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Rants / Debates (Serious) > Does Obama's smoking bother you?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bj-gall...

Does Obama's smoking matter? Can he advocate for healthy living and still smoke?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes it bothers me. Mostly do to the fact that he has to have all the facts before him. yet still makes the bad decision and smokes. What other decisions does he make that may be the easy way out?


message 3: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments actually it does not bother me that much because he is very open about the addiction and how difficult it is to break. it shows a human side and a weakness. him honestly quitting would be huge i think.


message 4: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments honesty is key here.


message 5: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Jim wrote: "Yes it bothers me. Mostly do to the fact that he has to have all the facts before him. yet still makes the bad decision and smokes. What other decisions does he make that may be the easy way out?"

Wow. Comparing an inability or reluctance to quit smoking with hitting the Big Red Button, or whatever. That's a bit silly, don't you think? I smoke, I know the facts (I'm a nurse for Chrissake), and yet I do not consume a liter of bourbon and decide to drive all my little nieces and nephews to the beach for the day, or inject a patient with succinylcholine because I think they've suffered enough. Not quitting smoking does not make one a bad or stupid person. Give us a break.


message 6: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I don't think there's anyone out there who hasn't broken an addiction because they just don't have the facts, or that it's magically easy to quit something you're addicted to because you find out it's bad for you. We all do stuff that's bad for us even though we know it's bad. No one is perfect.

I'd like to see him quit, but I'm glad he's being honest about having trouble doing that. Maybe it'll help shed a little light on the myth of willpower.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Mary wrote: "Jim wrote: "Yes it bothers me. Mostly do to the fact that he has to have all the facts before him. yet still makes the bad decision and smokes. What other decisions does he make that may be the e..."

You are correct Mary, my apologies.


message 8: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Jim wrote: "Mary wrote: "Jim wrote: "Yes it bothers me. Mostly do to the fact that he has to have all the facts before him. yet still makes the bad decision and smokes. What other decisions does he make that..."


No worries, Jim. Hope your day gets better! Y'know, when I'm stressed out there's nothing like smoking a ciggie or two to put it all in perspective. (I'm teasin' ya, Jim).


message 9: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
It doesn't bother me at all.


message 10: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments i have been a nail biter for as long as i can remember. i probably started when i was 4 or 5. i began trying to stop when i was 10 or 11 and finally succeeded when i was 16. i can't imagine being addicted to something that is actually addictive and knowing my lack of willpower i stay away from almost anything that falls in that category.


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments He's trying to quit, and I know it's hard, so I don't have anything but compassion for the president.


message 12: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherjoy) | 384 comments I could really care less; I expect hypocrisy from politicians and would be at a loss if they were to disappoint me by not delivering on that front.

Msg #5 reminds me of a major pet peeve of mine. I can't stand it when a celebrity/politician brings up wars, the economy, etc. to shift the heat of their scrutiny. Yes, we are in war and the economy blows, that doesn't change the fact that they themselves are news.


message 13: by Ben (last edited Mar 03, 2010 01:00PM) (new)

Ben It bothers me none. I think it humanizes him some, and frankly, it's far preferable to having a penchant for young interns. In fact, I don't want him to quit now; quitting is a bitch and so is withdrawal; one's brain isn't as fast when trying to quit smoking. I think he should wait and quit when he's no longer president.


message 14: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
Your pet peeve is the opposite pet peeve of mine - I don't think that the president's behavior should be news in a time of war and a slumped economy.


message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Heather wrote: "I could really care less; I expect hypocrisy from politicians and would be at a loss if they were to disappoint me by not delivering on that front.

Msg #5 reminds me of a major pet peeve of mine..."


I don't think it's fair to call him a hypocrite because he advocates for healthy living while being a smoker. It's the message, not the messenger.


message 16: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i hope i see of pic of him in a white tee shirt with a pack of camels rolled up in the sleeve


message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherjoy) | 384 comments Sally wrote: "Your pet peeve is the opposite pet peeve of mine - I don't think that the president's behavior should be news in a time of war and a slumped economy."


Hmm, and yet we are all talking about it...:)

Mary, I find that the message is not effective when the messanger himself cannot deliver. Do as I say and not as I do rarely inspires anyone.


message 18: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) I'd love President Obama more if a picture of him lighting up a bong in the Oval Office ever sees the light of day...


message 19: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Gus wrote: "I'd love President Obama more if a picture of him lighting up a bong in the Oval Office ever sees the light of day..."

That would certainly be one way to ceremonially mark a change in federal marijuana policy, should it ever come.


message 20: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11549 comments I don't give a rat's ass whether he smokes or not. My wife smokes again now, after having quit for 13 years. Her problem isn't willpower, it's that the habit of smoking helps her relieve stress.


message 21: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
Heather wrote: Hmm, and yet we are all talking about it..."

Exactly.



We're such a nation of puratanical hypocrites. To expect someone to not only lead our country, explain our behaviours to other countries, deal with wars, debt, etc etc, and be a role model for all to aspire to 24/7 is just too much.
I blame the internet, media, papparazi style attention given to those we elect to be moral and ethical leaders.

