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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Coffin nails, lies, and the junior senator from Illinois

So what else has Obama been lying to the American public about in addition to his lies about quitting smoking last year?

Why's he still being so evasive about the most recent time he "fell off the wagon"? Every successful ex-smoker I know can tell you to the day when he last had a cigarette; almost every liar about quitting smoking uses the sort of evasive language that Obama still is using.

Why does the press continue to let him get away with that? (cough*inthetank*cough*hacks*cough)

If he really quit last year with only occasional lapses (and those were really "months" ago) why is his "body man" still carrying "emergency Nicorette"? Why's he still still chewing it "regularly ... when not at campaign events"? Niorette's maker, GlaxoSmithKline, warns: "It is important to complete your Nicorette quit program at the end of 12 weeks, so stop using Nicorette at that time. If you still feel the need to use it, talk to your doctor." Obama said in November 2007 that he'd started using it "about nine months ago," causing the NYT to speculate even then that he'd replaced a cigarette addition with one to the gum!

"Real medicine in the form of a gum," says the Nicorette website; indeed, when first released, it required a prescription, and most drug-stores now keep even the over-the-counter version in locked cabinets.

So is Obama regularly misusing any other over-the-counter drugs?

And why's he released only a single page of medical records — an undated letter based on his last examination, and that almost 17 months ago — in marked contrast to the thousands of pages released by the grumpy old man who's running against him? Why's Obama refusing to make the doctor who wrote it, his internist since 1987, available for even a telephone interview?

(H/t: DRJ, in a comment to my April 4 post speculating that Obama was concealing a still-active cigarette habit notwithstanding having claimed to have quit.)

Posted by Beldar at 04:04 PM in 2008 Election, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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(1) DRJ made the following comment | Jun 10, 2008 8:50:28 PM | Permalink

Excellent post. I didn't realize there was a suggested 12-week time limit for taking Nicorette.

(2) hunter made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 7:44:44 AM | Permalink

An odd habit in someone his age.

(3) Mike Thomas made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 9:37:27 AM | Permalink

I think it is highly commendable that Obama is trying to quit smoking.
More importantly, though, what do you think about John McCain’s recent waffling on sensible tobacco policy?
Also, since we are on the topic of “lying”, what did you think about McCain’s denial that he said something in a speech the week before?

[Edited to delete off-topic links. — Beldar.]

(4) Beldar made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 9:47:07 AM | Permalink

Mike: Of course (as I've said in two prior posts) it's commendable that he's trying to quit — duh. But please don't be disingenuous, and please don't go off-topic. If you have a comment about Obama's concealment of his smoking habit and dissembling about whether he's quit — or evidence contrary to those charges — those would be welcome.

(For others who may be idly curious, Mike's links were to online punditry over whether McCain did or didn't include a one-sentence tribute to Hillary Clinton's perspicacity in a speech last week, and whether his vote last year against extending the Children's Health Insurance Program to hundreds of thousands of adults was inconsistent with his prior votes to tax and regulate tobacco. Not only off topic, but silly.)

(5) nk made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 10:38:04 AM | Permalink

Well, he is a Light[er]worker.

Seriously, as a smoker, the only thing I have against Barack My-Middle-Name-Makes-Me-An-Elder-In-Somalia Obama's smoking is that he does not man up about it.

Not a big surprise. He does not man up about anything.

(6) Mike Thomas made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 11:24:44 AM | Permalink

online punditry over whether McCain did or didn't include a one-sentence tribute to Hillary Clinton's perspicacity in a speech last week

No, the punditry is not over whether or not he said it. That much is evident in the video. The question is why is McCain now denying it.

But let me apologize for breaking the commenting rules here. I will make a note for myself for future reference: Bashing Obama = OK; Bashing McCain = Off Topic.

(7) Neo made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 11:25:58 AM | Permalink

So I guess we won't be hearing about Al Gore's sister at the Denver convention.

