Hey Barack: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

No to be contrary, but I'm not remotely bothered by the fact that the incoming president is a smoker. Or at least I'm not as concerned as Palm Beach Post columnist Rhonda Swan who today demanded that Obama "Quit Smoking, Period."

This habit makes him human. The man who directed the most disciplined campaign in modern political history has earned the right to be completely undisciplined in at least one facet of his life. Rhonda points out that Obama should set a good example for his two daughters. Because becoming the first black president wasn't enough?

Hell, I think he should smoke on television. When someone asks a tough question at the next press conference, Obama can take a long, slow, thoughtful drag from his cigarette, then blow out the smoke as he's giving his answer.

Or how freakin' cool would it be if Obama, during a primetime TV address, began thus. "Good evening, my fellow Americans. At the present time United States Military forces are taking action in the Middle Eastern South Asian nation of Pakistan, where we have exhausted all diplomatic efforts to get that nation's full cooperation in bringing terrorists to justice." Then he pauses, takes out a pack of smokes from his breast pocket, fires up a Zippo, then inhales deeply before saying: "This is the last cigarette I will smoke for some time." Here, another long, dramatic pull. Then as he's exhaling: "I'm saving my next one for the day that Osama Bin Laden is captured or killed."

I know, I know. Smoking isn't cool! Still, after a president who honored the troops by giving up golf, it would be super-cool for the Commander-in-Chief to give up an actual addiction, like smoking, in the name of some greater mission. Instantly, thousands of his fellow smokers would be inspired to join him in abstaining.

Nah. That would have a paralyzing effect on the tobacco industry, and then they'd need a bailout, too.

-- Thomas Francis

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