Jacob Sullum
We've all been there, perhaps as recently as Tuesday night. You have a few drinks, and the next thing you know, you're smoking crack.

What? You've consumed alcohol on many occasions, but you've never smoked crack? As it turns out, you're not alone. Survey data indicate that 82 percent of Americans have consumed alcohol, but only 3 percent have tried crack; another 11 percent have consumed cocaine in powder form.

So why did Toronto Mayor Rob Ford think he was helping his case when he confessed in November that he "probably" smoked crack "in one of my drunken stupors"? Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., seemed to have a similar idea after he was busted for cocaine possession a couple of weeks later. "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism," he said, "and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice."

By blaming their occasional cocaine use on their habitual drunkenness, Ford and Radel won a 2013 Bouncing Buck, my award for memorable attempts to deflect responsibility. Here are the other winners:

Mythical Magazines. Last January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo rammed new gun controls through the state legislature so fast there was no time to read the bill, let alone debate it. Two months later, he admitted the seven-round magazines mandated by the law did not exist but insisted haste had nothing to do with that embarrassing mistake, which he dismissed as a mere "inconsistency" requiring a "technical correction." Anyway, he said, the fix was simple: allow 10-round magazines but tell people not to put more than seven rounds in them.

Plan Obsolescence. Last fall, when millions of Americans began receiving notices that their health insurance had been canceled as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's mandates, despite President Barack Obama's oft-repeated promise that they could keep their current coverage, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett insisted on Twitter that "nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans." The president himself blamed the cancellations on "bad-apple insurers."


Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
 
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