After getting the fifth “leavin’ for Splendour!!!" text today.
*I planned to publish this last week. But tomorrow became today became yesterday and then last week. You know how it is.
Barack Obama was on some sort of tour these past few weeks – and he isn’t even spruiking a book.
The 44th traversed the Rocky Mountain trail all the way to Texas to pump up his increasingly high performing economy, which last month achieved the fifth consecutive month of more than 200,000 jobs being added.
It’s a streak not seen since the 1990s, which seem so long ago you have to wonder if they even existed at all.
Anyway, enough about money, jobs and actual important matters – the potential highlight of the tour came when Obama stopped off for - presumably - a Silver Bullet ™ in a Denver bar. In an invitation that has been well publicised by a story hungry media since, a patron offered the President some weed – a substance the man surely adopted to dull the pain of being a long suffering Denver Nuggets season ticketholder.
Of course, Obama turned the offer down.
He laughed it off and kept walking towards the exit; so, he technically didn’t turn down the offer to: “hit this”. Which got me thinking: what would’ve happened if Barry had taken the offer of free bud?
Let me just say, this idea is not all that farfetched - the President has a well-known history with weed, and has even admitted to being part of the “Choom Gang” – their hideous name, not mine – in high school. Reportedly, it was pretty much just a bunch of students hanging out, playing basketball and smoking pot.
There is, of course, also this tremendous picture.
Also, we’re only a few months removed from when the President declared to the New Yorker, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
So again, not that implausible.
But, anyway, back onto the would-have-been impact of Obama blazing away in a Colorado bar.
Firstly, the media reaction would’ve been cataclysmic. I can almost see Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points memo now. “Obama out of control”, “The Pot President”, and a series of other overstated headlines would bellow both from bright red on-screen banners and blond-haired Fox News host.
It would take less than 17 minutes to question whether Obama was stoned when #BENGHAZI.
Meanwhile, on the left-leaning side of things, the narrative spun would probably be more legalisation-centric: “if it’s good enough for the Prez, why not all of us?” Bill Maher would’ve dedicated an entire edition of Real Time to the topic. There’d be a mutual liberal circle-jerk across NBC, HBO and NPR.
The GOP would mount an all-time push for impeachment, along with its support base which hasn’t exactly needed any legitimate reason to attack the President in the past five years and change. Ironically, an impeachment effort would go against the core Republican belief of small government and state control, seeing as marijuana is legal is Colorado but still a “Schedule One” drug from a federal perspective.
And, I mean, shit, House Republicans are already attempting to sue Obama. How much more annoyed can they get if he takes a puff?
Elected Democrats would likely avoid throwing too much public support behind the President himself, considering he is a final-term Commander in Chief that isn’t exactly popular – even though they are getting a boost on the back of his signature policy. Any support or pushback against the Republican narrative would focus on the ball, not the man.
Support for legalisation increased more than 10 percentage points in 2013. Overall, 58 per cent of Americans said they were in favour of changes that would see pot made legal, according to a Gallup poll in 2013. A Pew poll conducted around the same time found 63 per cent of self-identified Democrats were in support of legalisation.
With those figures considered, it’s hard to imagine Democrat voters being overly outraged by the incident. The US is steadily moving closer to legalisation, or at least decriminalisation, and as outlined above, it supported by almost two-thirds of Democrats.
Sure, the applecart would be upset with some of the President’s more moderate supporters, but it’d be unlikely to spark an enormous voter exodus. Let’s face it; it will take more than Obama smoking a joint to send voters scampering in the direction of this guy.
With all things considered, it’s hard to escape the thought that it all would’ve been pretty much a “push” had the President hit it.
Which is perhaps the most interesting part.
In a way, it shows much progress has been made that the President of the United States can be in a bar full of active pot smokers. On the other hand, the fact the argument can be made that if the President had partaken it wouldn’t have drastically impacted the political scene in any major way, well, it puts into perspective how fucked up the current climate is.