How much did President Bush drink? When did he quit? Did he quit? And what else did he do? There are absolutely no definitive answers to any of those questions, and most of the witnesses and parties involved are suspect or worse. Still, with the publication of former press secretary Scott McClellan's book, complete with re-airing of those old cocaine rumors, it might be fun to investigate the out-going president's drug history, as found both in the public record and the fever dreams of conspiracy artists.
The president has always denied being an acoholic, though he's copped to "drinking too much" back in his callow youth (which lasted until his 40s, by the way, when he had his convenient religious reawakening). The alcohol provided a convenient excuse for his being a no-good fuckup for his entire 20s and 30s, and the religious awakening and supposed sobering up helped him gain forgiveness for youthful indiscretions like his disorderly conduct arrest and his 1976 DUI.
Anyway. Billy Graham showed up in 1985. In July of 1986, according to the lies he told in 2000, Bush quit drinking for good.
Here is a video of George W. Bush at a wedding that supposedly took place in 1992:
When the president "choked on a pretzel" in 2002, the White House took the step of having the White House physician announce to the press that "There was absolutely, positively, no suggestion on physical examination that any alcohol was involved." He just choked on a pretzel, during a football game, and lost consciousness.
(Around the same time, a number of nuttier lefty sites began blowing up and enhancing photos of the president's face to point out all the burst capillaries that proved his continued reliance on booze.)
The rumors made the rounds in 1999: George W. Bush did coke! This was before 9/11, when everyone started doing coke again, so it was a big deal. If it was true! Proving it became quite difficult when the person with the most damning-sounding "proof" of drug use turned out to be an unreliable criminal (much like how the people with the best proof that Bush went AWOL from the national guard were using questionable documents, FUNNY HOW THAT WORKS). So. Here are some of the rumors:
- Bush was arrested for drug use in the "late '60s or early '70s" but the arrest was expunged from his record after he performed community service. That community service may have been his stint at Houston's Project P.U.L.L. in 1972.
- But that charge comes from the book by J.H. Hatfield. Hatfield was a convicted felon. The book was pulled from shelves. Hatfield turned up dead of an apparent suicide in 2001. He claimed all along that his sources for the cocaine story included Karl Rove, who's known to talk off the record to journalists of all stripes.
- In 2004, Eric Boehlert floated the theory that Bush ditched the air force because they were instituting random drug tests. This seems like grasping at straws (lol) to us, but whatevs. It's out there.
- Bush has simply never denied using cocaine.
- If you take Scott McClellan's diagnosis at face value, Bush probably did plenty of drugs in his college days and beyond, and then more or less convinced himself that he can't even remember if he did or not. Because he's turned into a simple-minded fool.
Amusingly (to us, perhaps, and probably no one else), we now have a major candidate who's admitted to cocaine use... but that admission itself is suspect. Barack Obama famously admitted to experimenting with coke in his first memoir, Dreams From My Father. "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though," Obama wrote in the more-than-decade-old book. The New York Times spent god knows how long trying to find anyone from Obama's adolescence who remembered him doing drugs but they came up short. Everyone remembered him as basically a square. He smoked a little weed.
We're forced to ask if Obama didn't exaggerate his drug use for the sake of a compelling narrative!
(We've come so far.)