Obama versus the prohibitionists

There was always going to be a disillusionment among the President-elect’s leftwing backers. After all, he is going to pile more troops into Afghanistan (what?) and he is supportive of the state of Israel (noooo!)

But there’s something even more unforgiveable about the guy from Illinois.

Via Norm, Christopher Caldwell explains that: ‘The attention paid to Mr Obama’s relationship with cigarettes is evidence of a pathology – and not on the part of the president-elect.’

Evidence of the pathology can be seen in this news story:

‘It’s a wonderful opportunity,’ says Cheryl Healton, president of the American Legacy Foundation, a Washington-based group that seeks to prevent smoking among young people. ‘The president-elect is in a position to help people understand that it’s difficult to quit, and to encourage the 43 million adult Americans who smoke to join him in his efforts.’

Sure Cheryl – it’s not like Obama will have anything else to do, right?

And this is John Gibson from the hilarious Fox News:

Sure he’s young, sure he’s charismatic, but what do we really know about Barack Obama? And what does he really stand for? Obama is the kind of presidential hopeful who appeals to the masses. He portrays himself as a political moderate, but he’s much more liberal than he says he is. And his team works overtime trying to hide Obama’s dirty little secret. He is — get this — a cigarette smoker. The point is: What else do we not know about Barack Obama?

Back to Caldwell:

The TV journalist Tom Brokaw recently closed an interview with Mr Obama by asking him if he had quit smoking. Mr Brokaw wanted to know, since ‘the White House is a no-smoking zone’. Whether it is or is not is a tricky constitutional question. The White House has two functions. On one hand it is a government building. Mr Brokaw may well be right that it is, as such, covered by some intemperate smoking regulation. But it is also the living quarters of Mr Obama, citizen, during the time he is president. There is no reason that getting elected president should make one less entitled to privacy in one’s home. It is not always easy to delineate clearly between personal and governmental activities, but smoking is unambiguously a personal one. The rules ought to be whatever Mr Obama says they are. Once you mix up the body personal and the body politic the way Mr Brokaw does, you lose sight of why the president should enjoy any right to privacy, or any personal freedom, whatsoever. If the people feel reassured by seeing their president grovel before taking power, then grovel he must. This was the attitude in some of the negative letters the Washington Post received when columnist Michael Kinsley dared to suggest that anti-smokers should leave the president-elect alone. ‘He needs to make this sacrifice,’ wrote one correspondent unhappy with Mr Obama. What odd language. Did the US elect a president or a priest?


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