Saturday, October 18, 2008

From "The Club Of Disaffection" Into The Light

Jonathan Martin of Politico reports:

John Dowd, Cindy McCain's attorney, complained in a letter to New York Times editor Bill Keller earlier this month that the paper had scrutinized the GOP nominee's wife but not investigated matters surrounding Barack Obama including his youthful drug use."You have not tried to find Barack Obama's drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father," Dowd wrote in a two-page letter sent to Keller while the paper was reporting a piece about Cindy McCain.

The McCain campaign released the missive late Friday night in response to that story, to be published in the paper's Saturday edition. It's the first time anybody so closely associated with McCain has raised the issue. Continuing the campaign's drumbeat of criticism against the Times, Dowd wrote on October 1st that the paper was not covering the two candidates equally.

In addition to the reference to Obama's "drug dealer," Dowd notes that the Times also has not "interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them."

At age 33, Barack Obama took a year off after law school to pen Dreams of My Father, a personal memoir about his pedigree as son of a black African father and a white American mother. With stark openness, Obama concedes the underpinnings of a shiftless youth and experimentation with drugs:

"I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though . . ."

Obama couched his normal transience through teenage trial-and-error in terms of race and insecurity:

"Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man . . . Except the highs hadn't been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory. I had discovered that it didn't make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate's sparkling new van, or in the dorm room of some brother you'd met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids who had dropped out of school and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. ... You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection."

Obama also stated the leisurely use of drugs as an adolescent was a product of stereotypes (trying to be a "tough young man") and regretful ("The choices were misguided. A serious mistake").

When confronted about his erstwhile flirtation with drugs while campaigning for the United States Senate in 2003, Obama responded that it had been 20 years since his last dalliance with illegal substances.

McCain-Palin incessantly ask "who is Barack Obama?" Perhaps they should read books instead of removing them from libraries (sorry - I meant instead of generally hypothesizing with the public librarian about the potential responses to a fictitious mandate speculatively handed down to remove books for argument's sake. You know, just playing devil's advocate). Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope contain 403 and 375 pages respectively. That might be a good jumping-off point to get to know him.

Has there ever been a more vetted, battle-tested candidate in the history of elections than Barack Obama? After almost two years of the most insufferable campaigning, he continues to succeed.

And the remarkable thing is he is not a Teflon candidate: Everything they throw at him sticks. People just don't give a damn.

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