(8) Beldar made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 11:41:25 AM | Permalink

Mike: I know that you're bright enough to figure out what the topic of any given post is. Stay reasonably on-topic, and quit being an ass, if you want to continue to comment here.

If you can't abide by that restriction, find another place to express your views. You can start your own blog, whatever. But don't be a troll, parachuting into my posts with links to irrelevant subjects, and expect not to be called on it. Last warning.

(9) Mike Thomas made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 12:54:03 PM | Permalink

Once again, and more sincerely this time, I apologize.
It is not my intention to be a troll.

(10) Beldar made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 1:42:56 PM | Permalink

Apology accepted without reservation. Mike, I actually do relish opposing views, partly because I enjoy arguing, but partly because they sometimes help me re-think my own. Yours on previous posts have been very welcome, as will be yours on later ones.

(11) DRJ made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 2:16:00 PM | Permalink

Barack Obama seems too good to be true: He grew up the obedient and likeable child of a non-conformist mother. He was an exemplary student at prestigious Ivy League schools and the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community activist and became a successful politician at a young age. He is a committed husband and father.

Today's society expects people, especially young people, to be perfect. I think that's why so many young people admit they lie and cheat to get ahead. As a result, it doesn't surprise me that Obama lies to hide what seems like a small personal flaw. It's not a small flaw if your standard is perfection.

Thus, I can understand why he lies and I also know honesty isn't as important today as it was in earlier times. Nevertheless, I still worry about electing a politician who feels like he can't reveal any flaws. That will inevitably lead to lie, after lie, after lie - until the lies are so big they can swallow you. Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton could write books on the subject.

(12) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 5:24:10 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: I'm on the other side of the fence, and for once the grass where you are standing doesn't look greener...First, let me say I have never smoked, so my knowledge of cigarette cravings is strictly intellectual. But there are many others who know such cravings viscerally. Having it come out that Obama is lying about his quitting isn't going to hurt him. Too many people know how rough quitting is for these charges to count for much. Don't believe me? See Billyboy and his sordid carryings on in the Oval Office. This was not just a window but a panorama into the sewer that is Billyboy's soul. What happened? Did the voters shy away in horror and vote GOP in 1998? Ha. My objection to your cigarette story is pure tactics, pragmatisim at its possible best or worst. These sorts of personal failings do not carry enough weight with enough people to carry an election.

There's another pragmatic reason for abandoning this attempt at truth-telling: the glass house McC lives in. Suppose Obama tells this story to Chris Matthews and His Tingling Leg:

"We all honor McC for his great service as a POW, where he resisted terrible pressures. But he's a poor candidate for President, because he didn't get the psychological treatment he needed. Once home, he snapped, figuring he had taken enough over there and it was time he got paid back for all his sufferings. He started cheating on his wife, then ran out on here and his kids, then mardried a trophy wife 18 years younger than she is who was heiress to a barrel of money, and hasn't released but one year of her tax returns, showing she made six million bucks, my my. Course McC kept his self respoect by ghostwriting all these books, cashing in on his noble suffering in Vietnam, that terrible war of Nixon's...

Think that won't be effective with a sizable number of people? Exempli gratia, look to your left. There is Mr. Thomas, who, having heard this slam at McC, is straining at his leash, eyes shiny, tongue hanging out, tail wagging at eighty miles an hour, baying to the heaven he likely does not believe in, in a state somewhere between religious ecstasy and a grand mal seizure. (See how easy it is to slam McC, Mike?) Such an attack will resonate with as many folks as the Obama-can't-quit-fondling-the-butts story. Personal behavior doesn't resonate the way it used to. If it did, McC's divorce would kill him.

