December 13, 2007

Bill and Hillary's Hippie Daze

bill_hillary_hippies.jpgMaggie 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.

Update: Bill Shaheen, has fallen on his sword, like a good Roman soldier. This afternoon he resigned from the Clinton campaign, "I have made the personal decision that I will step down as the Co-Chair of the Hillary for President campaign." Yes, now there will be more time to spend with his family and his bong.

For her part, Hillary apologized en passant earlier today at an airport.

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Posted by Vanderleun at December 13, 2007 6:12 AM | TrackBack
Save to


"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"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..... light my fire " ROFL

The long version.

Posted by: Mr. Forward at December 13, 2007 7:14 AM

Zep IV? Released Nov '71. Doubt it.

My money's on CSNY - specifically "Teach your Children". Double or nothing they probably dug Nash's songs over Stills...

From there the Dead and Moby Grape. MAYBE the Doors, but c'mon, they were SO L.A. ...

Posted by: 4 Dead in O-hi-o at December 13, 2007 7:47 AM

when will someone investigate the post-(first)election private celebration party at their rich 'movie people" friends place near Santa Barbara, CA??? Several SS agents had their careers limited by refusing to accomplish certain "tasks" for Billary. Find out about the drugs and women.

Posted by: Dennis Carr at December 13, 2007 8:21 AM

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.

I still think that Obama al-Hussein Barrack's admission on drugs was to innoculate himself against charges of being a muslim 'cuz he was educated in an Indonesian Madrassa.

He's playing the 'shitface' card: "See, I used to drink and get stoned, I'm not a Muslim!"

Hillery put the nix on the drug story 'cuz she knows that even with all the diversity bullshit that Americans will accept a dope-smoking president before they will accept one who has memorized the "99 Beautiful Names of Allah".

Her aid just didn't get the memo.

And she and Bill were stoners as so well illustrated in your essay.

Hey, I was born in '68: My drug experiences consist of getting in fights in 8th grade with the 'stoner' kids in gym class who wanted to beat me up 'cuz I didn't smoke dope.... Fighting the 'freaks' at McDonalds in High School 'cuz I wasn't in their druggie clique....

Posted by: Gray at December 13, 2007 8:23 AM

OMG! That picture!

Posted by: JayC at December 13, 2007 8:35 AM

That was a great read- for a moment I thought I might be in a Journeyman episode.
I didn't get to Berkeley until the summer of 78. I thought the place was a freak show from the moment I arrived, and I was just coming off 4 years at a hugh east coast public university.
Either you were a hippie, as so well described above, or you would have been the lamest poser ever... and Bill and Hill, for all their fobiles, have never been posers.

Posted by: Capsu78 at December 13, 2007 9:10 AM

Okay so maybe not Led Zep since it was released in November of 1971.

I'm working off lists here you understand.

Maybe Peace Train
Brown Sugar
Never can say goodbye
Peace Train

Or any one of these:

Posted by: vanderleun at December 13, 2007 9:57 AM

That was a fun read. I'm an 80s teenager. I read about the 60s and 70s, and I see the movies and TV shows about the Boomers' times - the riots, the protests, the festivals and sit-ins and cultural tumult and I think - oh, ick.

The hair was awful. The clothes were awful. The politics were awful. Everyone was stoned and nobody bathed regularly. Women didn't wear makeup, men were pale and skinny, and everyone ran around punctuating their sentences with "groovy" and "cool" and "man".

My sis in law and I went to see Hair when the tour came through Houston a couple years ago. A lot (A LOT) of the audience were obviously Boomers. The show was great, but the characters? Please. I felt no connection or empathy for them at all. Get a job, dude. Quit laying around the park expecting other people to support your lazy drugged up ass. Honestly - I felt like Eric Cartman.

And as the crowd was exiting the theater, one of the Obviously Boomer Age guys behind us said to his old lady - "I don't know how anyone could vote for George Bush after watching that." And I turned around and yelled "It's easy, you old fart!"

On the inside, of course.

I will be so glad when that generation is too old to run for public office. I'll be pretty old myself, but it'll still make me happy.

Posted by: stubby at December 13, 2007 10:23 AM

To: Barack Obama
From: A disinterested bystander
Re: The notional drug charges from the Clinton camp

Look out kid, don't matter what you did...

