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Mark Block Smoking a Cigarette in Herman Cain Campaign Ad: Why?

By now, you must have heard about the campaign ad ran by Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain, featuring his chief of staff Mark Block. He says all these nice things about Herman, how American has never has a candidate like Herman Cain, et cetera, et cetera, and concludes by taking a big puff from a cigarette. If you’ve not seen the ad, check it out. It’s pretty funny, and Mark Block looks the part of a long term smoker, which I suspect he is.

As you can see on YouTube, the video isn’t exactly getting rave reviews. A quick, informal look over the comments seem to suggest direct hatred, or at least dislike for Herman Cain, and a significant number comment of the fact that he’s smoking a cigarette, in a mostly negative way.

In an age where smokers are vilified like the Anti-Christ, sometimes literally, and in which there freedoms are taken away one by one, why would anyone run a campaign ad, for the Republican nomination no less, featuring a big ol’ nasty smoker, doing what he loves best, which we’ll assume is smoking (and politics)?

Two possibilities: the first is that he thought that it would look real cool and make Mark Block look like a real tough guy, which is not the point of commercials. The second one is to get people talking, which I think is much more likely. Smoking cigarettes, while considered evil, bad, and demonized at every turn, remains a minor violation of etiquette, or proper savoir-vivre, for lack of a better term (of which there are none).

I write a smoking blog, for heaven’s sake, and talk about which celebrity has been caught with there (figurative) pants down, smoking cigarettes! I don’t write about politics (even though I should)! Yet here I am, writing about Herman Cain, his chief of staff, and … dare I say it… his 9-9-9 plan, which may or may not work, but let’s face it, the US is so deep in the hole that it’s time to try something new. Even if it doesn’t work, it can’t be worse than the rate at which your President is, seemingly purposefully, driving your country off a cliff. Or at least that’s what it looks like from the outside looking in.