Close observers of Obama have known for awhile that he is an on-again-off-again smoker. But, generally speaking, his cigarette habit has been as hidden from view as was Franklin Rooseveltâ€™s paralysis. I mean, images of Obama smoking on the campaign trail never circulated although he admitted yesterday that he still struggles with quitting.
I wonder if his popularity during the campaign would have suffered if more people knew about his habit? To me, it just makes him seem more human. But we tend to demonize smoking in our modern culture and I wonder if Obamaâ€™s habit, if more widely known, would damage his image as a cultivated, vigorous, in-control man.
Admittedly, this is a rather small point with all the real problems facing Obama. But itâ€™s an interesting statement both on Obama and contemporary culture that his smoking has been so hidden. For his part, Obama says heâ€™ll follow the White Houseâ€™s no smoking policy. But I bet, with the stress, heâ€™ll still sneak a few puffs. And I bet we never see a picture of it.