Sen. Barack Hussein Obama, the young, photogenic rising star of the Democratic party, admitted marijuana and cocaine use in his youth. In his decade-old autobiography, Dreams from My Father, Obama described his flirtations with Mary Jane and coke ("or blow," as he referenced it) as efforts to escape his internal conflict in dealing with his mixed heritage (Dad-black Muslim and Mom-white Christian). His admission has come to the fore in the national press with the Washington Post's article yesterday questioning the effect of his candor.
Nevertheless, in the country's most conservative state, Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune praised Obama for his honesty in contradistinction to our current President's inartful evasion of drug-use queries and Clinton's much-mocked claim to have not inhaled. The "flyover" country consists not of moralizing Babbitts as the patronizing intelligensia and partison pols may presuppose: rather, it is made up of people who work hard, trust in God, and believe in redemption. Obama is a breath of fresh air: he may not have the ideas, depth, and conviction of a Reagan but he has the charisma, optimism, and good looks of a JFK.
Hillary and John Edwards better watch out for Oprah's favorite candidate during the primaries. If he gains the Democratic nomination, Rudy, John McCain, and Mitt Romney should be wary, too: none of them has a rock solid base among Republicans nor would they likely have a lock on the independents.
Cf. http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_4848123 and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/02/AR2007010201359_pf.html.