At his new American Prospect location, Ezra Klein argues that Bill Shaheen's clumsy effort at making Obama's past drug use an issue may have actually aided Obama by inoculating him against the charge when Republicans (or their proxy groups) throw it at him in the 2008 elections.
I certainly hope that's right. But can I just say I find this whole thing ridiculous. Obama used drugs as a kid. Fantastic. Lot's of kids do. I don't find that thrilling information, but you know what I consider the ideal outcome of a youthful drug habit? Kicking it, going to Ivy League schools, and eventually becoming a front-runner for President. There is this persistent murmuring that Obama is a bad example for kids because, after he admitted to taking drugs, he didn't have the decency to become a hobo or thug for the rest of his life.
This mentality simply won't last. Kids today know people who take drugs. If we got rid of all the people who had tried marijuana, I wouldn't have a college anymore. And you know what? Having had friends, class-mates, roommates, family members, and romantic partners who have experimented with cannabis, I can say without a doubt that the world would be a worse place if they were in prison. Anybody who has attended college in the last several decades has had the same experience. Eventually, it's going to have an effect on policy.