Marijuana

Marco Rubio Stonewalls on His Pot Smoking—for the Children

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ABC News

In an interview with ABC News that aired today, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) again refused to say whether he has ever smoked pot, while implicitly acknowledging that he has:

Here is the problem with that question in American politics. If you say that you did, suddenly there are people out there saying it is not a big deal—look at all these successful people who did it. And I don't want my kids to smoke marijuana. And I don't want other people's kids to smoke marijuana. I don't think there is a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana. On the other side of it, if you tell people that you didn't, they won't believe you. So it is just a worthless question.

Rubio has his eyes on the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, and his pot position is reminiscent of the one that George W. Bush took during his first presidential campaign. Here is how Bush put it in a 1998 interview with Newsweek:

If I were you, I wouldn't tell your kids that you smoked pot unless you want 'em to smoke pot. I think it's important for leaders, and parents, not to send mixed signals. I don't want some kid saying, "Well, Governor Bush tried it."

Rubio, like Bush, won't say whether he smoked pot, ostensibly because answering the question would send a bad message to impressionable teenagers. That response is tantamount to admitting that he smoked pot, since otherwise there would be no bad message to worry about. But by claiming to be stonewalling for the children, Rubio can avoid getting into potentially embarrassing details.

The implications of Rubio's argument go beyond his own biography. Judging from the federal government's survey data, a history of pot smoking is normal for men his age (43 as of May 28). In fact, allowing for a bit of under-reporting, these data suggest that most American adults born after World War II have tried marijuana. Those 111 million or so people obviously include many who nevertheless managed to do well in school, raise families, and have successful careers, in some cases marked by extraordinary achievement. Rubio's logic suggests that we should conceal this fact from children for as long as possible, lest they think pot smoking is no big deal. In that light, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is reckless to make such information publicly available. It is hard to convince a teenager that smoking pot will end in disaster when he knows that most people do it at some point.

Rubio's claim that there is no "responsible way to recreationally use marijuana" likewise flies in the face of reality. More than 30 million Americans consume marijuana every year. According to Rubio, every one of them does so irresponsibly, regardless of dose or context. Would he say the same thing about drinkers? If not, why not? There is no logical reason why the same rules that distinguish responsible drinking from irresponsible drinking cannot be applied to cannabis consumption. 

Rubio's justification for self-censorship could extend to many subjects aside from marijuana. He told ABC's Jonathan Karl he realized that being candid about your past can be harmful after he wrote a memoir in which he recalled his mediocre performance as a high school student:

Someone came up to me and said, "You know, I enjoyed your book, but I want you to know, my son came up to me and said he doesn't have to get good grades in high school, because 'look at Marco Rubio—he didn't do well in high school, and look how successful he's been.'" And that impacted me.

This sounds like an all-purpose excuse for sanitizing your biography and refusing to answer questions about touchy subjects: I can't tell you whether I was fired for embezzling, because I don't want kids to think it's OK to steal from your employer. I can't tell you whether I was arrested for DUI, because I don't want kids to think that driving when you're drunk is no big deal. And so on.

Oddly, Rubio does not seem to worry about the message his shiftiness sends to the youth of America.

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  1. What a slimy POS he is. Perfect candidate for the Republicans. Ah, well, back to the “other” category for me.

  2. Mary Jane gives you dry mouth on camera.

    1. Funny, he does look kinda baked in the photo.

  3. And I don’t want my kids to smoke marijuana. And I don’t want other people’s kids to smoke marijuana.

    What about all the kids who listen to Marco Rubio and decide it’s OK to use force to not let other people do shit that doesn’t affect them?

    1. He can decide what to put into his own body and maybe even for his children under 18, but not for others.

  4. I have little use for Rubio, but I don’t think it is a bad answer. Rubio is wrong about prohibition. That is my problem with him. If you go from the assumption that pot is bad and should be illegal, he response makes perfect sense.

    And really, the question is worthless. We all have fun pointing out the hypocrisy of people like Obama and Bush on drugs. What if someone who was pro legalization said they had never tried it and wouldn’t ever do so even if it were legal? Would the drug warriors be correct in calling that person a hypocrite who wants to legalize something they won’t and never have used themselves? Hell no. But it is just as valid of logic as saying someone who has used drugs is prohibited from supporting their criminalization.

    1. I disagree. I don’t think that’s at all an example of equally valid logic being used both ways.

      1. I think it is. Both are examples of the ad homonem fallacy. Whether or not the speaker has ever used drugs has nothing to do with the question of whether drugs should be legal.

