Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« A Room with a State | Bottoms Up! »

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Won’t Date One

posted by on May 29 at 10:22 AM


But I’ll vote for one—a smoker, I mean.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is in “excellent health,” his physician said today.

The Illinois senator’s Chicago doctor David Scheiner, who said he has treated Obama since 1987, noted Obama’s “intermittent” cigarette smoking, but added: “He has quit this practice on several occasions and is currently using Nicorette gum with success.”

I’m sorry, but someone who’s quit “on several occasions” never really quit. Not yet. And if the man is currently smoking, doc, then he’s not using Nicorette gum “with success.” He’s feeding his nicotine addiction with cigarettes and gum.

Somehow I don’t think many of Obama’s starry-eyed, elitist, liberal and progressive supporters would be down with the whole smoking thing—cigarettes are baaaad for you, cigarette companies are eeeeeevil—which is probably why the Obama camp has worked so hard to make sure no one gets a picture of Obama smoking during this long, stressful campaign.

But you know what demo smokes? Those non-college-educated, working-class white voters Obama supposedly has so much trouble reaching. So maybe it’s a strategic mistake for Obama to keep his smoking under wraps. Maybe Obama would’ve done better in West Virginia and even won Indiana if he met Hillary’s shot-and-a-beer and raised her a pack-a-day.

RSS icon Comments


Dan, Obama quit smoking right before he began to run for President. It was one of the conditions his wife made him meet before she'd let him run.

Posted by BobH | May 29, 2008 10:31 AM

If the nation can look the other way and vote TWICE for an alcoholic who can't remember whether he did coke, they can vote for a sometimes smoker.

Unless they think he's a secret Muslim.

Posted by Ziggity | May 29, 2008 10:32 AM

practically unreadable Dan.

"Somehow I don’t many of Obama’s starry-eyed..."

"But you what demo smokes?"

Posted by Editor's Editor | May 29, 2008 10:32 AM

Shut the fuck up.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 29, 2008 10:33 AM

Wait. He SMOKES?! Fuck that. He can kiss my vote goodbye!

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | May 29, 2008 10:35 AM

I hate smoking with a vengeance... usually if someone is a smoker, it makes me think less of them. While this is probable true to a small extent with Obama, it certainly won't affect my vote.

I do wonder about the role model thing, though. Does Obama smoking set a bad example for the children. Or, does it make smoking less of a "bad", cool kid thing to do.

Posted by Julie | May 29, 2008 10:35 AM

FYI: It takes seven attempts at quitting smoking before the average person is successful.

Posted by Soupytwist | May 29, 2008 10:36 AM

"But you what demo smokes? Those non-college-educated, working-class white voters Obama supposedly has so much trouble reaching."

AND disaffected college kids that are active members of most subcultures (a demographic he already has in the bag). I never really got the idea of rebelling against cultural norms with something that is not only going to potentially kill you but also make you smell bad while doing it, but there you have it. I'd say about 30% or so of my friends (almost all college educated and in their mid-20s to early 30s) smoked during college, though many of them have successfully (if painfully) quit since then.

Posted by Beguine | May 29, 2008 10:38 AM

Well, since I'm not going to be sleeping with him, it's ok if he's a smoker, so long as he does it outside when he stays over.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 29, 2008 10:38 AM

"Maybe Obama would’ve done better in West Virginia and even won Indiana if he met Hillary’s shot-and-a-beer and raised her a pack-a-day."

That depends on whether or not he smokes menthols.

Posted by doink | May 29, 2008 10:40 AM

Dan is just using "demo" in lieu of "demographic" like a real "poly-anal".

Posted by w7ngman | May 29, 2008 10:41 AM

Actually, the smoking thing makes me want to vote for him more. Don't you know that smoking = cool? In fact, in the Far Future it's understood that scientists will mine cigarette butts of the past to extract the pure Rock n' Roll for industrial uses.

