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January 2008
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On the Campaign Trail

“bullet” On Sunday night, Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel told a group of high school students that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana.
“Well, duh!” you say. Of course that’s true.
Well the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Pearson makes it clear why his column is called “The Swamp” and why it’s so hard for public figures to tell the truth about drugs.

Mike Gravel to teens: Say ‘yes’ to drugs
NASHUA, N.H.ÖFormer Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska hasn’t been heard from for quite some time in his quixotic quest for the Democratic presidential nomination and perhaps there’s a reason why.
In the days when he was invited to debates, detractors likened the 77-year-old former senator to the cranky uncle who lives in the attic.
No longer invited to debates, Gravel on Sunday night appeared at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter to speak to its high school students and showed no sign his campaign had gone up in smoke. Indeed, in a contest of booze versus pot, Gravel said light ’em up.

Fortunately, Pearson’s readers are smarter.
“bullet” You may have heard that Ron Paul’s campaign got a hit today due to the resurfacing of an old ghostwritten newsletter of his that contained racist and homophobic material. Keep in mind that these have been around for years and have been discussed before. Paul has taken moral responsibility for their existence in his newsletter, even though it appears he didn’t write them. And his public expressions have consistently been anything but racist or homophobic. Still, these things have political power.
I believe that Brian Doherty expresses it best:

It is certainly worth remembering on this tense day for those who have admired Paul as a politician and as a voice in this campaign that, as his clear to anyone paying close attention to either his presidential campaign message (or his message through most of his congressional career) or to the concerns of the bulk of his current fans, that racial or anti-gay animus has zero to do with Ron Paul’s campaign or its appeal. Any attempt to tar the “Ron Paul Revolution” with these old newsletters is wrongheaded and unfair. It is also worth remembering that every single other candidate is a fervent believer in policies that cause far more harm to far more innocent black people (the drug war) than old ghostwritten words that insult Martin Luther King, or insult rioters in racial terms, ever could. [emphasis added]

(This relates to my recent post at Daily Kos.)

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