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In 1995, former Tobacco Institute lobbyist, Victor Crawford, was interviewed on CBS-TV 60 Minutes, admitting that he did whatever it took to defeat legislative smoke-free air efforts, even if it meant lying, as long as he wasn’t under oath. He said he did this because his job was to win, in which he was very successful. Crawford said that he had coined the phrase “health Nazis” to attack his opponents, and frame them as over-the-top zealots taking away people’s basic freedoms.
The tactic hasn’t gone out of fashion, as evidenced by freedom-loving West Virginia U.S. Senate candidate, John Raese, running in this year’s election. A video of an April 12 appearance posted on Youtube shows the Morgantown Republican criticizing his home county’s indoor smoke-free air law. He said requiring stickers on buildings declaring them smoke-free is comparable to how “Hitler used to put a Star of David on everybody’s lapel.”
An Associated Press story published April 19, 2012, in the Washington Post titled Raese slammed by Jewish human rights group for invoking Hitler in smoking ordinance comment, also noted:
The Wisenthal Center on Thursday said the remark betrays an ignorance of the horrors inflicted by the Nazis and demonstrates callousness to the millions of Jews they murdered.
The Morgantown Republican said he does not care about the reaction by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and defended his statement as “reciting history.” The state Democratic Party’s chairman also criticized the comment.
In my view, likening smoke-free air laws to the Nazi persecution of Jews is despicable.
Here’s a 1:09 minute YouTube video clip of John Raese which inckudes these remarks: