Ronald Reagan could do it. Even George W. Bush could do it. But Barack Obama — a 49-year-old multi-millionaire adult with two impressionable children and a somewhat high-profile public life — cannot stop smoking cigarettes. If Obama’s inability to stand up for anything he apparently (?) ever believed is still a mystery to the Americans who enthusiastically supported him a couple of years ago, the answer might be found in whatever broom closet or spot behind the hedges where the American President crouches over his not-very-secret cigarette.
Today, Robert Gibbs got the smoking question, again. And Robert Gibbs did a true White House press secretary thing: He said, “I have not seen or witnessed evidence of him smoking in probably nine months.” But this, of course, depends on the meaning of “evidence.” Also: Doesn’t Gibbs go home after work, to his own family? Or does he follow Obama around all day and night, even to the toilet?
It is not easy to quit smoking when you’ve got a heavy nicotine habit. We know about this. It took your editor a couple of tries over a couple of months, many years ago, including one happy 10-day relapse in France. But, like Obama, your editor knew you don’t keep smoking after you’ve produced children. It is bad for you and it’s bad for the kids, who generally aren’t able to make an informed decision about whether they’d like to breathe somebody else’s Camels until they’re old enough to leave home, wheezing and smelling of ashtrays.
Obama claimed he had stopped smoking several years ago, and then claimed he was “still struggling” or whatever, and now that he’s been in office two years we cannot even get a straight answer, because of course he still smokes. He’s morally weak. This is why no matter what he claims to support, no matter what his own supporters expect him to do, he’ll always do the opposite. The devil sitting on his shoulder is a Republican twerp in a 1980 blue business suit telling him, “You know you want to screw over those idiot liberals. What have they ever done for you, anyway? As soon as you’re out of the White House — as long as you don’t ruffle any feathers on our side — you’re gonna make triple the money Bill Clinton ever saw, and you can buy a whole NBA team if you feel like it, and never even show up to watch because you’re at your own private PGA golf course. You think DailyKos is gonna buy you a golf course and a Lear Jet, Barry? You worried about some titty baby liberal arts major writing a free blog post for Arianna’s content farm? Get real, dingus.”
When you’re morally weak, you do things that you claim to not want to do. People with much tougher addictions than nicotine quit all the time, no matter how much professional help they may need, once they’ve made the moral decision to quit doing the thing they’ve decided is bad for them.
We are not talking about Keith Richards still smoking cigarettes, or Charles Bukowski drinking wine, or any other person of character who enjoys whatever they enjoy and partakes proudly, in the light of day (if they’re awake yet). We’re talking about the hiding. It does not take three fucking years to stop smoking cigarettes when you actually want to stop. Back in the day, Christopher Hitchens probably smoked more in a busy week of farting out Slate columns than Obama has smoked his whole pansy life. And Hitch quit — long before his cancer diagnosis, too. He’d had enough, and he quit.
If you’re still smoking cigarettes many years after you’ve announced that you’ve quit, you either weren’t ready to quit yet — in which case you should apologize to everyone for being such a loser, and go back to your cigarettes until you’re actually ready to stop smoking — or you’re morally weak. When you look at Obama’s first two years in office with the endless escalating wars against Third World peasants and his handouts to Wall Street and the consistent betrayal of the only people who ever actually wanted him to be president, moral weakness is the answer to everything.