Did They Say That?

Cuomo, Obama Open Up

Posted: January 27, 2014

Under the heading “did they really say that,” we can safely add two more comments from prominent liberal politicians that would no one would have believed possible 50 years ago. The first comes from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; the second from President Barack Obama.

Mr. Cuomo’s comment was the more shocking the two, with conservatives noting that it points to the totalitarian impulse that animates the modern American left. Speaking in a radio interview last week, Mr. Cuomo said that “extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York.” And who might “extreme conservatives” be? “Right-to-life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay — if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Only “[m]oderate Republicans have a place in this state.” This equation is part of the left’s long-time effort to demonize any standard conservative position as “extremist,” a project that began in earnest during the last presidential campaign. Anyone who opposes abortion, gun control or the legalization of homosexual marriage is “extremist.”

As soon as the “extreme conservatives” fired back, Mr. Cuomo claimed he did not mean regular “extreme conservatives” who live in New York, only the “extreme conservative” politicians — the ones the regular “extreme conservatives” elected — who try to pass laws Mr. Cuomo and his “moderate” progressives don’t like.

Thus did Mr. Cuomo reveal what the left really thinks of the give-and-take of democratic procedure: not much. He wants no opposition; he will not tolerate it. Imagine if conservative GOP Govs. Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal had said likewise of “extreme liberals” in Texas and Louisiana.

Now, on to President Obama, who offered this bit of wisdom to The New Yorker’s David Remnick: “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Mr. Obama tried to explain his way out of that one, noting that “it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy” and that he certainly discourages such a habit in his daughters.

But consider what the most prominent man in America said: A near narcotic that gets one stoned, meaning it alters the mind, is no different than tobacco, which doesn’t alter the mind. And it isn’t more dangerous than alcohol?

Generally, most people don’t drink to get drunk. They enjoy a cocktail, or have a glass of wine with dinner. Most people smoke dope to get stoned. That’s a big difference. Not to put too fine a point on it, but when Jesus Christ performed His first public miracle at the wedding at Cana, he turned water into wine. He didn’t turn the asparagus into Thracian sinsemilla.

But we get what really worries Mr. Obama: “[m]iddle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” Nor, said he, should we lock up those who are doing something legislators have likely done themselves.

This last piece may certainly be true, but this clumsy attempt to racialize the issue, typical of Mr. Obama, is irrelevant to his rhetorical reefer madness: equating dope with cigarettes and alcohol. No one with any common sense believes they are comparable, no matter what the pot-puffers might wish the naïve to believe. Marijuana is nothing like tobacco, and its consumption is completely unlike that of drinking beer, wine or distilled spirits.

So here we have two politicians, who are, at long last, telling us exactly what they think about things. No one should be surprised.

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