Posted by Matt Fuckin' Hickey | May 29, 2008 10:43 AM

I hear that Bill Clinton enjoyed a cigar now and then.

Posted by JC | May 29, 2008 10:44 AM

Thank you Soupytwist. It took me about that many times before I was able to finally quit (six months & counting!).

I know non-smokers love to look down their noses at us weak minded pityful smokers and congratulate themselves for being so smart for never starting. But it is actually really really hard to quit. Believe me, I hate cigarettes as much as the next guy, but cut a guy some slack.

Also, where does it say that Obama is currently smoking?

Posted by Mike in MO | May 29, 2008 10:45 AM

Uh... lots of starry-eyed liberal capitol hill types smoke. Lots of dreadlocked hippies smoke (cigs). It's pretty common in the younger leftish crowd. Lots of those oh-so-cool foreigners smoke.

Granted in Seattle the whole smoking ban has really cut down on things.

When I was a kid I flushed my mom's cigs down the toilet. We knew they were way bad even back then. Fast forward 20 years and there I am with a cig in my mouth. Most of my friends have quit though a little earlier than Obama.

I was mostly a chipper and the smoking ban basically quit for me. I was highly ambivalent about it but I was not surprised at the results for me and many others. I smoke like one cigarette a month now and the idea that I used to be able to sit at a bar and watch a game and smoke one after another is crazy. It really was great though when talking to girls. For all of the "I won't date smokers" it seemed like a majority of people in bars, clubs or parties were down with it. Maybe it was just the cool people

Posted by daniel | May 29, 2008 10:50 AM

I'm curious as to what brand Obama smokes when he smokes intermittently. I hope it isn't Salem's (my mom's brand of choice).

Posted by elswinger | May 29, 2008 10:52 AM

Now now people lets not judge what one person does in their own home. He smokes yes it is bad for you but hey that is his choice. As long as he is not blowing smoke up your ass get over.

Posted by Poll Smoker | May 29, 2008 10:52 AM

DAMN!! That is a hot picture of Obama!! Michelle is one lucky bitch!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | May 29, 2008 10:59 AM

I think I was on the patch, gum, and sneaking cigs on the side for years. It's a tough process. But every time I'd flush or trash the cigarettes, I'd say I'd quit. What else are you going to do? Say you're just temporarily torturing yourself, but you'll go back to your nasty habits soon enough? Better to have, uhm, hope?

Posted by Alan | May 29, 2008 11:04 AM

Does this really make a difference to anyone? It's like voting for Obama based on who his favorite spice girl is or if he's a mitchum man or if he's a smoker. This should make no difference in his stance on policy and how he plans on leading this country.

Posted by Little Red Ryan Hood | May 29, 2008 11:06 AM

"And if the man is currently smoking, doc, then he’s not using Nicorette gum “with success.” He’s feeding his nicotine addiction with cigarettes and gum."

The article doesn't say that he's currently smoking, Dan, so it's fallacious for you to assume that he's not using Nicorette with success.

Posted by Emily | May 29, 2008 11:11 AM

whether or not Obama has 100% quit or not ... definitly NOT affecting my vote for him. Barack rocks. Below is a book that helped me [dude in his early 30s who smoked for way too long] & some friends quit cigs.

Speakin' of smokin' ... long live da weed! I'd love to burn one with President Obama.

Posted by formersmoker | May 29, 2008 11:12 AM

Dan = racist

Posted by bored and trolling | May 29, 2008 11:15 AM

I think Obama is right to be really strategic about cigarette smoking.

After all, if he thinks that it is acceptable for individual states to select which citizens are due equal protections - even though states' rights has historically been used to deny equality to African Americans - then what's the big deal about getting caught smoking? He should be photographed smoking specially if it can endear him to the uneducated, poor and redneck crowd that supports Clinton.

In fact, if he was photographed smoking next to a drinking fountain with a sign that says "Colored Only" I bet he'd get all of Clinton's votes.

