This story has been updated below.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, is a latter-day convert to legalizing pot. As a prosecutor and California attorney general, she was opposed to legalization. Indeed, as Scott Shackford noted yesterday, in her 2014 race to become Golden State AG, her Republican opponent favored legalization, a position she literally laughed at.
In an interview yesterday with the radio show The Breakfast Club, Harris admitted to smoking weed in college ("I did inhale," she said, laughing, "I just broke news!") and that she listened to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur while getting high. Here's the problem: Harris graduated from Howard in 1986 and law school in 1989. Snoop Dogg, then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, didn't get started until 1992 and Tupac's "career did not take off until the early 1990s when he debuted in Digital Underground's 'Same Song' from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble."
So either Harris was baked enough to time travel or she hit the bong after being in school. Not cool for a candidate whose slogan is "speaking truth, demanding justice." Most likely, she's just trying to curate a playlist that sends the right message. In this, she's hardly alone. We can recall, for instance, the way in which Al Gore quickly morphed from hosting a Senate panel on "porn rock" in 1985 (which included testimony from his wife Tipper, who headed up the Parents Music Resource Center, a group committed to combating sex, drugs, and satanism in popular entertainment) to becoming the world's most public—if unconvincing—Grateful Dead fan just a few years later. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama dictated an iPod playlist to Rolling Stone that was curiously inclusive of just about every possible demographic that might vote for him. Especially in an age of forced transparency, why do politicians feel a need to do this?
For a deep dive on how Kamala Harris is messaging her not-so-progressive past on a range of issues, go here. Or watch below:
UPDATE (February 13): The Huffington Post, among other sources, question whether Harris was talking about what music she listened in college or whether she was answering a more general question of what sort of music she likes. Due to crosstalk among people on The Breakfast Club, it's not totally clear. HuffPost did reach out to a Harris spokesman and asked what music she listened to in the mid-1980s. "I'm sorry," came the reply, "but I'm not gonna be able to suss out the music she listened to 35 years ago right now. Got a lot of other stuff on my plate."