        When I was a teenager I hopped a few freight trains. That is an incredibly stupid thing to do. How does the fact that I am guilty of doing it myself prohibit me from saying that I am okay with railroads arresting kids today who do it as a way to deter them from doing such a stupid thing?

        Again, you only think Obama using drugs as a youth is relevant to his position on drugs because you don’t like his position.

        1. I would agree that it doesn’t make their argument invalid. I never said it did. It does make them a hypocrite. What I was disputing was your notion that it’s somehow hypocritical to support drug legalization and not use drugs.

        2. Whether or not the speaker has ever used drugs has nothing to do with the question of whether drugs should be legal.

          This is incredibly false.

          The argument against drugs requires the arguer to assert that they are protecting the user for their own good.

          That argument is fundamentally undermined if the speaker also used drugs.

          If 100 million people train hopped, dude, that would in fact constitute strong evidence that it wasn’t dangerous. Sorry.

          1. When I was in college, I drove after drinking God knows how much several times. By your logic, I am now prevented from supporting laws against even extreme drunk driving because I once did it and got away with it.

            The argument against drugs requires the arguer to assert that they are protecting the user for their own good.

            That argument is fundamentally undermined if the speaker also used drugs.

            That is retarded and incredibly disappointing coming from someone like you who is usually smarter. By your logic, no one can ever offer advice based on mistakes they have made.

            You are confusing the argument. You would never make such a stupid argument in relation to any other crime. The reason is that you don’t think using drugs should be a crime. I agree with you. Rubio doesn’t and that is the problem here not the fact that he may have once used drugs himself.

            1. By your logic, no one can ever offer advice based on mistakes they have made.

              He hasn’t offered the slightest rationale for why it would be a mistake.

              That’s the whole point here.

              If he smoked marijuana and it harmed him, he should be able to explain how.

              If he could do that, it would be reasonable for him to say he made a mistake and wants us to learn from it.

              But here, he’s withholding his answer because he knows he can’t point to any way it harmed him. He thinks he’s just fucking the cat’s meow. That means that he can’t give us an explanation of how it was a mistake, and so he is instead refusing to answer.

    2. I too am tired of the gotcha questions, but I don’t think that the abstemious pro-legalizing person is in the same position as the ex-smoker prohibitionist. The ex-smoking prohibitionist is in the position of saying, “if I’d been caught I should have been arrested, and my dealer should have been given a stiff prison sentence.” The non-smoking legalizer hasn’t done anything awkward, any more than the non-Communist who thinks Communists should have free speech.

      1. Yes, that is the ex smoker’s position. Why is that position bad? I don’t see why it is. The problem is their opinion on prohibition not their opinion on whether they should have been arrested.

        1. Of course people outgrow youthful follies all the time. And if as a youth they, say, committed vandalism or set off firecrackers, that doesn’t bind you to want to legalize that sort of thing as an adult. But it *is* somewhat awkward in a way that legalizing something you don’t do isn’t.

        2. If Rubio did smoke and had been sent to federal prison, he wouldn’t be in Congress today. Arguing in favor of continuing to destroy the lives of young people when he only escaped that fate by random luck suggests he sees himself as not being bound by the same rules he expects everyone else to abide by.

          Such a man should never be trusted with any authority.

          1. If Rubio did smoke and had been sent to federal prison, he wouldn’t be in Congress today.

            Sure. And if I had ever lost my grip, I would have been run over by a train. The fact that I didn’t, doesn’t make what I did any smarter. It just makes me lucky.

            The fact that Rubio got lucky and didn’t go to jail doesn’t mean he is precluded from saying other people should avoid the risk.

            1. The fact that Rubio got lucky and didn’t go to jail doesn’t mean he is precluded from saying other people should avoid the risk.

              It does if he’s one of the people creating the risk.

              1. No it doesn’t. Why would it? I got lucky and never got arrested for trespassing when I jumped freight trains. I understand that doing that was stupid and I wouldn’t want kids now to take the same risk. For that reason I am okay with arresting kids who try it as a way to deter them from doing it. Rubio is just saying the same thing about drugs.

                Again, the problem is his position that drugs should be illegal not that he has used drugs.

                1. The fact that Rubio got lucky and didn’t go to jail doesn’t mean he is precluded from saying other people should avoid the risk.

                  The risk you’re saying Rubio luckily avoided is the risk of going to jail.

                  That’s how your sentence is set up. Maybe you meant other risks, but that’s not what you wrote.

                  If that’s the risk we’re talking about, Rubio is one of the people currently creating that risk.

