West Virginia Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate John Raese last Thursday told the audience at the Putnam County Lincoln Day dinner that no-smoking laws are the “same thing” as Adolph Hitler’s Jewish star mandate. Raese, who has already lost three Senate campaigns and one gubernatorial campaign, all in the Mountain State, is running against Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin.
“Referring to Monongalia County regulations on smoking, Raese equated them to one of Adolf Hitler’s most notorious policies,” Charles Mahtesian in a story at Politico reported, quoting Raese:
I don’t want government telling me what I can do and what I can’t do because I’m an American. But in Monongalia County you can’t smoke a cigarette, you can’t smoke a cigar, you can’t do anything. And I oppose that because I believe in everybody’s individual freedoms and everybody’s individual rights to do what they want to do and I’m a conservative and that’s the way that goes.
But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say this is a smoke free environment. This is brought to you by the government of Monongalia County. Ok?
Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing.”
The Politico story added:
In response to an inquiry about the Hitler analogy, Raese issued this statement.
“No, this is not a standard line, nor a misstatement. It is a loss of freedom,” Raese said. “As Ronald Reagan once said, there is no such thing as partial freedom, there is only freedom.”
The notes accompanying the YouTube video read:
An uncommonly rich free association takes us from cigars to “Fidel Roosevelt” via inappropriate holocaust metaphor, gratuitous reference to Raese’s own wealth, and creepy mocking of Latino accents.
One can only wonder what New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has championed smoking bans in restaurants and even city parks would say. One can imagine he would point to the dramatic decrease in smoking-related cancer.
A Star of David, often yellow-colored, was used by the Nazis during the Holocaust as a method of identifying Jews. After theGerman invasion of Poland in 1939 there were initially different local decrees forcing Jews to wear a distinct sign – in theGeneral Government e.g. a white armband with a blue Star of David on it, in the Warthegau a yellow badge in the form of a Star of David on the left side of the breast and on the back. If a Jew was found without wearing the star in public, they could be subjected to severe punishment. The requirement to wear the Star of David with the word Jude (German for Jew) inscribed was then extended to all Jews over the age of six in the Reich and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (by a decree issued on September 1, 1941 signed by Reinhard Heydrich) and was gradually introduced in other German-occupied areas.
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