West Virginia Republican Compares Anti-Smoking Laws To Nazi Persecution Of Jews

West Virginia Republican John Raese, who lost to Joe Manchin in 2010 and is looking to challenge him again this year, not only violated Godwin’s Law, he pretty much annihilated it:

A GOP U.S. Senate hopeful in West Virginia is comparing a local ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and hotels to the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews.

John Raese, who’s campaigning to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin this November, likened indoor air rules that took effect in Monongalia County last month to the yellow Star of David that Nazi Germany forced Jews to wear.

In all, 20 counties in West Virginia prohibit smoking in commercial establishments, WDTV-5 reported.

“But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say that this is a smoke-free environment,” Raese told an audience at the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Hurricane, W.Va. last week. “Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing.”

Yea, it’s exactly the same thing as murdering six million Jews. Except that it’s not.

Personally I’m against most of these anti-smoking laws that Raese is talking about. If a business owner wants to make their business smoke-free, or not, that ought to be their choice, and customers ought to be free to judge them accordingly. It really isn’t the government’s business. And don’t even get me started about the ridiculous laws that some cities have passed making it illegal to smoke outside in certain areas. But comparing those laws to the Holocaust? Insane.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Hyperbole is one thing, but this Raese character I believe just created a new word with that asinine comment of his: hystericalhyperboleasacynicalplaytothelowestcommondenominator.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    John Raese probably has “Tobacco Macht Frei” burned onto his front lawn.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    He wasnt far off at all. It was Hitler who created the first national smoking bans on earth.

    Heres a historical fact:

    “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
    (Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler; 1943)

    The Führer thanks you from the grave:

    Hitler was a Leftist
    Hitler’s Anti-Tobacco Campaign

    One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel — upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast — liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase “passive smoking” (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus (“Tobacco and the Organism”), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.


  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    So you can see todays anti-smoking nannies drew most of their present day anti-smoking laws straight from the nazis and their smoking bans. Even the term PASSIVE SMOKING was stolen in the new march to prohibition. To go one better and compare stars of david on jews to no smoking signs forced onto businesses by the government is a complete and accurate comaprison……..

    Now the same folks behind the smoking bans are after the fat folks…………….

    When you here the phrase first the came for the smokers and I did nothing was a saying that came from germany after the death camps of the jews were found……..Orwells 1984 has arrived!

    Its Obama and his crew of progressives financing the war on smokers:

    Since obviously you don’t realize what’s been happening, the CDC and other federal agencies have been dooling out grant money to city, county, and other local governments that adopt smoking bans, not to mention to anti-smoking coalitions who push for stricter smoking bans. It’s been happening in both the Saint Louis area, plus also in the Myrtle Beach area. I’ll note that these aren’t the only 2 areas of the country where these ban grants have been given to a smoking ban coalition.

    Articles proving it’s been happening(wasteful grant money being given to anti groups pushing for smoking bans, plus waving financial grants to communities that ultimately decide to ban smoking) in both parts of the country(grant money going to both Tobacco-Free Saint Louis in the Saint Louis area, and Smoke-Free Horry in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area) San Antonio got 14.7 million in stimulus grants for a smoking ban, Orlando fl, etc all across the nation money was diverted from jobs to a prohibition movement against smokers and the obese……. Eugenics is what its called and it was the same Eugenics that Hitler used that led to the FINAL SOLUTION!

    If you to brain dead to see the pathway that leads to this same thing occuring yet again,then only history will be left to repeat the same horrors of last century.


    Federal Government Continues Progress to Prevent Tobacco-Caused Disease While States Fall Tragically Short

    “President Obama’s administration has confronted the tobacco epidemic head-on,” said Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association president and CEO.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Will tomorros headline be:

    Mississippi Legislature
    2008 Regular Session
    House Bill 282
    House Calendar | Senate Calendar | Main Menu
    Additional Information | All Versions

    Current Bill Text: |

    Description: Food establishments; prohibit from serving food to any person who is obese.

    Background Information:
    Disposition: Active
    Deadline: General Bill/Constitutional Amendment
    Revenue: No
    Vote type required: Majority
    Effective date: July 1, 2008

    History of Actions:
    1 01/25 (H) Referred To Public Health and Human Services;Judiciary B

    —– Additional Information —–

    House Committee: Public Health and Human Services*, Judiciary B

    Principal Author: Mayhall
    Additional Authors: Read, Shows


  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    How far will you leaders allow this sort of thing to continue in America land of the former free!

    Will you wait until your bloated mother-inlaw gets cuffed and stuffed for being to fat to feed in a public restaraunt……….or perhaps when the storm troopers bust down your door for smoking a fine cigar in fron of your children,where by its deemed ”child abuse” and it has been called that by many so called progressives that just hate smokers period. Even the second hand smoke science is all a scam,made up junk science to justify smoking bans……..

    Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger

    Written By: Jerome Arnett, Jr., M.D.
    Published In: Environment & Climate News
    Publication Date: July 1, 2008




  7. legion says:

    @harleyrider1978: Wow. You, sir, are a terrible excuse for a human being. I mean, you fail at every single basic test for having a either a soul or a brain. What a sad, despicable creature.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    Got it, smoking tobacco is a patrotic act.
    Now get back to your Kool Aid.