A candidate's finances are another story. Like it or not Cindy McC is going to have to come clean about her millions and all the deals she's been involved in. The press will see to that. My bet is that while such an exposure will rub the shine off McC's common man shtick, it will hurt Obama more. The squalid deals with Rezko, his wife's near tripling of her annual salary to ~$300,000 from the University of Chicago Hospital once ol' Barack ascended to the Senate, the endless entanglement with sordid characters on the make, e.g. James Johnson and His Sweetheart Countrywide Deals--all will bite him. Finances hit home more closely, particularly in these not-so-good times. I myself wish more people knew about the sweetheart deals Obama got on his books. To my astonishment, the 18 May New York TIMES has done so:


Wonders will never cease.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(13) hunter made the following comment | Jun 11, 2008 10:11:46 PM | Permalink

If it turns out Barack is trying to also manage a cocaine habit, the Obamatons will find something commendable and Presidential in that, as well.

(14) reader_iam made the following comment | Jun 12, 2008 3:12:47 AM | Permalink

I'm not going to say that there's **NOTHING** lamer (and less relevant) than focusing on whether a candidate has smoked, is a smoker, and--OhMiGosh, WorseThingInTheWorld!--might continue to be one. But to find such certainly qualifies as a challenge.

OTOH, I am going to say that it's easy as pie to evaluate this line of attack, to look at and evaluate it, and judge it as utterly trivial and silly. That's no challenge at all.

(15) reader_iam made the following comment | Jun 12, 2008 3:25:57 AM | Permalink

Why does the press continue to let him get away with that?

*coughcough*'cause it's trivial*coughcough*

Not an Obama follower, for the record; unless something changes, it's very, very likely that I'll be either 1) writing in a candidate or 2) 'flicking the lever' for McCain.

That said, I stand firmly by my point.

(16) HardHeadedWoman made the following comment | Jun 12, 2008 10:50:23 AM | Permalink

He may never give up Nicorette. I have a friend who quit smoking about three years ago and who is constantly chewing nicotine gum. And he isn't the only person I know who seems to remain addicted to nicotine long after they have stopped smoking.

(17) Beldar made the following comment | Jun 12, 2008 1:31:09 PM | Permalink

If it's so trivial, then why does lie, and why does he go to such lengths to conceal his lies?

If it's so trivial, why doesn't he just admit it?

Suppose he said: "I'm still a smoker, and I'm happy to be a smoker, and for now, I'm not going to continue trying to quit." Some significant number of Americans would be shocked and dismayed. It would cost him votes.

But suppose he said: "I'd like to quit, and I'm going to continue to try to quit, but for now, I've been unsuccessful in quitting. And to tell you the truth, during the stress of the campaign is probably an unrealistic time to expect to have success, so one way or another, it's likely to be after January 2009." That would be truthful, and then, I would agree, it would also be trivial.

(18) Donna B. made the following comment | Jun 13, 2008 2:00:38 AM | Permalink

Wow. So he smokes. Big deal. Sure it would be great if he quits, but if everything said about the horrors of smoking are true, I think it best he continues.

Perhaps he should up it 1/2 pack a day. He can only be president for 8 years and it's unlikely at his age that smoking has damaged him greatly.

Considering the cost of Secret Service protection, paid office and staff, pension, and other benefits ex-presidents and their families get, shortening his life (if he's elected) would be financially good for the country.

If only Carter had been a smoker.

I do not want a "perfect" person to be president. Darnit, I can't stand "perfect" people. They are the embodiment of every Puritan (somewhat mythical) standard.

If Obama comes clean with the smoking thing, it will be the only thing I might find that actually qualifies him to be president.

(19) davod made the following comment | Jun 13, 2008 5:36:33 AM | Permalink

Everyone puts words in the great man's mouth. Why?

(20) stan made the following comment | Jun 13, 2008 11:34:50 AM | Permalink

Speaking of lies, should the swift boat vets sue Michael Kinsley for defamation? link

[Stan, that's way off-topic. But I'm arguing with James Joyner about it now over at his blog, and I may post about Kinsley's argument here later. — Beldar.]

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