Chris Uggen's Blog: looks like i picked the wrong week to quit smoking...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

looks like i picked the wrong week to quit smoking...

have you followed the recent stories regarding barack obama's li'l habit? when i think smoking presidents, i call to mind images of fdr's jaunty cigarette holder and general eisenhower inhaling four packs a day as he led the allies to victory in wwii.

these days, things are different. why, mr. obama's smoking may cause greater controversy than his teenage cocaine use. as maureen dowd suggests, smoking makes mr. obama "intriguingly imperfect." as a non-smoker, i enjoy the image of the commander-in-chief sneaking out by the loading dock to suck down a heater between meetings.

just as former presidents clinton, ford, and reagan, mr. obama won't be caught smoking around the cameras. joe biden would disapprove, i suppose, but i think most of us like to see a little fallibility in our presidential candidates.

while i would not approve of a glue-sniffing president or a chronic inebriate president, smoking has different connotations. i'd advise mr. obama to avoid the nicotine patches until after the election. a patch-wearing president seems weak and compromised relative to a smoking president. think about it: can you imagine winston churchill chewing nicorette? not during wartime, i'll bet. nah, winnie went so far as to say, "My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." here's hoping our presidential candidates proceed with equal bravado.

7 Comments:

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Dan Myers said...

I laughed at the loading dock imagine...but then I started to wonder. Smokers have interestingly different social networks because we herd them together outside to do the dastardly deed. How would this affect policy decisions and alignments within the administration? Will the Secretary of Defense get more money by bumming a stick from the prez on a regular basis?

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger Brad Wright said...

Given the stigma that many people associate with smoking, this actually could be a problem for him. I think you're right about him quitting before the election. After? Maybe an FDR cigarette holder?

Campaign slogan: At least it's only tobacco.

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous ryan said...

Do you think the text on the ticker (“drug trafficker” below the picture of Obama) was just coincidence? And if he's the Dems man in 08, might the tobacco habit help in North Carolina? I doubt it on both accounts.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Michael Wehrman said...

While tobacco has some class and status connotations to it, and the increasing (?) stigma of tobacco certainly makes a previous nonissue a potential issue - the recent passing of Gerald Ford, and the many photos and cartoons of him, use his pipe as a prop that enhances his character (that's my interpretation, anyway).

Pipes and cigars are not cigarettes, in short - but what sort of image do they convey?

 
At 1:39 AM, Anonymous fra59e said...

Well, you can understand the way many great people in the past such as FDR and Winston Churchill smoked, but today to smoke is a sign of stupidity and low self-esteem. The knowledge is now clearly available: the dirty habit is a self-destructive addiction. Anyone stupid enough to smoke today is showing lousy judgment or just weakness of character, too dumb or too stupid to quit. Only the most stupid and weak-willed people will continue to smoke now. They are losers. And they stink.

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger Radio Free Newport said...

I has the same idea as Dan, but I was thinking more along the lines of the Prez sneaking out behind a big dumpster and getting advice from the garbage man. It has all the makings of a great SNL skit.

 
At 11:59 PM, Anonymous chris said...

newport, i wish mr. obama well, but i would love to see that skit. dan makes a great point about smokers' expanded (?) social networks.

 

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