Much fuss has been made about President Barack Obama signing anti-smoking legislation while he is still struggling with the habit himself. Does this make him weak? A hypocrite? A bad role model for our children? Faye Fiore of the LA Times asks a more reasonable question:
[W]hat were the odds that Obama could give up a 30-year habit — even if it was only about five a day — right before assuming the hardest job in the world?
“Highly improbable,” said Ovide Pomerleau, a professor of psychiatry and a nicotine addiction expert at the University of Michigan. He noted that the president’s struggle appears to fit a pattern. “It doesn’t surprise me, given his heroic schedule of activities, that he would have some trouble giving up something that has been an easy crutch to carry him through for so many years.”
Even light smokers like Obama get a dependable hit that improves the memory and sharpens concentration, however briefly, Pomerleau said, which could prove irresistible during Iranian revolutions and North Korean missile launches.
Obama also has a worldwide economic recession, the conflict in Iraq, global warming and gays in the military to contend with. Any vice that helps him deal with the stress – short of getting a blow job from a white house intern – is okay by us.