When in fact what he chooses to do with his own body is none of our business. None.


message 22: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherjoy) | 384 comments I disagree. When you enter the public eye, you are also opening yourself to public scrutiny, like it or not. And he is the leader, or at the very least, the PR spokesperson for the free world. If he were to be doing, I don't know, drugs, we have a right to know. Granted, I know we are talking about cigs, which isn't the same, but when you say, "When in fact what he chooses to do with his own body is none of our business. None.", well, that is hardly true. And the fact is smoking is terrible for your body. Just as destructive if not more so than overeating, or not exercising, so while I could care less if he smokes on tar, I don't think he should be spokesperson for a healthcare initiative. He should just pick someone credible and be done with it.


message 23: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) And he is the leader, or at the very least, the PR spokesperson for the free world.

People in a lot of countries that aren't the United States would strongly disagree with this.


message 24: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherjoy) | 384 comments Misha wrote: "And he is the leader, or at the very least, the PR spokesperson for the free world.

People in a lot of countries that aren't the United States would strongly disagree with this."


I'm sure you're right about that.


message 25: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments What about the second question?

Can he advocate for healthy living and still smoke?

Now, I know his wife isn't responsible for her husband's behavior, and she's the driver behind the healthy eating message, from what I understand, but does the fact he smokes dilute the "eat healthier" message from the White House?


message 26: by Misha (last edited Mar 03, 2010 02:05PM) (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) ...but does the fact he smokes dilute the "eat healthier" message from the White House?

To be blunt, I think anyone who dismisses a message that would benefit their own health just because Obama is struggling with smoking is a goddamned idiot. "Well he smokes, so I'm gonna eat all the Big Macs I want!" is just plain stupid.

An addendum: I might look at this differently if this were a new message and Obama was the first one to say "We need to eat healthier." But we all know where the weight (pardon the pun) of science and public health falls on this issue. We all know we should eat our vegetables and get some exercise. Obama is just one voice among millions on this issue.


message 27: by Lori (new)

Lori No it doesn't. Smoking is harder to stop than heroin. And with the tension he's under, I'd rather him smoke than be going through withdrawals. I like his honesty, I like how he's admitted he's failed at that, and I don't think it has a thing to do with the health campaign. Making healthy food choices is alot easier than quitting what with all that pressure. Plus you can still smoke and eat smart.


message 28: by RandomAnthony (last edited Mar 03, 2010 02:09PM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I don't know. I can see both sides here. I agree with Misha in that the generalized message of "eat healthier" is reasonable and should be disassociated from the president's or any other individual's locus of control. On the other hand, if you are going to deliver the message, Heather has a point in that "do as I say, not as I do" is not particularly reasonable or effective. So I'd almost prefer he not send a message at all, then send a hypocritical one, which may be one of the benefits of Michelle (who doesn't smoke) leading the charge on that one. I'm framing "be healthy" as the message, by the way, combining all the different health elements into one general "be healthy" message.

He's a human being, sure. So was George Bush with his alcoholism and Clinton bangin' interns. If Obama came out and said "Yeah, I smoke, but I'm trying to quit" I could respect that. But I'm not sure that wouldn't set off a firestorm that isn't worth his time.


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I thought he had said that he was trying to quit.

Here:
"Look, I've said before that as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. The -- am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No. I don't do it in front of my kids. I don't do it in front of my family. And you know, I would say that I am 95 percent cured. But there are times where -- there are times where I mess up. And I mean, I've said this before."

Said Obama, "I get this question about once every month or so. And you know, I don't know what to tell you, other than the fact that, you know, like folks who go to AA, you know, once you've gone down this path, then you know, it's something you continually struggle with, which is precisely why the legislation we signed was so important, because what we don't want is kids going down that path in the first place."
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/06/...


message 30: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I thought he had said that recently?

Does it make a difference that he smokes an "occasional" cigarette rather than being a regular, compulsive smoker?


message 31: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherjoy) | 384 comments I agree RA. I think he should let Michelle send the message. It was her brain child if I understand correctly. While I've never struggled with smoking, I did struggle with an eating disorder for many years, so I understand a thing or two about addiction. And from that I can glean two things.
1. I would have no credibility if I were to tell others to live healthier, especially if I were still purging
2. Addiction is about willpower, just as overeating and not being active. You have to want to quit more than you want to smoke. Just like you have to want to be healthy more than you want to eat that piece of chocolate cake.


message 32: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Oh, I wasn't aware he said that. You see? That's what I get for not following politics.

I do think, were he able to quit, he would set a great example, esp. for black youth. In fact, I started thinking on this because a black journalist wrote a column calling for Obama to quit for that reason...I didn't even knew he smoked before a couple days back.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/85916177...


message 33: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments ha! me too personally KD. btw - i am going to see a friends band play friday night at a club in Indy that supposedly has no smoking. a nightclub style bar/club but no smoking. we'll see how that goes


message 34: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Misha wrote: "To be blunt, I think anyone who dismisses a message that would benefit their own health just because Obama is struggling with smoking is a goddamned idiot. "Well he smokes, so I'm gonna eat all the Big Macs I want!" is just plain stupid."