Go for it O! It doesn't matter how egregious the pandering gets. Sell it baby!!

Posted by patrick | May 29, 2008 11:19 AM


And something that's manufactured and marketed by big business. It was marketing that made cigarettes out to be a rebellious act in the first place.

But what's really funny is the number of left-wing radicals who smoke. Way to stick it to the man, guys.

Posted by keshmeshi | May 29, 2008 11:19 AM

Slate reported way back in January 2007 that the cigs may be what gives Obama such a great speaking voice.

Posted by kk | May 29, 2008 11:21 AM

As long as he's not smoking that clove shit, he still has my vote.

Posted by elrider | May 29, 2008 11:22 AM

It's perfectly fine for him to have the occasional cigarette with his occasional line of coke.

Posted by Chris | May 29, 2008 11:25 AM

That's BS keshmeshi, we can't blame all of our problems on corporations and advertising. People have been smoking for centuries and it was cool then too.

As hard as is it to admit the corps do feed on our human nature not just entirely pervert to their master plan.

Posted by daniel | May 29, 2008 11:26 AM

@ 27: totally. There is nothing worse than an asshole smoking a fucking clove.

Posted by Mike in MO | May 29, 2008 11:28 AM

patrick @ 24, your screeds are old. Clinton & Obama have the same position on gay marriage. Well, except the fact that Clinton only wants to repeal part of DOMA, whereas Obama wants to repeal all of it. get your head out of your ass! Maybe you'll like McCain more. I'm sure his SC appointees will please you.

Posted by STFU! | May 29, 2008 11:30 AM

He's got to ditch the Nicorette. That shit just prolongs the agony. Quit and get it over with.

Actually what did it for me was chew. It works beautifully, much better than Nicorette, and it is so unbelievably disgusting and foul for you and everyone around you that once the hand-to-mouth habit is mostly gone, getting rid of the mouthful of black tarry shreds habit is fairly easy. Two weeks was enough.

Don't spit, though. Swallow the juice. You can spit the solids out when you've sucked them dry, but please, do it where no one can see you. And check your teeth constantly.

Or Michelle could use a technique my wife used before we married: start smoking yourself. There was no fucking way I was going to hook her on the stuff too.

Posted by Fnarf | May 29, 2008 11:31 AM

I vote a straight pro-drug ticket, and Obama is my man. Say what you will against tobacco farmers, federal subsidies, tobacco companies, etc. A person who uses drugs is a person who admits to daily stress and human frailty and takes advantage of his right to self-medicate in order to deal with the world. In other words: a normal god-damned human being. Spare me your petty moralizing - drugs can help. Go Obama.

Posted by Gurldoggie | May 29, 2008 11:34 AM

who gives a fuck.

Posted by tiffany | May 29, 2008 11:44 AM

@13 JC Wins.

Posted by six shooter | May 29, 2008 11:47 AM

I don't care if he smokes or not. He's got my vote.

Posted by monkey | May 29, 2008 11:48 AM


1. Nowhere in the article does it say that he is currently smoking. "Intermittent" does not mean "currently".

2. It takes most ex-smokers multiple attempts at quitting before it actually happens. What is a smoker supposed to say when they decide to stop? "I won't say that I'm quitting because there's a significant statistical chance that I will relapse" ? Give me a break.

3. The fact that he was a smoker isn't some big secret that no one knew about before now. If this is the first you've heard of it, I'll give you that, but plenty of starry-eyed liberal progressives already knew and supported him despite that.

Posted by Hernandez | May 29, 2008 11:50 AM

I only smoked for about four years, but I went from an occasional clove cigarette to a pack and a half of Camel filters a day within the first year. I stopped smoking a couple of times, and then fell back into the full-blown addiction within a week of the first "just one" cigarette. I finally quit cold turkey during the big Seattle snowstorm in late 1996 when I had a horrible chest cold and it was a pain in the ass to trudge through snow to get to the cigarette store. I didn't tell anyone and was just a miserable wreck for a few days. By the time my girlfriend (now wife) realized I wasn't smoking, I was past the first few horrible days. And luckily for me, she decided to quit then and there, and my best friend at the time also quit, so I had much less incentive to start up again. None of us have had a cigarette since 1997.

