Smoking your way to the presidency?

I was waiting for Reason to blog about this article in The New Republic. It focuses on the fact that presidential maybe-sayer Barack Obama smokes cigarettes. While that’s hardly a revelation, TNR’s take on it is — smoking gives him an edge as a candidate. Puffing on those cigarettes makes him seem like a real guy and not another synthetic politician.

As writer Michael Currie Schaffer puts it:

For a Democrat who wants to run in 2008, smoking may well be a tactically perfect vice. On the one hand, it sets Obama apart from the likes of Gore and Kerry, who suffered from the public perception that they had been training for the White House–and thus forgoing (or burying) foolish diversions like smoking–since they were teens. And, on the other hand, it may serve to shield him from what could be the major knock on Hillary Clinton–that she is an eat-your-vegetables type who wants to impose her yuppified abstemiousness on the rest of us.

Schaffer may have something here. But don’t expect to see any ads with Obama puffing away. I’ll bet political correctness dictates a nicotine patch soon.