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Enough with the tabloid questions

Another episode of feigned outrage over substance is beginning again as the year 2000 presidential soap opera moves into full gear.

Saturday, August 21, 1999

Another episode of feigned outrage over substance is beginning again as the year 2000 presidential soap opera moves into full gear. The issue of the day – drug use.

This week’s story includes a hailstorm of questions about GOP contender George W. Bush’s past drug use.

Bush has refused to answer the question or address the issue other than to satisfy the requirement for anyone who applies for a high level goverment classified clearance.

He has said that he has not taken drugs in the last 7 years. He later added that he has not taken drugs in the last 25.

Bush claims the issue of what he did when he was a 22-year-old has no bearing on his current ability to be president. So, he is refusing to discuss the question other than to give the above-mentioned answer. He has said publically that anyone who does not find his answer adequate should vote for someone else.

And he is right.

Just as the questions about Bill Clinton’s use of marijuana in college were ridiculous, so are these queries.

Unless a candidate is accused of continuing use of illegal substances, there is absolutely no reason to discuss his or her behavior as a young, naive – and sometimes stupid – adult.

Honesty and integrity are what matter. Conviction and courage, too. To judge a candidate on some rumors about a past he has already conquered is just plain politics – and not the way to build a strong country.

Some will compare the Bush questions to discussions of Clinton’s infidelity and other character flaws. And that would be true – if that was what the questions really were about.

Clinton’s inability to answer questions truthfully – and his continued "troubles" in the areas in question – said something about his character. And those weaknesses should be a factor when choosing a president.

But that aside, it is time to stop the personal assassinations that seem to accompany any presidential campaign.

Few people have a blemish-free young adulthood. Learning lessons are what maturing is all about.

The focus of this election should be what each candidate can do for his country. Issues are what matter.

And voters should not have time for – or patience with – any other discussion.