ISU split on Bush drug use, admission

Gabe Davis

Republican front-runner George W. Bush, who tallied about a third of the votes at the recent Iowa Straw Poll, can’t seem to escape the rumors surrounding his past.

After refusing to comment on the issue for months, Bush last week said he has not used illegal drugs within the past 25 years.

Some at Iowa State think his disclosure is reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s “I did not inhale” comment about marijuana in 1992, yet others believe that a person’s past isn’t indicative of his or her character.

Steffen Schmidt, professor in political science, believes Bush should come clean about the drug rumors.

“Everybody suspects that he used some illegal drugs, possibly cocaine, and at some point he’s going to have to deal with whatever it is he’s got in his background dealing with drugs,” he said.

Even though Schmidt thinks that Bush should give a definitive answer about his alleged drug use, he said the public is ready for the media to grant politicians more privacy.

“We need to form some guidelines for digging into people’s personal lives,” he said. “I don’t think that most people care to know what Bush did over 25 years ago.”

Several ISU student leaders also offered their opinions about Bush’s admission.

Matt Craft, Government of the Student Body president, said it is crucial for elected officials to have integrity.

“Moral character is one of the top things out there; I think it’s very important,” said Craft, senior in political science and pre-law. “Also, the American people need to be able to differentiate what’s true and what’s false from what the media says.”

GSB Vice President Garrett Toay, who is also president of Students for Bush, a campus organization not affiliated with the Bush campaign, said it is natural that the media is looking into Bush’s past because of his current lead in the GOP race.

“From here on out, political campaigns will be handled in this manner, where the media tries to dig up whatever they can find about the possible candidate,” said Toay, senior in agricultural business. “The media is going to try to bring him back down and get the candidates on a level playing field again.”

Toay believes Bush doesn’t need to hide his past — he should just answer the questions so he can move on with his campaign.

“He’s said that he hasn’t done any drugs since 1974; I think he should come clean the rest of the way,” he said. “Withholding information from the media is only going to hurt him. He also owes it to all of his supporters.”

Some ISU students also believe that Bush should give a full admission about the allegations.

Thomas Schendel, junior in exercise and sport science, said Bush needs to be honest, and the truth, whatever it may be, shouldn’t hurt him.

“I don’t think that it should matter; he’s obviously a lot smarter now, and the people seem to be behind him,” he said. “His political views have probably changed a lot in the last 25 years anyway.”

Molly Bergstrom, junior in exercise and sport science, said she’s concerned about Bush’s honesty.

“If he keeps trying to make excuses, it makes it look like he’s trying to hide something,” she said.

However, Nathan Funk, junior in dairy science, said the past doesn’t matter now.

“I’ve known a lot of people who have done things that they regret in their past who have now changed,” he said. “I would rather live under grace than under judgment.”