Okay, so I'm no neophyte, thinking everybody should play nice with each other until we get this primary thing done with. But yesterday's comments by Billy Shaheen, a national co-chair of Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign (and husband of former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen), on the past drug use of Clinton rival Barack Obama are really shameful.

When soon-to-be also-ran Chris Dodd went after Hillary Clinton for alleged lack of "electability", I took issue with his transparent attempt to leverage any lingering sexism in the Democratic base to his own advantage. Here, we find Shaheen, as Clinton's surrogate, not simply mining a rival's past for unflattering information, but deploying that information in a way that he likely knows will evoke a racial stereotype of the black drug-thug in the minds of voters who have never known actual black people. From The Trail, the blog:

Shaheen said Obama's candor on the subject would "open the door" to further questions. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

If you think I'm reading too much into this, check out this piece by the Post's Lois Romano from very early this year -- a year to the day, perchance, of the upcoming Iowa caucuses --about Obama's self-revelation:

Long before the national media spotlight began to shine on every twist and turn of his life's journey, Barack Obama had this to say about himself: "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. . . . I got high [to] push questions of who I was out of my mind."


Obama writes extensively about his struggle to come to terms with being a black man whose African father returned to Kenya when he was 2, leaving him to be raised by his white Kansas-born mother and grandparents in Hawaii. He describes an identity crisis arising from his realization that his life was shaped by both a loving white family and a world that saw in him the negative stereotypes frequently ascribed to young black men. He recounts a search of self that took him from high school in Hawaii to Columbia University, and then to the streets of Chicago as a community organizer.

At least he didn't say he never inhaled.

--Adele M. Stan

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