Scott Tibbs

Doobies for Democrats?

By Scott Tibbs, May 2, 2022

Does Thomas McDermott want to be taken seriously as a candidate for a seat in "the world's greatest deliberative body?" Does he really think the best way to show that he has the professionalism necessary to be one of 100 U.S. Senators, representing the state of Indiana, is to smoke marijuana in his campaign commercials?

There are strong arguments to be made for decriminalizing marijuana, especially the excesses of law enforcement and the harm done to society and families by the War on Drugs. McDermott can make that case, and explain why his public policy agenda would be better than the regime we have right now.

The way McDermott chose to make his point is childish and unprofessional. Even if one supports ending marijuana prohibition, toking up in a campaign commercial raises very serious questions about his mentality and his priorities. McDermott apparently thinks that smoking a doobie on camera and posting the video to Twitter will make him look cool and will gain him votes. It will not. It will cause people to dismiss him and not take him seriously.

McDermott has done a great deal of harm to the cause of marijuana decriminalization with his childish antics. The actual arguments for decriminalizing marijuana have been pushed aside by the spectacle of a candidate for the United States Senate smoking dope in a campaign commercial. A more serious, policy-oriented approach would have been far more effective than beclowing himself. Is this really the best the Indiana Democratic Party can do?

Whatever one thinks of marijuana decriminalization, the fact is that marijuana possession, consumption and distribution actually is illegal under state and federal law. One of the duties of a leader is setting a good example. McDermott's disrespect for the rule of law sets a very bad example for his constituents, especially for impressionable young people. Worse yet, he has shown great disrespect for the police officers in the city of Hammond, where he serves as Mayor. McDermott's antics raise questions about whether he has the character to serve in any elected office, especially one as prestigious and powerful as the U.S. Senate.

Politics has always involved stunts for attention. Candidates need to get noticed, and traditionally one of the most effective way to do that is free media. These days, you also get attention through social media shares, and McDermott certainly drew a lot of attention to himself with his doobie puffing stunt. But this is not the attention a U.S. Senate candidate should be seeking.

Opinion Archives

E-mail Scott

Scott's Links

About the Author