                  “Hey, I’m just trying to help you avoid the risk…I’m creating!” is an extortionist argument. A mafia thug argument.

                  1. The risk you’re saying Rubio luckily avoided is the risk of going to jail.

                    No. You misunderstand what I am saying. Rubio thinks drugs are bad and people shouldn’t use them. For that reason he is okay with throwing people who do use them in jail as a way to deter others from doing so. That logic is no different than me supporting arresting kids who try to hop on trains.

                    1. Yikes. Ahem. Given that one of the commenters here may or may not be a government employee and/or a member of his or her local bar association, I would suggest that, perhaps, all mention of hypothetical youthful indiscretions are fictional, solely for entertainment purposes and that any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.

    3. If you say that you did, suddenly there are people out there saying it is not a big deal?look at all these successful people who did it.

      The problem, John, is that Rubio really should say:

      If you say that you did, suddenly that proves it is not a big deal?look at all these successful people who did it.

      The problem with Rubio’s statement is that it shows that he is willing to suppress facts to support a bad argument.

      He may as well go out and become a climate scientist now.

      If this was an interview with Michael Mann and he said:

      I don’t want to answer that question because if I do people will take my answer and use it as evidence against the climate change agenda…

      …you’d be all over the fucking guy.

      1. Just because not everyone to touches drugs turns into a degenerate doesn’t mean that a significant number don’t in fact do that.

        Take my train hopping analogy above. Me and a lot of other people have done that and not suffered any consequences. That fact doesn’t make doing it any smarter. It just means me and a few other people are lucky.

        Same logic applies here. Yeah, if you are a pampered rich kid like Obama or Bush you might get lucky and use drugs and be fine. You also might not.

        Now, I don’t agree with that argument but it isn’t irrational. All Rubio is saying is “if I said I did it, people will interpret that to mean it is a good thing to do rather than the truth as I see it which is I did something stupid and just got lucky.”

        1. All Rubio is saying is “if I said I did it, people will interpret that to mean it is a good thing to do rather than the truth as I see it which is I did something stupid and just got lucky.”

          He’s perfectly free to offer that rationalization if he wants.

          Refusing to answer the question because “people just won’t understand” the oh-so-complex and difficult to explain position you just summed up in 8 words is fundamentally dishonest.

          1. Since when is “its none of your business”, the same thing as lying? It is a bullshit question that has nothing to do with the merits of his position.

            1. When your answer is part of the evidence for the merit of your argument, refusing to answer is dishonest.

              You keep wanting to talk about train hopping, but in the case of marijuana, negative life outcomes are the only possible evidence we can consider when deciding if it’s harmful. And that evidence is accretive and aggregative. That makes every last person’s experience with the drug relevant to the discussion of whether or not it’s harmful. If you want to withhold your own experience, you don’t get to participate in the discussion at all without being intellectually dishonest.

              1. When your answer is part of the evidence for the merit of your argument, refusing to answer is dishonest.

                No. your answer is a deceiving anecdote. Regardless of what you think about drugs, the fact that one guy used them once and turned out okay is not any significant evidence one way or another on the question of should they be legal in society as a whole.

                Again, I agree with you about prohibition and disagree with Rubio. His position on the issue is what is objectionable not the fact that he once may have used drugs. That is irrelevant.

                1. Regardless of what you think about drugs, the fact that one guy used them once and turned out okay is not any significant evidence one way or another on the question of should they be legal in society as a whole.

                  Sure it is.

                  I drove drunk in college, am I now morally prevented from supporting reasonable laws against drunk driving?

                  Actually, I have thought for a long time that given the sheer quantity of drunk driving that statistics tell us is happening on any given evening…it’s not really that dangerous.

                  But now you’re moving the goalposts. We’re not talking about whether or not it’s morally OK to support prohibition. We’re talking about whether it’s morally OK to self-servingly withhold information about your own personal history in order to try to continue to argue that something is dangerous.

                2. Yeah, you’re right that having done something stupid in the past shouldn’t preclude you from saying it was stupid, and having done something illegal shouldn’t preclude you from saying it should remain illegal.

                  The issue is just one notch subtler than the simple soundbite: it’s not really so much the legality, it’s the disproportionate policy response; and the disproportionate rhetorical response that drives it.

                  Nobody told Young Rubio that if he jumped a train he’d never make anything of himself. And if he’d done it and gotten caught at it, he wouldn’t have become the target of a slew of state and federal laws and policies designed to insure that outcome. Unlike smoking pot.

