C’mon. He’s in Europe, he was talking to an Italian, and his ’08 image abroad as a global savior has been blown to hell by six years of foreign-policy drift. The guy had to do something to restore a little cool.

Yesterday he had a beer at 11 a.m. By the end of the year, he’ll be puttering around the White House unshaven in pajamas at three in the afternoon, muttering about “red lines” between swigs from a bottle of Jack.

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Remind me again why he needs to pretend that he quit smoking. I know Michelle doesn’t like it, but she’ll learn to cope with her husband sneaking a puff now and then to take the edge off of having the most stressful job in the world. Is it more of an image thing for him? President Spock, the picture of self-composure, isn’t supposed to have minor personal vices like normal humans. The Syria red line is one thing, the Marlboro red line is quite another. Or maybe this is more of an ideological matter where he feels he can’t indulge in a deeply unhealthy habit while Democrats drone on about obesity and Big Gulps and nutritious school lunches. He’s the de facto Pope of public health and here he is being caught with the equivalent of a pentagram. How can we expect our children to choke down their bowls of wheat germ and broccoli at noon in the cafeteria if the president’s chain-smoking his way through the national security briefing?

First this, then Robert Gibbs signs on as global spokesman for McDonald’s. At the rate we’re going in the famously health-conscious Obama White House, Michelle’s going to end up as president of Coca-Cola. Exit quotation from Cuffy Meigs: