If you listen to the number of times that Hitler and the Nazis are mentioned in American politics, then you might think they won World War II. Seventy years after Nazism was vanquished, it is everyone’s favorite bogeyman.
John Raese, who is running for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in West Virginia, criticized smoking bans “as a loss of freedom.” In Raese’s mind, the right to light up and puff smoke bests the freedom to breathe fresh, clean air. Raese went onto compare no smoking stickers to Hitler’s edict requiring Jews to wear the Star of David. Now there’s a definition for hyperbole if there ever was one. When the laws require smokers to wear images of cigarette butts, then I’ll bite into Raese’s comparison. In the meantime, comparing the victims of Auschwitz and the like to laws supporting clean, healthy air is an insult to the innocent who died at the hands of one of history’s great tyrants.
If smoking was simply an annoyance instead of a horrible health hazard as second-hand smoke, Raese would have a point pushing for his version of freedom. Raese even sounds good for what he has to say:
“I believe in everybody’s individual freedoms and everybody’s individual rights to do what they want to do.”
Who can disagree with that? Apparently, Raese doesn’t believe it himself.
If Raese was in favor of marijuana smoking or gay marriage, then he could at least claim a consistency in backing individual rights. Raese supports mandatory sentences for illegal drugs and wants a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. So much for all that talk about freedom.
Raese has become something of a perennial candidate as this is his fourth attempt for the Senate. It’s not in the video, but Raese referred to FDR as “Fidel Roosevelt” at the same meeting.