                  If Young Rubio had jumped a train without getting caught, he could now admit he’d done that while saying that he now realizes it was stupid and risky. But if he’d stolen a car, say, or shot someone, and not gotten caught… he’d probably have to make some gesture of amends– possibly even face delayed legal repercussions– in order to admit it now and still pursue a political career. Our society officially treats pot smoking a lot more like grand theft or attempted murder than like train jumping. And being on board with the drug war means supporting the idea that it *should*.

                  So he wants to admit he jumped a train, while supporting treating other people doing it like grand theft or attempted murder. That’s the hypocrisy.

            2. I’m stunned that you think his position has merit.

              1. waffles|5.19.14 @ 3:05PM|#

                I’m stunned that you think his position has merit.

                I am stunned you can’t seem to understand what I am saying. FOR THE FIFTH TIME I DO NOT AGREE WITH HIM ON PROHIBITION. But saying that his possible use of drugs makes his position untenable is a retarded and stupid argument.

                1. I reiterate. I am stunned that you think his position on drugs is a tenable position given his history of drug use. I do not agree with that someone with presidential aspirations could be a prohibitionist and have smoked pot and be a moral human being.

                  1. I do not agree with that someone with presidential aspirations could be a prohibitionist and have smoked pot and be a moral human being.

                    That is absurd. I drove drunk in college, am I now morally prevented from supporting reasonable laws against drunk driving? By your logic I am.

                    1. You know what? It is absurd. And it’s my position on marijuana.

      2. Fluffy’s right, Rubio’s a hypocritical self-serving scumbag who doesn’t give a shit how many people suffer as long as he can maintain or increase his power. And there is a shitload wrong with how he answered this question, including his playing the victim card by pretending it is some kind of trap question posed by an unscrupulous interviewer.

        1. Fluffy is wrong. He is just confusing his correct in my opinion objection to Rubio’s position with the internal rationality of what Rubio is saying.

    4. Someone like Obama (or Bush if a lot of stories about his wilder days are to be believed) is more hypocritical on this than Rubio, since he has often joked about his druggie days as if it is no big deal, yet still supports policies that could easily have kept him from succeeding as he has if he had been unlucky just once.
      But I’d still say Rubio is most likely a hypocrite on the issue. Sure, maybe he smoked pot and decided that it was terrible and woudl ruin his life if he did it more. But it is far more likely that he had some fun with it in his 20s and then got bored with it like most people and knows full well that it is not a huge danger that justifies prohibition.

  5. Didja ever see Scarface? Imagine a gravity-bong hit of the same magnitude.

  6. “I did dope and it turned me into a sleazy politician. It’s too late for me, kids, but profit from my example and don’t smoke that stuff!”

    1. YES!

  7. Soon, candidates will not be able to run from their pasts.

    http://xkcd.com/

  8. He looks stoned in the article’s picture.

    Anyways, what so hard about saying “Yes, I tried the stuff in college, like nearly everybody else in my generation”? You’re honest and you don’t come off sounding like a sniveling politician (I guess we ARE talking about Rubio here…).

    1. “I smoked pot every day until I figured out that I wanted to be a politician. When I realized smoking pot was incompatible with being a politician I stopped. Some men and women far more talented than I didn’t, and that’s why…”

      Seriously, if any of Rubio’s people are reading this, I’m available for a fee.

      1. “I smoked pot every day until I realized that power is the ultimate high. And blow snorted off an expensive lobbyist-provided call girl’s ass. But mostly power.”

        1. This raises an interesting question: Would I vote for Charlie Sheen for Congress?

          1. Abso-fucking-lutely. Because he’s on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.

            1. You’re right, I would.

  9. He’s one of those guys who I think should stop thinking about the White House. He has no chance of winning the nomination, and I think he should spend some time figuring out politics, because he stumbles a little too often. Has he learned nothing from Obama? Do nothing.

    1. He’s learned that if only he had a (D) behind his name, he could hop from the State House to the Senate to the White House without ever completing a term.

    2. Yeah, I haven’t figured out what he has going for him other than being brown and reliably conservative on everything but immigration.

      1. And good looking for a politician.

    3. Look, man, if President Has No Clothes can do it, anyone can!

      1. One must be transparent and skilled in the art of Not Being Seen.

  10. “I don’t think there is a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana.”

    Stupid or liar? Or perhaps both?

    1. Politician. I vote both.

    2. Lying about this, but too stupid to see how ridiculous this lie makes him appear.

  11. “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. Did YOU?”

