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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let Obama puff in peace

By Celia Rivenbark
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Somebody has to say this, so it might as well be me: I don't think Obama should quit smoking.

If the leader of the Free World wants to unwind with a cigarette after a day of listening to endless claptrap from critics who accuse him of everything except bowling with the severed heads of their grandmothers, then far be it from me to tell him not to.

Oh, sure, I get it. As a former (25 years ago) genuinely committed pack-a-day smoker, I understand the need to quit. I quit smoking when I realized I was mighty young to be out of breath on a 10-yard walk from the car to my front door. Call it one of Oprah's "Ah-ha!" moments. So, I quit and immediately took up pie. It is a decision I have never once regretted.

Smoking is unhealthy and expensive. But if the president of the United States can't unwind with a cigarette, or two, at the end of the day, out of the prying eyes of the cameras and away from his young daughters, then so freaking what?

I imagine Obama gets enough grief about his "vile habit," as some have called it, from his health-nut wife and probably from his live-in mama-in-law. To which I would say, would y'all please just let him have one vice without making it All That? (And I don't care how nice she is. Bottom line? He lives with his mother-in-law.)

I don't think Obama should smoke forever but why don't we hold off on the righteous indignation and judgment till he's been out of office a few months? (Quit salivating, Tea Partiers.)

You think your boss is a jerk and your job at the widget factory is a stressful bummer? Try dealing on a daily basis with psychos like Kim Jong Il and Michele Bachmann. Gawd, just thinking about it makes me want lots and lots of pie.

Smoking is a stress-reliever for Obama and, in the real world, a late-night smoke on an outdoor balcony is pretty tame stuff.

We all have our coping devices. In addition to pie, I cope with stressful days by watching SoapNet for an hour. It's idiotic. It corrodes my mind and possibly my soul. But it's a great way to mindlessly unwind.

After his recent physical exam, the president's press secretary felt the need to report in sorrowful tones that the president hasn't quite kicked the habit yet. When asked about his smoking, Obama describes his habit with Tiger Woodsian levels of self-loathing. I hope he does quit one day but, until then, I'm not going to act like he's grinding out butts with his heel on the presidential seal in the Oval Office.

Get over it, y'all.