talk show hosts who should know better are running gleefully with the tales out of David Maraniss’s new biography of the President in which young Obama is revealed as a pothead. “Choom” apparently means marijuana, and at the Punahou School in Hawaii Barry belonged to the “Choom Gang,” the members of which were apparently obsessed with weed.
The Choomies drove around in a Volkswagen bus called the “Choomwagon,” and were especially fond of “roof hits,” smoking pot inside the Choomwagon with all the windows rolled up, to maximize the amount of smoke they inhaled. Barack Spicoli Obama was apparently known for renowned for his “interceptions”…joining a group of stoners passing around a joint, taking a hit and yelling, “Intercepted!”
All of which tells us 100% of nothing regarding the fitness of Obama to lead the country today. Every single one of the reasons I listed why Mitt Romney’s teenage bullying in prep school should be off-limits in making any kind of assessment of his character and trustworthiness now applies to Obama’s juvenile pot exception. How can these warriors of the right, like Prof. Glenn Reynold of Instapundit and Mark Levin, who indignantly protested when the Washington Post deemed a four decade-old hazing incident worthy of front page coverage to smear Mitt Romeny, now engage in exactly the same tactic against Obama? This isn’t just Ethics 101—the fact that your adversary is unethical doesn’t magically make it ethical for you to do the same thing—but also Logic 101. The Romney hit piece was stupid. No fair person who wasn’t hopeless addled by partisan mania could fail to see it. So is trying to make the Choom Gang a campaign issue.
“Oh nonono,” the conservative slime-mongers will argue. “This is worse!” Yeah, I think it’s probably worse: Romney’s bullying comprises one incident that at the time, and may even now in a school setting, would not be regarded as a crime. Maraniss portrays the Choom Gang as habitual lawbreakers, and breaking the law tends to become a nasty habit; it’s not favored training for future Presidents. To plenty of Obama’s fans, howeve—young, politically correct, obsessed with the politics of victimhood and itching to see all of America turned into one big Choomwagon—Cheech Obama’s exploits make him a hero. They are as out to lunch as the Neolithic conservatives who hear that Romney abused a gay kid and think, “Hey! Maybe he’s like me after all!“, but the point is that neither story is worth a bucket of warm spit, and both are equally unfair to the candidates at their center.
The conservatives promoting the Choom story are hypocrites, and the liberals who are crying foul after criticizing Kid Mitt are as well.
There is something else significant about the Choom outbreak however. The Washington Post, which covered its front page with the Romney hazing story, buries its comments about the Choom Gang in a sub-heading on page A 6, under a headline, “High School and Beyond.” that mentions neither Obama nor drug use. In fact, it isn’t even a story, but an excerpt from a Post blog online. Karen Tumulty writes [My interjections are in bold:
“Whether episodes from a candidate’s high school days are a relevant subject for exploration is something that is getting a lot of discussion these days. The Post got a lot of criticism from the right a few weeks back, when it published Jason Horowitz’s story on Mitt Romney’s days at an exclusive Michigan prep school, when witnesses say he held down a student presumed to be gay and cut his hair. It will be interesting to see whether there is similar umbrage over the latest information about Obama.” [Well, you have your answer, don’t you, Karen—at least from me. But let me ask you and your supposedly objective paper this: if the two stories are roughly equivalent, as your pairing of them suggests, then how do you explain the Romney story being a front page scoop, and the Obama story being quietly discussed in a Post blog I had never noticed before? Don’t tell me that Obama’s drug use isn’t “news,” since he alluded to it in the past—his being a full-fledged dope-head wasn’t generally known, and neither story is legitimate, “Stop the presses!” news. So how do you explain it, other than the fact that your paper is committed to electing Obama—again—by any means necessary, and objectivity and fairness be damned?]
One thing I find interesting is that, taken together, these accounts offer reassurance: High school is not destiny. Neither Obama the slacker nor Romney the prankster would have seemed destined for greatness. Which is reassuring for the great majority of those of us who left behind no trophies with our names on them in the glass display cases. [ So, Karen, you expect us to believe that proving that facile Hallmark lesson was really the motivation for trying to make Mitt Romney look like a gay-persecuting thug on the Post’s front page? The Post’s own ombudsman admitted that the publishing of the story was intentionally timed to coincide with Obama’s gay marriage announcement, in other words, “Obama-good, Romney-bad. If you are now admitting that high school conduct doesn’t define the adult— to which I have to add, “Who doesn’t know that???”—what possible justification is there, other than bias, for making Mitt’s four decade old misconduct breaking news?]
“Nonetheless, these years are worth exploring, if only because they give us a chance to trace the trajectory of character, and to show that it is not just something we are born with, but also something that we grow into.”
[Awwwww. Well heck, why didn’t the Post just say that to wind up its smear job on the Republican candidate?]
- The significance of the Obama “Choom” story, like the Romney hair-cutting incident, to the election and the qualifications and character of the candidates is zip. Nada. Zero.
- The significance of the reaction to the two stories by partisans is this: they are shameless hypocrites, and will jettison common sense and fairness for political success.
- The significance of the disparate handling of the two stories, with the Romney incident being highlighted by the mainstream media and the Obama story being trumpeted only by the news media on the Right is that the mainstream media will abuse its theoretical legitimacy and ignore fairness and objectivity in 2012 as it did in 2008, to give every edge it can to Barack Obama.
But that’s not news, either.
Facts: Daily Caller
Source: Washington Post
Graphic: Daily Caller
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