Now Jimmy, you understand that marijuana is a gateway drug, right? If you smoke marijuana, bad things might happen. For example, you might become President of United States.
So Bush smoked pot. That in and of itself is uninteresting. Lots of people smoked pot and despite wild claims about the dangers they turned out okay. The reality is that marijuana is bad for you, but so are cigarettes and alcohol. I'm perfectly willing to elect someone who smoked marijuana to the presidency.
What's more interesting is the attitude. I won't call it hypocrisy; it's only fair to allow people to change their minds as they mature. "Baby boomers have got to grow up and say, yeah, I may have done drugs, but instead of admitting it, say to kids, don't do them." The most positive spin you can put on this is that you should mislead your children, but I think it's more honest to say that you should lie to your children. The problem is that once the truth comes out than everything you've said, even the true things, are challenged. (South Park did a brilliant episode on exactly this.) If Bush been upfront and said "I did marijuana, and it was a mistake," the message would have been clear. But now the message is muddied. I don't (necessarily) think this is hypocrisy, but a lot of kids are going to think it is. By attempting to hide his own use, Bush has provided children with the very pro-marijuana argument he tried to keep away from them.
Also interesting is the repeated hinting that Bush did cocaine, a much more serious drug. The rumors continue to dog Bush and he's not helping them.
Finally, Doug Wead, the man who recorded and just released the tapes in question, is a dick. Thanks for releasing important information now, as opposed to say six months ago, or even four years and six months ago, when it might have allowed Americans to make a more informed choice.
(Reposted from my livejournal.)