Thank you. I struggled to find a way to express this same opinion and still be "nice". But "just plain stupid" sums it up nicely.

Heather wrote: "Addiction is about willpower."

There a lot of people in AA and NA who would strongly disagree with this statement.


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments That's the norm here, Kevin. No smoking allowed in any indoor public place, no restaurants, stores, or even bars.
It's GREAT!!! :)


message 36: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherjoy) | 384 comments Mary wrote: "Misha wrote: "To be blunt, I think anyone who dismisses a message that would benefit their own health just because Obama is struggling with smoking is a goddamned idiot. "Well he smokes, so I'm gon..."

I see you like to say how other people like to strongly disagree with things Mary. The recovery program for eating disorders is similar to that of AA. But unlike AA, I cannot avoid food the way alcoholics can avoid alcohol. So I stand by my willpower statement regardless of whether or not those in AA or NA would strongly disagree.


message 37: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments This is a fascinating conversation.


message 38: by Lori (new)

Lori I love Misha. That is all.


message 39: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Previous comment deleted because it's pointless to argue with people. I'm bowing out of this thread. I'll see you all in more jovial discussions when I'm feeling less cranky.


message 40: by Lori (new)

Lori Oh hell Misha! Now nobody will know what I'm talking about!


message 41: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) You could just love me on general principle!

I really am bowing out now. ;)


message 42: by Jaime (new)

Jaime | 158 comments Kevin "El Liso Grande" wrote: "ha! me too personally KD. btw - i am going to see a friends band play friday night at a club in Indy that supposedly has no smoking. a nightclub style bar/club but no smoking. we'll see how that goes"

Yeah its been no smoking in clubs/bars around here since before I could even go to them. I thought it was very strange in New Orleans that people could smoke in the bars when I went there.


message 43: by RandomAnthony (last edited Mar 03, 2010 03:05PM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I think the term "willpower" seems to be especially controversial here. A couple thoughts:

1) I am not a fan of AA/NA/Whatever A rhetoric. I find the "Live and Let God", "One Day at a Time" bumper sticker rhetoric folksy, tiresome, and not particularly helpful. It's just not my thing. A family member went through that process, and he benefited, but I found the system, esp. the "if you haven't gone through AA you're a dry drunk" rhetoric borderline cultish. However, someone else might benefit from it. Knock yourself out. There are different paths to breaking addiction, and the "whatever A" rhetoric is just one of them.

2) I'm careful with the term ""willpower" is that it gives the message, potentially, that if a person really wants to change behavior he/she will. I don't think the scenario is quite that simple. People need to know how to change, have support systems, etc. Conditions are not always ideal for changing behavior. I wanted to get in shape for a decade, but I waited eight years to do so. I needed conditions (e.g. my kids a little older, out of grad school, etc.) to be in place. "Willpower" is a slippery term.

I appreciate Heather's perspective on this one, just to be clear. She has a right to speak, too. So I love Misha and Heather. That is all.


message 44: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
This is a fascinating conversation.
And I don't want to step on any toes or seem beligerent. I am listening to all perspectives.
But I have to say,
I identify as a smoker, a long time smoker, even though I have been on the wagon for nearly two years now.
Cigarettes are wicked addictive, and I believe once a smoker always a smoker.
They are harder to quit than heroin. I believe that.

And look, he's not smoking on tv, while in the Oval Office, while shaking foreign dignitaries hands. Its something he might do occasionally, when nobody is watching. That he fesses up to it just makes his honesty even more genuine (which is more than we can say for a lot of other public figures).


message 45: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
Who said hypocrisy?


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments It was implied, Sally.


message 47: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
Ah. Bueno.


message 48: by RandomAnthony (last edited Mar 03, 2010 04:36PM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Well, I think "hypocrisy" is too strong of a word, but I don't know that I would call practicing what you preach "nonsense". I think, if we removed Obama from this scenario, and just said, "some guy who smokes was telling others to be healthy", well, yes, the message is still valid, but if the person can't follow his/her own message, it's hard to argue the power and authenticity of the message is diluted. Or maybe it's better to say the message is stronger when someone who is practicing what he/she preaches.


message 49: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments HOLY GUACAMOLE!!! I had NO idea Obama smoked. How'd you guys find out about this?!! TV? Radio? Internet? I guess this is what happens when one has limited internet access, and the television's stored in the attic. :(


message 50: by RandomAnthony (last edited Mar 03, 2010 04:48PM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments That's a great example. Here's this guy, who maybe the kids in the neighborhood look up to, he's done these great things, and they see him smoking. So this role model is smoking. The role model is smoking! The guy who I want to grow up to be, who everyone is praising, smokes! Must not be a big deal then, just smoking a little here and there. People I admire do it!

I hope most people are reasonable enough to look past that. I think so. I stick by the idea, though, that if he didn't smoke his message would be more powerful. To be fair, even with my kids, I'm sure some of my messages would be more powerful if I were pristine, too, but I think they can see past most of it. I don't begrudge him his humanity. I hope parents are saying things like "Just because Obama smokes doesn't mean it's ok."


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