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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The only promise Obama can deliver on

Barack Obama reckons he smokes about eight cigarettes a day. That's what he told "Men's Health", anyway. If he's being as economical with the truth as most of us are when the doctor asks how much we drink, I'd say that means he actually smokes more than a dozen. I don't think it'll take much more than a week in his new job to have him up to twenty a day.

What I want to know is, where's he going to smoke them? My knowledge of White House layout is gleaned from a tour round the place back in the days when you could do such things and then close observation of Martin Sheen in "The West Wing". As far as I can work out there's a French window from the Oval Office that leads into a colonnade opening on to the garden. Out there at all times is a white-capped Marine (and no doubt all sorts of heavy artillery in the foliage). That's where The First Skiver will presumably step out. But who's he going to smoke with? Is he going to gather a group of White House malcontents around him, as is traditional in smoking sections? Washers-up from the White House kitchen? A bunch of interns talking about how pissed they got last night? And is somebody even now attaching one of those horrid ashtrays into the wall?

Clearly, he should give up. In fact he should make it part of his Inauguration Speech. "And I pledge to you, fellow Americans, that just as I ask you to work harder for less money, save more and volunteer in your local community, I will do my part by kicking this vile habit." After such a public declaration, this would be one decision he couldn't back down from.