This is weird:
Second, what is with Cain’s creepy smile at the end? That’s your best take? Really?
And C, why does Block have that fag in his mouth?¬†AFP’s been underwritten by the tobacco industry before, so that’s probably why.
Guys like Block & Cain — people with tobacco industry connections — don’t just make a campaign video that features a guys smoking without considering those connections. It’s not a flippant decision.¬†Cain himself has lobbied hard for tobacco, according to the NYT:
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.
The restaurant association relied heavily on R. J. Reynolds for financial support, records show. Mr. Meyne, the Reynolds senior director of public affairs, served on the restaurant group’s board, and Mr. Cain served on the board of Nabisco, which had earlier merged with Reynolds.
In a 1999 memorandum, Mr. Meyne wrote that in previous years his company had given the trade group “as much as nearly $100,000 in cash and much more in in-kind support,” adding, “They have done virtually everything we’ve ever asked, and even appointed us to their board.
Naturally, I have no proof that the smoking shot is Block’s half of a campaign donation/personal payoff quid pro quo with big tobacco, but call it women’s intuition: AFP, Cain, Block et al got paid, for that puff. If they didn’t, they missed an obvious opportunity to do so.
UPDATE: Jim Newell at Gawker thinks I’m guilty of “concern trolling” and that I’m to be counted among “a whole class of reporters and writers who apparently have never once seen someone smoking a cigarette.” I’ve actually seen people doing this…in the mirror. And when I ran for Congress, I smoked in my campaign ads, too. Oh, wait, I didn’t because I’m not a) a fucking idiot and b) a tobacco lobbyist.
Block says the ad was “Just Block be[ing] Block.” ¬†And that he “personally would encourage people not to smoke. It’s just that [he's] a smoker.” I imagine Block takes a shit every day, too, so why not just film him on the toilet, wiping his hairy, libertarian asshole with some Koch-made Georgia Pacific double-ply? It would just be Block being Block.
But at least Gawker’s¬†straightened¬†me out on this — because if a professional tobacco lobbyist & AFP liar like Block says there’s nothing to the ad, then there’s probably nothing to the ad. He and Cain have been paid by the tobacco industry before, and they likely will again, but this one’s probably a freebie.
Thanks, Gawker! Your too-cool-for-practical-analysis-of-a-political-anomaly-perpetrated-by-a-guy-with-ties-to-the-tobacco-industry attitude is what good reporting is all about!