Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D. A.
-- Subterranean Homesick Blues
YESTERDAY drugs were such an easy game to play. Yesterday a Hillary operative ate his words faster than a stoner gobbling a smoldering roach when the fuzz kicks in the door.
Yesterday morning, the Washington Post reported that New Hampshire Clintonite Billy Shaheen(**) said "Obama's candor on the subject [of drugs in his youth] would "open the door" to further questions. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'"
By nightfall, the same abashed operative was groveling before the press with: "I deeply regret the comments I made today and they were not authorized by the campaign in any way."
I think he received a rocket via telephone from Hillary herself. She wants no discussion of youthful drug experiments. And with reason. Reasons that go back to the Clintons' Berkeley Summer of Love in 1971 -- if not before.
Reasons that I know well because I wasin Berkeley in that summer of 1971. I was living about four blocks away from where Bill and Hillary were, in the parlance of the time, "shacked up." These were my not-so-mean streets. I know what went down. And I am here to tell you that there was no such thing as an unstoned student activist/hippy living in that neighborhood at that time. It was non-stop sex, drugs, rock and roll, and activism. I know. I was there. And while I don't remember everything, I remember a lot. More than I should given the quantity, quality, and diversity of the drugs that were on the scene, on the street, and in the bodies of all of us at the time in that place.
The tantalizing details of the Clintons' Berkeley sojourn were spelled out in an article late last month in The New York Sun (The Clinton's Berkeley Summer of Love by Josh Gerstein.). Of course, Mr Gerstein makes no accusations of drug use by the young, hip and activist couple (Hillary was clerking for the radical Treuhaft law firm in nearby Oakland. Bill gave up a summer of working for George McGovern to be with her.) Instead, he's dug up some charming details of two young politico-hippies in love in the town that was the town to be in if you were young hippies in love in 1971:
"The new couple quickly became quite domestic. Bowing to her future husband's Arkansas roots, Mrs. Clinton baked him a peach pie. The pair also "produced a palatable chicken curry for any and all occasions we hosted," Mrs. Clinton recalled.
While Mrs. Clinton clerked at the Treuhaft firm in nearby Oakland, Mr. Clinton plowed through books, explored Berkeley shops, and scouted out San Francisco restaurants. According to the future senator, the pair also kindled their romance on long walks where Mr. Clinton occasionally used his southern twang to regale her with Elvis Presley tunes.
One night in July, the couple drove down to Stanford to listen to an outdoor concert by Joan Baez. The Southern boy was treated to a rendition of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," he recalled in his memoir.
He quotes Hillary's memoir , Living History, saying they "shared a small apartment near a big park not far from the University of California at Berkeley campus where the Free Speech Movement started in 1964." Then Gerstein goes on to posit that it was an apartment on Derby Street:
Clintons' Pad today
"The apartment was about six blocks from the main university campus and just three blocks from People's Park, the site of a violent 1969 confrontation between protesters and police that left one protester dead and more than 100 wounded."
Well, he's got that right. I know because I was part of the People's Park riots of 1969. Shotguns, death, helicopters spewing gas. The whole stupid shebang that left one man dead. Our own mini Kent State.
I was also around for the Free Speech Movement of 1964. By 1971 I'd been around Berkeley and the Bay Area for some time. And I was there, living in a house on corner of Fulton and Ward streets not more than four blocks from the Derby Street apartment. If the Clintons ventured outside onto Telegraph Avenue at all we would have passed each other on the street, skulked around Cody's books, and had cappuccino at the Med. On this you can bet your stash of primo Afghan hash.
The other thing you can bet the stash on about the Clintons in that summer of 1971 in Berkeley is that they were stoned, loaded, blasted, wasted, high as a kite, and just plain baked. At the very least. Assuming that pot and hashish was as far as it went. And it did not for many in that summer, I assure you, stop at that. Other drugs that were around for the asking and used frequently were LSD and cocaine. Heroin too, but I never saw it. It was on the down low, the QT, very hush-hush and you usually had to go to Oakland to score it.
The Green House, today. My apartment, below right. Acid factory, above right.
In the house I lived in at the time, there were four apartments. Two in front and two in the rear. I lived in the downstairs front. Above me lived a couple, Ben and Carol. Carol was great at sewing and macrame. Ben was great at making tablets of Lysergic Acid.