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at December 13, 2007 11:15 AM

On Leave Between Tours
Ah, yes the wonders of drugs......

Posted by: Brock Townsend at December 13, 2007 1:20 PM

Wow, Mr. / Ms. "Gray", al-Hussein? It was the Clintons and John Kerry that drove me from the Democrat party. It's people like you that keep me away from it. Tell me, are you from the same self-absorbed, self-important, self-congratulatory, narcissistic generation that never accomplished anything, as those wonderful donk party icons?

If Clinton manages to knife her way to the donk nomination, I will vote for ANY Republican that runs against her.

This Republican respects Mr. Obama's honesty. I don't agree with some of his positions, but if he wins the party nomination, I may even vote for him.

Watch your back, Mr. Obama; donks eat their young.

Posted by: Googootz at December 13, 2007 1:31 PM

I'm still trying to scrub me eyes from that picture ...

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at December 13, 2007 2:34 PM

Jay - it is hard to fault anyone in the 1970's for any picture taken then. The 'Grizzly Adams' look was in, and the massive glasses were too.

The 1970's were hard - fashion-wise - on everyone, even little kids who were five in 1971 and more interested in matchbox cars than anything else.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 13, 2007 3:18 PM

Bezerkley, Summer of '71, strangely enough, I remember it well. My 'old lady' and I, fresh from performing acts at the May Day anarchy which ought to have landed us in Leavenworth till... about now, vanned across country and spent the next year living there. It was a useful idiot's pilgrimage, Berkley was our Mecca. So I can personally attest to the utter factuality of this post. The straightest people you met were stoners. If there were any abstainers they were individuals suffering from acute asthma.

Now, as I look back in shame at my politics then, it freaks me right out to learn I probably passed No Pants Bill any number of times on Telegraph Ave. Had I known then what I know now, what a golden opportunity I missed to strike a blow for freedom (from the Clintons). A blow to the back of his head with a lead pipe might not have been heard around the world, but it certainly would have changed the course of history in a positive way. I'm kidding in case the Secret Service is paying attention, but it is an interesting fantasy to pursue. What would the world be like now had Clinton never gotten his greasy paws on the levers of power? One thing for sure, nobody'd know Hillary Rodham from Adam. And that would be a really good thing, even if we had no way of knowing it.

Posted by: Ron Mitchell at December 13, 2007 6:20 PM

LOL! That picture looks like early Steely Dan, with Hillary as Walter Becker!

Posted by: Ross at December 13, 2007 7:29 PM

I was 2 in '71; not many years later I talked my parents into buying me yellow sneakers that had red toes painted on the white rubber toeguard; I don't think I ever wore them, perhaps because later the toes came to look rather macabre, like bloody severed digits neverthless attached.

There were once rolling papers somewhat like that too, styled like draft cards with bloody fingerprints.

Clinton(s) did inhale. I am not troubled by that, although I dislike the lying about it rather than taking a bold stand of admision that might have forced more people to question whether past pot smoking is worth getting worked up about (it isn't).

Posted by: CT at December 13, 2007 7:47 PM

I can relate to this, but only a bit after the fact. I also arrived in Berkeley in the summer of '71, to take on a job as assistant professor in the Engineering faculty. We lived a few blocks from the buildings you describe, but, strange to say, being out of Cambridge via Buffalo, had only the remotest clue what was going on in them. And did not know for some years thereafter. Yea, there were clueless conservatives around even in Berkeley, even then. But somehow I don't think Bill and Hill were among them.

Posted by: materialist at December 13, 2007 9:10 PM

Wonderful piece, sir. I can't go to bed unless I stop laughing... and my old lady doesn't care WHAT I stack on the spindle.

Oy. How many readers here even know what that means?

Great piece.

Posted by: TmjUtah at December 13, 2007 9:41 PM

And I was at Berkeley beginning in 1979 - it hadn't changed all that much, although even living in one of the biggest Co-ops, with multiple dealers (no, not cards) I managed not to inhale.

I still recall the time my sister visited - "is tie-dye still acceptable to wear?" was her question.