  12. “Rubio does not seem to worry about the message his shiftiness sends to the youth of America”

    ‘Dad, when I grow up, I want to be a mendacious, self-serving politician!’

    1. “I learned to lie from watching CSPAN.”

  13. By the way, I never heard of this guy until the media was talking about him running for President.

    What are his accomplishments?

    Did he courageously stand up for civil liberties on the Senate floor?

    Did he win a major battle?

    Did he invent a medicine which helped millions of people?

    Or did he just get a good-looking haircut and vote however his political advisors told him?

    1. His parents fled Cuba and his parents fled Cuba. That’s about it.

      1. Then elect his parents.

        1. He was the Florida Speaker of the House, IIRC, and a Jeb Bush protege who jumped onto the Tea Party bandwagon. Yee haw.

      2. They immigrated riot to Castro taking over. Another fraudulent premise.

      3. They immigrated riot to Castro taking over. Another fraudulent premise.

  14. Here is the problem with that question in American politics. If you say that you did, suddenly there are people out there saying it is not a big deal?look at all these successful people who did it. And I don’t want my kids to smoke marijuana lose their virginity. And I don’t want other people’s kids to smoke marijuana lose their virginity. I don’t think there is a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana lose your virginity. On the other side of it, if you tell people that you didn’t, they won’t believe you. So it is just a worthless question.

    Stonewall on this Rubio.

    1. Dude, you could have at least waited a minute.

  15. I don’t think there is a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana.

    Obviously, this means we should lock marijuana smokers in cages and destroy their ability to lead productive lives.

  16. Someone came up to me and said, “You know, I enjoyed your book, but I want you to know, my son came up to me and said he doesn’t have to get good grades in high school, because ‘look at Marco Rubio?he didn’t do well in high school, and look how successful he’s been.'” And that impacted me.

    And the correct answer as a parent would have been to point out that he hasn’t been successful since he hadn’t contributed anything of worth to society before going into politics. Keep studying, kid, or you’ll end up relying on a popularity contest to earn a living.

    There are at least a dozen ways she could have answered her kid without resorting to wanting *others* to censor themselves. That this woman didn’t have a better counter to her kids’ stupid assumption is exhibit 4,502 in why we are totally screwed.

    1. What loser kid looks up to politicians while in high school? Ay caramba.

      1. I looked up to my Congressman in high school. My Congressman was Ron Paul, though.

      2. “What loser kid looks up to politicians while in high school? Ay caramba.”

        The correct questions is “How sharp is that kid who made an excuse for his poor school work by using a quote from someone his mom admires?”. This is in the same vein as when someone on the left excuses bad behavior by quoting Bush or Cheney.

      3. That ~10-year-old girl killed in the Gabby Giffords shooting.

    2. “my son came up to me and said”

      I’m guessing her *teenage* son. They’re always looking for ways to antagonize their parents.

  17. In other news, we’re going to wipe that whole slavery thing from the history books because it set a bad example for our kids.

    He is just speaking with his ego. His pride has convinced him that his kids will blindly follow in his footsteps rather than thinking for themselves. Therefore he should lie to protect them. It’s a good analogy for how he would view the rest of the populace given power.

    1. I see it more as a way to sidestep a question that would anger and alienate a large block of voters and donors.

  18. The one thing he said that I believe is, “I don’t think”
    Every iota of every substance used by minors was done so under prohibition.
    This rube is one hugely empty suit.

  19. The one thing he said that I believe is, “I don’t think”
    Every iota of every substance used by minors was done so under prohibition.
    This rube is one hugely empty suit.

  20. The one thing he said that I believe is, “I don’t think”
    Every iota of every substance used by minors was done so under prohibition.
    This rube is one hugely empty suit.

  21. It’s possible it was the weed that turned Rubio into a fucking idiot.

  22. We’d all be better off if the police focused on crimes that have actual victims.
    No legalization law allows for use by minors. Does he want to renew alcohol prohibition? Now that’s a really dangerous substance

    Does anyone honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance Scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?

  23. John’s remark reminds me of one of my childhood ideas to add realism to my O27 train set: to add a bum riding the rods underneath who could be jettisoned when the train went over a trestle. I never built it, though.

  24. I would be surprised if any politician Rubio’s age hadn’t smoke pot. And remember Bill Clinton’s statement that he smoked pot but he didn’t inhale. Yeah, right. Like he didn’t have sex with that woman.

  25. Of course Marco … it sets a much better example for the children to lie to them rather than admit the truth. His kids are gonna be soooo screwed up believing there is some justification to hypocrisy.

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