Maraniss portrays the teenage Obama as not just a pot smoker, but a pot-smoking innovator.
“As a member of the Choom Gang,” Maraniss writes, “Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends.”
The first Obama-inspired trend: “Total Absorption” or “TA”.
“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” explains Maraniss. Here’s how it worked: If you exhaled prematurely when you were with the Choom Gang, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”
As one of Obama’s old high school buddies tells Maraniss: “Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated.”
There's more at the link, including other Obama-related dope smokin' innovations and a discussion of the array of choices that an enterprising young smoker might enjoy:
Hawaii of the early 1970s [sic] was something of a pot-smoking Mecca.I'm going to assume that ABC News meant the late 70s, because if Obama was smokin' dope in the early 70s, that would mean he was a tokin' pre-teen, which seems unlikely.
“It was sold and smoked right there in front of your nose; Maui Wowie, Kauai Electric, Puna Bud, Kona Gold, and other local variations of pakalolo were readily available,” writes Maraniss.
A couple of observations:
- I'm a fan of Maraniss, especially of his outstanding biographies of Lombardi and Clemente, both heroes of my childhood. While his biography of Clinton wasn't necessarily an authorized biography, it wasn't necessarily unfriendly, either. You wouldn't have to be a conspiracy theorist to find the timing of this book a little interesting.
- Ordinarily I wouldn't much care about what Obama did over 30 years ago, any more than I cared about what Mitt Romney did over 45 years ago. But there's another dimension to this story that should anger people. Simply stated, Barack Obama and his administration are quite fond of putting drug users away, often for long periods of time, as the invaluable Penn Jillette points out here in a profoundly NSFW way:
Hard to argue with any of that, especially Jillette's point that if the high school aged Barack Obama were to have run into the same law enforcement regimen that is in place today, it's quite possible that he'd have gone to prison. You would like to think that Obama would understand the implications of that, but it's not clear that he does. Or worse -- he does and simply doesn't care.