H/T Tony in the comments for this Herman Cain campaign ad featuring his chief of staff Mark Block pulling on a cigarette after calling on Americans to put the “united” back into the United States, and “take this country back.”
Herman Cain has just become my favourite Republican candidate, I think. I can really connect to this.
The Telegraph analyses it:
The moustache and the cigarette give form to an expression that the parents of any 14-year-old will recognize: look at me break the rules…
American politics as a whole is probably no more or less serious than at many other times, or in many other countries. But the Cain video serves as an announcement that a new era has fully arrived, and that there’s whole ‘nother conversation going on. Pay attention.
Cain seems to have been a long-time campaigner against smoking bans:
From 1996, when he left the pizza company, until 1999, Mr. Cain ran the National Restaurant Association, a once-sleepy trade group that he transformed into a lobbying powerhouse. He allied himself closely with cigarette makers fighting restaurant smoking bans, spoke out against lowering blood-alcohol limits as a way to prevent drunken driving, fought an increase in the minimum wage and opposed a patients’ bill of rights — all in keeping with the interests of the industry he represented….
Under Mr. Cain’s leadership, the restaurant association opposed higher taxes on cigarettes and the use of federal money to prosecute cigarette makers for fraud — positions that Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said had little to do with the restaurant business.
And Mr. Cain argued vociferously that the decision about whether to go smoke-free was the province of individual restaurant owners, not the government. “The restaurant industry literally became the alter ego of the tobacco industry during that period of time,” Mr. Myers said in an interview.
I guess that what’s interesting to me is that at last here’s a politician who has come out in favour of tobacco, and is completely up front about it, and is using it in his campaign pitch. Looks like he’s realised that the 20% or so of Americans who smoke can cast one helluva lot of votes.
I can’t think of any other major politician who’s doing this. Not on this side of the pond, leastways. David Cameron and Nick Clegg won’t even contemplate any discussion of the matter, and have both (pretended to) stopped smoking. Same with Obama.
But an ad like this may serve to help break the antismoking spell. And since here in the UK we tend to slavishly copy whatever comes over from America, perhaps soon we’ll be seeing Ed Miliband puffing on a Marlboro (and coughing and spluttering)? Well, probably not.
Sarah Palin on Cain (youtube).
Herman Cain singing Imagine There’s No Pizza (youtube).