Posted by: andrewdb at December 14, 2007 1:57 PM

I feel very sorry for "Stubby" from Houston, and anyone else who believes as he/she does about the '60's and has obtained their opinions, whole cloth, from those who truely do "hate freedon". Those who inculcated such beliefs in Stubby have caused this past 7, and more, years of horrors. I really think those people are still pissed off that they couldn't bring themselves to participate when they had the chance. I was in Vietnam AND on the streets in the 60's , and can tell you the latter was a far superior experience.

Moreover, it is impossible for me to imagine anyone thinking that they have obtained anything remotely factual from "Hair". The poor things.


Posted by: Pablo@62 at December 15, 2007 11:17 AM

TmjUtah - it is to place records - eitfer 45's or 331/3's on a spindle on a long-playing record player. When one record ended the arm would move back and the next would land, ready to be played.

Multi-record sets were often set up this way with the first having sides one and four,the next sides two and five, and the next sides 3 and six. Set them up on the old RCA, let the first three play, flip all over and start the next set.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at December 15, 2007 2:25 PM

I attended UCB from '78 to '82 and I've been getting this sort of thing ever since. Maybe things had changed quite a bit from '71 to '78, but most of the kids I knew worked pretty hard. Kids who were stoners in high school typically did not go to Berkeley.

Kids with money went to Stanford, and so a lot of the kids were not only going to school, but a lot were working part time, too.

The average Berkeley undergrad of that era came in from the top of his or her high school class, ambitious, disciplined, smart. Certainly there were drugs, but no more so than in my high school in suburban Sacramento. Less, I think. Throw a frisbee on Sproul plaza on a nice fall day in 1978 and you'd most likely hit science geek hurrying to attend an afternoon lab, blithely ignoring the Orange man, the Hate Man, the Bubble lady, and the idiots manning the Young Socialist Alliance table. Stoned hippies tended not be be students.

Posted by: sactoson at December 15, 2007 7:24 PM

Well, 78 is a full 14 years ( a near generation) away from 1964. 1971 was the 60s in full swing. People forget that what we now think of as the 60s didn't really get going until around 1967-68.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 15, 2007 11:12 PM

By 1978, Bill and Hillary had been married for three years and, in that year, he was elected governor of Arkansas.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 15, 2007 11:15 PM

Betcha Bill and Hillary were not shacked up alone. Wonder how many girlfriends they shared?

Posted by: 1389 at December 16, 2007 2:46 PM

"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."

Carter rolled out that promise back in the election of '76. I think it was said to Rolling Stone but I'm not sure. It was what got me to vote for him in the second election I ever voted. That was the last Democrat I ever voted for and I plead youth as the reason.

I agree that what is called "the 60's" started sometime in '66 and went through the early '70. All coinciding with Vietnam.

Posted by: Geoffb at December 16, 2007 11:23 PM

One of your best of 2007, and you've had some good ones. The pic alone, which I've seen many times, is worth the price of admission...but with your personal touch/memoir it comes 3-D alive.

Me, I was changing two sets of diapers and working a zillion hours a day while you and the Clintons were drugging and frolicking in the hay back in '67 and beyond....for me the 60s began and ended quite quickly, when reality bit with very sharp teeth.

Posted by: Webutante at December 17, 2007 6:58 AM

I was 21 years old in the summer of 1971, and lving in Berkeley. I also spent time at Stanford between 1968 and 1972. Absolutely every middle class student in either of those places in those years was (at the very least) smoking grass, as we called it, at least four nights a week. The only exceptions were the hopelessly square and a few of the dedicated Maoists (a large brigade in both places) who spent several nights a week in "criticism/self criticism" sessions and read the little Red book quite seriously. Those people smoked pot once or twice a week. Every couple of months, most middle class students "tripped." It was just standard operating procedure.

Posted by: Park Slope PUbby at December 17, 2007 11:09 AM

Although I am a lifelong Republican and I was a Berkeley NROTC scholarship student student in the '72-73 school year...that picture of Bill Clinton with the poofy hairdo and Hillary and the faux colonial building in the background ccould not have been taken anywhere in Berkeley anytime circa 1972...

Posted by: John Reece at December 22, 2007 11:13 AM
Post a comment:

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated to combat spam and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Remember personal info?