Analysis: Fear of being used by Big Tobacco is reflected in president's hands-off (mostly) personal policy on smoking, ash-trays.
Washington – It's official: President Obama smokes. A little. Maybe more, but not everyday (mostly). He even bums cigarettes off of staffers, too! How do we know? He said so.
So much for applied neutrality or second hand smoke... Even as President BUMbama said he wasn't doing it, the leader of the (mostly) smokeless, free world held a press conference Tuesday to boldly and loudly distance himself from his deplorable smoking habit which he hopes to completely overcome someday (maybe). Despite the president's support for a highly criticized, reprehensible bill sponsored by very well-funded anti-smoking groups (which indirectly receive money from Big Tobacco through a $246 billion Master Settlement Agreement), the bill’s “most important ally” is “the largest cigarette maker in the world” and then after that, the President.
During Tuesday's rare, mid-day press conference, Obama tried to inoculate himself against fierce criticism from foes of Big Tobacco over his cautious approach to confining an occasional, health-hazardous smoke to the basement bowling alley once the kids have had their frozen custard and Michelle has nipped her last glass of sauvignon blanc and hit the sack. He also accused naysayers of neglecting to see the big picture, ominously telling reporters:
“I know everybody in here is on a 24 hour news cycle. I am not.”
Whatever that means...but the media and internet-savvy president also knows this: He has become a symbol of the anti-E-Cigarette movement by admitting to smoking once in a while, despite his mistaken insistence upon linking the E-cigarette with his Microsoft hotmail account. (For all of you second hand smoke anti-enthusiasts, the “smokeless” E-cigarette, btw, is supposed to be a much safer alternative to the traditional cigarette.)
Other critics accuse the president of hypocrisy, citing that his occasional smoking habit which he keeps from his family combined with his support of the FDA Big Tobacco bill reveals a lack of personal restraint, not to mention an ambitious play to make a few friend$ in the lucrative cigarette industry. Obama also scolded a reporter for thinking the question about his smoking was "neat ... as opposed to it being relevant to my new law."
He said the legislation, which faced a veto threat under former President George W. Bush, was aimed at preventing young people from taking up the habit. Obama began smoking as a teenager and has been an on-again, off-again smoker ever since. Obama said:
Kids like his daughters, 10-year-old Malia and 8-year-old Sasha. Fair enough. Like all kids everywhere, the Obama girls deserve to keep their loving dad around a long time, and a smoking dad is a dad that risks his health. But if it's really all about the kids, then why light up in the first place? Shouldn't the leader of the free world set an example for all kids, everywhere, including his own by NOT smoking at all and not pandering to Big Smoke?
This alone ought to be a strong enough reason for the president to quit. Completely. Never mind all this “former” smoker and “off the wagon” once in a while this and that. Why, for a brief period back in the day, yours truly developed a similar, occasional cigarette smoking habit but completely quit cold turkey. True, not everyone has such an inherent, commendable and unarguably remarkable will of steel but I know I am not alone in thinking it might be a very good idea if the President of the United States did. Just saying.
If I had one inspirational thought to sincerely convey to President Obama, it would be this:
“Is that why your lips are purple? Stimulant junkies CAN get over themselves! Yes they can! Learn to substitute POSITIVE habits in place of that ratty nicotine. Grab a latte. If you must smoke something, I'll introduce you to my medicinal marijuana friends – even the nastiest ditchweed is one helluva lot better than a dreadful Lucky Strike, or so I have heard...Move around more. Get into the gym with Michelle FREQUENTLY and start doing a few extra laps on the treadmill, leg-lifts or whatever. Order the Suzanne Somers BUTTMASTER – not that you need it. Take up ball room dancing or, better yet, call up WOZ and get a slot on Dancing With the Stars (don't worry, Rahm will be happy to run everything in your absence.) Walk the damn dog nine times a day. Do it for your family who loves and needs you. Do it for your country, man. Do it for the South Side kids who worship (literally, as you know) and adore you. Do it for the mother fuc^%ng world! Be the poster boy of Change We Can't Afford to Blow on Smoke. Speaking of blow – you might try abstaining from that, also. Tough habits are only as tough as their masters, so don't be the Wimp in Chief. Be the Anti-stimulant. Sure, at first you'll say “Damn, this is all so horribly boring I'd rather waterboard my own self 24/7 or and take an ice-pick to my head than live like this” but over time, that all goes away as a new-found peace inhabits your smoke-free, inner world. And even though you will initially be convinced you've died and gone straight to Hell, that too, will pass. Trust me. Now go tweet Kal and have him personally remove all the ashtrays stashed under the Oval Office desk and on AF One. Do it...Less is the new More. Stop sacrificing your lungs for bleeping Big Tobacco!”