Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Obama Lights Up--Part 2

(Don’t read this until you review Julie’s comments 20 and 21 below under my Obama/smoking post.) Julie,
I hope Obama doesn’t read your brilliant strategy and sign you up. It’s true that smoking is catching on again among the young, especially young women. They (admittedly stupidly) seem to think that cigarettes are sexy in some way. And it’s equally true that smoking is a small and humanizing vice (compared, say, with the famous vices of President Clinton or former Congressman Foley), one that shows one’s dissent from the fanaticism of soft-despotic, schoolmarmish, health-and-safety obsessed political correctness. No real man works too hard to look young or live forever. If his Hillary’s schoolmarms criticize Obama for killing babies with second-hand smoke, he can respond reasonably and humorously that the occasional cigarette on the back porch or out on the sidewalk ain’t hurting anybody (well, there’s a small but significant danger to the senator himself--but his embrace of that risk makes him a man in the great tradition of Bogart etc.). The single women that allegedly are Hillary’s core might switch over to a manly but still orthodox liberal guy. Julie really sees the path that can make his campaign (which as far as I can see will be boring and platitude driven in terms of content) very seductive and very dangerous for us Republicans. Consider the showdown between between the smoker Obama and a Mormon who doesn’t smoke or drink (even coffee!)....

Discussions - 5 Comments

Mr. Lawler, I would be interested to know how exactly smoking is a "humanizing" vice. Is drinking the same? If one simply chooses not to drink simply because they’re not interested not fully human in some way?

Were you aware that Humphrey Bogart died at the age of 57, weighing only 80 pounds, soon after falling into a coma? His manly embrace of the risk(s) from smoking might have had something to do with him developing cancer of the esophagus. Efforts to save him included removal of his esophagus, two lymph nodes, and a rib. Ouch. Frankly, I would have preferred that he skip the "humanizing" vice, lived 20 years longer, and made a dozen more films. Even if he’d only puffed on smokes in his films, for his characters’ sake, that would have increased his odds greatly.

Yeah, you can see the documentary now...hand-held camera surveys the hand-clappin’ black congregation closing out a gospel number, focuses in on Obama’s hands, now clapping, now folded for the final prayer...cut to one of the same hands removing a cigarette from Obama’s thoughtful mouth, now he’s outside the church, thoughtfully having removed himself from the main knot of post-church gab, he’s conferring with a few aides, or talking to some youths on the street, then the head pastor flanked by deacons strides over to shake his hand, he fumbles with his cig, jokes and grins about Obama’s sinful habit all around...

And after he’s elected, a little girl writes him a letter: "Dear President Obama, please, please quit smoking so that you will live a long time." Obama writes back, promising to try, feel-good field-day for the media once its leaked.

If you read the medical report on Bogart, which is on the Web, the docs think the booze was the main contributing factor to his esophogeal cancer. Bogey’s famous alleged last words were something like, "I never should have switched from Scotch to martinis." (Not that two packs per day of Lucky Strikes for thirty years or so will win you a reduction of life insurance rates, or anything).

Well, these posts, each of which is very thougthful and ironic, brings to the surface a neglected aspect of our culture war. Based on the medical report, Bogart would have been well advised to chosen one humanizing vice in moderation, and not to have to thoroughly embraced at least two. And Carl is right, better that the president engage a caring country by trying to quick smoking than trying to quick the vices of, say, Kennedy and Clinton.

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