While no one could mistake me for a political fan of the president, I often have recognized that he is a solid role model for parents and families. From all appearances his girls seem to be turning out to be fine young women. But sometimes you really have to wonder what is going through his head.

President Barack Obama, right, hugs his daughter Sasha as they and Malia, left, return to the White House from their fifteen-day family vacation in Hawaii, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. First lady Michelle Obama stayed behind in Hawaii as a birthday present from her husband. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) President Obama, right, hugs his daughter Sasha as they and Malia, left, return to the White House from their family vacation in Hawaii this month. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Was he channeling the dope-smoking teen or acting like the president of the United States when he popped off with this one? “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Thunk. Not different from cigarettes? Surely the president knows that cigarette smoking is a health hazard but does not impair judgment or induce other psychological reactions. I assume presidential limo drivers can smoke some cigarettes before driving the president but not pot.

As for the alcohol vs. pot debate, as parents, certainly the president and first lady must know how parents strain to make a distinction for their children. Many parents may give a teen a taste of beer or wine, while under adult supervision, but would President Obama suggest that is no different than offering that kid a joint? Do parents want their nightly glass of wine at dinner to be translated into license for their kids to smoke pot?

Whatever we decide to do in terms of legalization or (as I would strongly prefer) sentencing reform, the president might at least refrain from giving every teen in the country a comeback to his parents (“But the president says. . . .”). Would he, I wonder, tell his daughters that same message?

The president is, one suspects, delighted to be thought of as “cool” by young people and the left. He can dress however he likes and listen to whatever music moves him (to the squeals of delight from his fan base), but when he speaks, he is talking as the ultimate authority figure for parents and children. If he is going to opine on every topic under the sun (including football for kids), he could at least sound like he’s a grown-up.


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