Indeed, at the time Ben was one of the main suppliers for the bay area. Every so often Ben would go off somewhere and come back with a trunk which he and a partner would haul up the stairs and into the apartment above us. (Yes, like the Clintons I too was shacking up with what we referred to at the time as "my old lady." )
After a time, we'd here the thumping start... thump..... thump..... thump..... About one every three seconds or so. Ben had mixed up his LSD and was running the preparation through the pill press. "Making a run," he'd call it. After a long night of this, Ben and Carol and his partner would emerge from the apart, stoned as poleaxed penguins from the high you got by working around LSD in a less than controlled environment. Bags of small pills in blue or red or whatever color he'd decided on would remain behind to be shuffled out to the Hells Angels or whomever Ben had doing his distribution. You didn't ask about that. It was his business and Ben was the first person I ever knew to keep a number of guns lying around.
And that was the LSD scene in Berkeley at the time. The pot scene was even looser and more available. It wasn't a question of who on the streets of Berkley was baked. It was a question of who wasn't.
If you read the Sun article it is clear that there's more investigative reporting to be done on the question of the Clintons' summer of love. But there are a few hints.
Mrs. Clinton baked him a peach pie. The pair also "produced a palatable chicken curry for any and all occasions we hosted."
Peach pie alone could be innocent enough I suppose. But put that together with a chicken curry and you've got hard core stoner food, dude. And you know I'm right.
So unless the Clintons were very, very unhip at the time.... and we have it on his own good authority that our sax playing, jive talking, hypercool ex-president is the hippest statesman in the world... unless they were very odd, then they were -- off and on -- very stoned.
It was, after all, 1971. It was, after all, Berkeley California. If the Clintons, during their first prolonged cohabitation, were at all "normal" for the time their evenings at home would have consisted of
1) rolling a fat doobie, probably three or four;
2) whipping up some chicken curry
3) smoking a fat doobie;
4) getting some dim candles going along with a stick of incense
5) putting on a tried and true series of records; and
6) hopping into bed and, as we said then, "balling" until they passed out.
That was pretty much the standard evening's entertainment in the summer of 1971 in Berkeley. I know. I was there. And one thing I can tell you is that the non-conformist hippies of that time and that place ran to type. Glancing at a list of the singles that were hot in 1971, I can probably even guess the songs the Clintons played while they frolicked.
They would have started with 3 Dog Night's Joy to the World, then gone from there to either American Pie or Mr. Big Stuff for the dinner moment. After the second doobie and the peach pie and ice cream, it would have been time to mellow down with Rod Stewart's Maggie May / Reason to Believe and Carole King's It's Too Late. Then when you really started to get into it, a stoned and hip Lothario such as the young and even-more-randy-than-when-President Bill Clinton would not have left Led Zepplin's Stairway to Heaven off the turntable when he was going to make his move. Indeed, if he planned it right he'd stacked the albums carefully and at just the right moment, the killer platter would fall and it would be The Doors.....
You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn't get much higher
Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire
In the late night, stoned streets of Berkeley in 1971 whenever you heard that Light My Fire you knew somebody was getting laid.... maybe even three or four somebodies. Ensemble. I don't know about Bill, but by 1971 I was on my second copy of The Doors album.
Now, I am sure that you will never, ever have the ghost of a chance of getting either Hillary or Bill to, as we used to say, cop to any of this. But it happened that way, a long, long time ago, in a stoner's universe far, far away.
Believe me, the last thing Hillary Clinton wants is for anyone on her campaign or any other campaign to start looking into drug use. Especially for Candidates shacking up in Berkeley, just down from Telegraph Avenue, in the lovin' summer of 1971.
I know what happened. I was there. Not in their bedroom. At least, I don't think I was. But in mine, in the same town in the same summer. And that's what was, as we said then, "Happening, man." And I'm not running for anything. And I'm not stoned anymore either. At least, I don't think I am.
Then again, if Hillary was to have an epiphany on the question of dumping the insane laws again marijuana and promise not just a chicken curry in every pot, but a kilo of Acapulco gold in every pothead, she just might get people to vote for her that are usually too stoned to make it off the couch, much less to the polls. It might be the one promise that gets all America to vote.
For her part, Hillary apologized en passant earlier today at an airport.Posted by Vanderleun at December 13, 2007 6:12 AM | TrackBack