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Herman Cain’s Mark Block Smokes Up a Foggy Campaign

| October 25, 2011

Lauren Bacall decides to have one and worry about the have-nots later.

I’m no fan of Herman Cain, the latest-day saint of the GOP’s basic-cable reenactment of the Ziegfeld Follies. But I am a fan of his latest campaign ad, the one featuring Mark Block, his campaign’s chief of staff, taking a lusty drag on his cigarette after making a conventional pitch for his man (“We’ve run a campaign like nobody’s ever seen, but then America has never seen a candidate like Herman Cain”). Have a look:

The video went viral after being mistaken for a hoax. A smoker? in 2011? And that impish grin Cain spins out at the end, like a slow-mo Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” but without the mess (Cain is, after all, proposing to exorcise America of its latest liberal witchcraft: dial 999.)

But it’s the smoking part that’s got a few people riled up with that how-dare-he sense of self-righteousness so common now when it comes to some of life’s most pleasurable but nevertheless still legal vices. I’m not a smoker, at least not cigarettes. I like to have an occasional pipe or a cigar, but only when the temperature falls into the 40s. Cigarettes, which killed one of my fathers, tend to make me a bit sick even from a distance, and also nostalgic, having grown up around broods of smokers who thought nothing of lighting up–whether pregnant, at bedtime, at the dinner table or at the latest funeral for the latest victim of cigarette-induced cancer.


What makes me sicker is the judgments about smokers, whatever they’re smoking, and the way smokers have been marginalized, forced to virtually hide their habits or segregate themselves on side stoops and side alleys. We have no more lepers to ostracize, so we go after smokers. Sure their illnesses cost more. But so does butter. So does red meat. So does Republicanism’s dopey modern version. So does I-95, for that matter. The Cain ad seems finally to say the hell with it.

“You walk into a veterans’ bar in Iowa and they’re sitting around smoking, and yeah, we are resonating with them,” Block told Fox News. “I’m not the only one that smokes in America for God’s sake. It’s a choice that I made, and was at the end of the ad.” Why should he even have to justify it?

Don’t forget who else smokes: Barack Obama. He claims to have quit once he entered the White House. Hard to believe. We’ll find out sooner or later that he’s still sneaking his sticks left and right about as much as Bill Clinton was sneaking his whoppers and fries. And why the hell not. His choice. His rights. His lungs.


Editor’s Blog



Not to mention the very best argument for a shorter lifespan these days: a brief look and whiff of any nursing home of your choice, where the stink of miserably prolonged life is worse than any cigarette smoke ever likely to cross your nose. Poor inmates in those worse-than-prison homes. They forbid them to smoke, too. Wouldn’t want the checks to stop prematurely. For nursing homes, at $78,000 a year per patient, a life prolonged, however tortuously, is money in the bank for those who nail the no-smoking signs to our liberties’ coffin.

Now, if we could only get the smoke to clear out from Cain’s gray cells and his remarkable ability to ridicule simple math, maybe we’ll have something.

–Pierre Tristam

Here’s Betrand Russell, one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, who lived to be about 767 years old, declaring: “I owe my life to smoking.”:

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3 Responses for “Herman Cain’s Mark Block Smokes Up a Foggy Campaign”

  1. elaygee says:

    No problem about smoiking here from me either.
    Only issue is that each smoker needs to sign a waiver for any benefits from tax dollars to pay for any health costs or care they receive for smoking related diseases.
    Taxpayers should not be subsidizing medical expenses for people willfully ingesting dangerous chemicals directly into their lungs and bloodstream. (Maybe a free smoking cessation program would be in order but thats it)
    Same goes for helmetless motorcyclists and obesity related diseases. They have simple preventative measures that you can take and if you choose to ignore them, it should be at your own risk. Or, you can buy special insurance covering your particular libertarian health hazards.

  2. Riley says:

    Herman Cain………………………….smoke and mirrors.

  3. palmcoaster says:

    elaygee you forgot the alcoholics and please do not label ” libertarians” these excesses.
    Regarding Cain?…so far these GOP candidates just been improving the turf for the president re-election with their circus show, so far. Just happened to be made aware that Mormonism is a cult…?

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