Snooty media-types are giving Barack Obama a hard time for his dodges and weaves about trying to quit smoking. But we should all leave the poor addict alone, writes Ron Rosenbaum in Slate. Do we really want a nervous, edgy president dying for a cigarette while he's got his finger on the nuclear button? Sure, secondhand smoke is bad, but what about "secondhand radioactive plutonium?"
OK, that's a little over the top, Rosenbaum admits. But more seriously, what if cigarettes have actually helped Obama become the man he is? The president-elect's celebrated "contemplative self-possession" might come from his "ability to sit back, inhale a puff or two, slow down and think—meditate, cogitate—before acting," Rosenbaum writes. If not for cigarettes, he might still be a community organizer. Let the man smoke.