So, with everything going for me and a relatively short-term addiction it still took me three tries. I admire Obama for attempting to give up cigarettes during the stress of the campaign, and mostly succeeding. But honestly, if he's not smoking around me and not shilling for the tobacco companies, it wouldn't matter politically if he kept on smoking. As a supporter, I would worry about his health.

Posted by Cascadian | May 29, 2008 12:00 PM

Gee STFU is there something wrong with what I said? Clinton lost. She doesn't matter anymore. Does McCain smoke? I thought this post was about Obama.

Oh, it is.

The same African American guy that likes likes separate but equal long as they have a minty aftertaste.

Good for him! How did that speech on racism go...he gave one a few weeks back didn't he?? something about divisiveness and polarization and denial...i wonder if he recalls it...

Posted by patrick | May 29, 2008 12:06 PM

He needs a cigarette tester. Somebody might slipped something in his cigarette. Oh wait he needs a gum tester now. Oh wait he needs to test the patch on someone first.

Posted by Odrama | May 29, 2008 12:06 PM

running for president is stressful enough. quitting cold turkey while doing it is too much to ask of a human being.

the nicorette is an acceptable compromise.

i don't give 2 shits if he smokes 1 or 2 cigs a day, anyway. the french are going to love him for it.

Posted by max solomon | May 29, 2008 12:06 PM

Hehe patrick you make a good point. It's just that your segue is totally stupid. Just spam us with your point without the lame hook.

Anyway he is a monster, just check out (when she pays her bill.)

Posted by daniel | May 29, 2008 12:41 PM

We're obviously missing the real solution - blowjobs.

Tie the quantity and frequency to how much Nicorette he has. More Nicorette ... fewer BJs.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 29, 2008 12:41 PM


Cigarettes are a relatively recent invention. Do you think smoking a pipe was ever regarded as a rebellious act? As I said, the popularity of cigarettes is all marketing.

Posted by keshmeshi | May 29, 2008 1:19 PM

well, you'll never quit smoking if you're not trying to quit. and if you're trying to quit smoking, then you still think of yourself as a smoker, not as an ex-smoker, which is where your mind needs to be. don't be like carter and sin in your heart. sin in your bed, instead.


Posted by diggum | May 29, 2008 1:20 PM

What's his brand? Marlboro? That Spirit Native American thing with the fake we-are-organiz advertising? (Gulp, no I am not racist) menthal Kools or Newports?

How can he be a moral leader if he smokes?
How can he tell kids to study hard not chose crime and make good choices?

He could get cancer and die. He's 46. He should be president from about age 47 to age 55. Prime, prime prime cancer risk. LOTS of lung cancer victims get it in that age range.

What kind of leader today smokes?

And his doctors saying he's quite several times blah blah blah what bullshit -- he hasn't quit. He hides it, fearing a camera will catch him. Why isn't he out there in public smoking, if that's what his addiction is?

Oh yeah one other thing. He can't handle the stressful, difficult process of quitting, yet he wants to be president.

This takes away the whole McCain age issue.

Posted by PC | May 29, 2008 2:45 PM

Sure, I like the idea of promoting smoking. Maybe the tabacco companies will start donating money in mass quantities to the D's the way they do with the R's. Something to be proud of. But what if they want something in return?

Posted by Vince | May 29, 2008 3:49 PM

I've never smoked, and am as pious as the next non-smoker, but if I were under the amount of stress that guy is, I'd have to be hooked up to an iv drip of morphine.

The fact that he's even trying to quit smoking under these circumstances is unbelievable. He can name his next daughter Nicorette for all I care.

Posted by Phoebe | May 29, 2008 5:33 PM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.