  9. MM says:

    My understanding is that like Hitler, liberals breathe oxygen. A similarity which is never mentioned in the so-called objective media.

  10. Franklin says:

    This is definitely where Doug and I part ways on the level of governmental intervention we need in our lives. Before the ban in Michigan, I’m not aware of any restaurants that didn’t have a smoking “section” (as if smoke knows what section it’s supposed to stay in). Pure libertarianism just wasn’t practical in this case. I do agree that we’ve gone a bit overboard on the outside smoking zones, however.

  11. mantis says:

    So you can see todays anti-smoking nannies drew most of their present day anti-smoking laws straight from the nazis and their smoking bans.

    No, I can’t see that. Because it is crazy ass bullshit.

  12. Doubter4444 says:

    Wow – a threadjack!
    Right from the get go… I at first thought the guy was joking – then just realized that he was a super troll.
    Bummer – because what struck me about the post was the (the Godwin-ness aside) apparent irony-free thinking of a “small Business” Republican would rail against the LOCAL ordinances in place and espouse using the power of the State or Federal Government to supersede it.

    To me that’s the interesting part – another talking the talk, but not walking it.

  13. Franklin says:

    @Franklin: It actually just occurred to me that a more true libertarian response to smoking would be to sue smokers for air pollution. Problem solved!

  14. legion says:

    @MM: Curses! My insidious plot is undone!

  15. An Interested Party says:

    You ever notice that the posts involving Hitler and/or Nazis always seem to bring out the idiot fringe?

    He wasnt far off at all. It was Hitler who created the first national smoking bans on earth.

    Oh absolutely! Hitler was also human…I guess that makes all humans Nazis…

    Hitler was a Leftist

    Speaking of Godwin’s Law…

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    @mantis: @mantis:

    You really should go read the link,but Im afraid the simularities would destroy your precious myth that todays anti-smoking movement and hitlers were the exact same!

    In Nazi Germany, for instance, abstinence from tobacco was a “national socialist duty” (Hitler gave a gold watch to associates who quit the habit, though this didn’t stop them lighting up in the Berlin bunker once they heard the Fuhrer had committed suicide). Armed with such senior sanction — loyally, Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler banned SS men from smoking, though not shooting, on duty, and Propaganda Minister Joseph Gobbels was obliged to hide his ciggie whenever he was filmed — anti-tobacco activists succeeded in banning smoking from government offices, civic transport, university campuses, rest homes, post offices, many restaurants and bars, hospital grounds and workplaces. Tobacco taxes were raised, unsupervised cigarette vending machines were banned, and there were calls for a ban on smoking while driving.

    Thanks to the Ministry of Science and Education, and the Reich Health Office, posters were produced depicting smoking as the typically despicable habit of Jews, jazz musicians, Gypsies, Indians, homosexuals, blacks, communists, capitalists, cripples, intellectuals and harlots. Zealous lobbyists descended into the schools, terrifying children with tales of impotence and racial impurity.

    After the war Germany lost its position as home to the world’s most aggressive anti-tobacco science. Hitler was dead but also many of his anti-tobacco underlings either had lost their jobs or were otherwise silenced. Karl Aster, head of Jena’s Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research (and rector of the University of Jena and an officer in the SS), committed suicide in his office on the night of 3-4 April 1945.Reich Health Fuhrer Leonardo Conti, another anti-tobacco activist,committed suicide on 6 October 1945 in an allied prison while awaiting prosecution for his role in the euthanasia programme. Hans Reiter, the Reich Health Office president who once characterised nicotine as “the greatest enemy of the people’s health” and “the number one drag on the German economy”(27) was interned in an American prison camp for two years, after which he worked as a physician in a clinic in Kassel, never again returning to public service. Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel, the guiding light behind Thuringia’s antismoking campaign and the man who drafted the grant application for Astel’s anti-tobacco institute, was executed on 1 October 1946 for crimes against humanity. It is hardly surprising that much of the wind was taken out of the sails of Germany’s anti-tobacco movement.

  17. harleyrider1978 says:


    Denile/denial isnt just a river in Egypt!

    The bans are the same as the nazis right down to using passive smoking as a tool!

    You do realise SHS/ETS/PASSIVE SMOKE is 90% water and ordinary atmospheric air!


    In 1991 NIOSH { OSHA’ research group} Looked into ETS although at the time they recommended reducing ETS exposure they found the studies lacking.

    NIOSH recognizes that these recent epidemiological studies have several shortcomings: lack of objective measures for charachterizing and quantifying exposures,failures to adjust for all confounding variables,potential misclassification of ex-smokers as non-smokers,unavailability of comparison groups that have not been exposed to ETS, and low statistical power.

    Research is needed to investigate the following issues:

    1. More acurate quantification of the increased risk of lung cancer associated with ETS exposure,including determination of other contributing factors[e.g.,occupational exposures]that may accentuate the risk.

    2.Determination of the concentration and distributuion of ETS components in the workplace to help quantify the risk for the U.S. working population.

    a.The association of ETS exposure with cancer other than lung cancer
    b.The relationship between ETS exposure and cardiovascular disease
    c.The relationship between ETS exposure and nonmalignant resporatory diseases such asthma,bronchitis and emphysema, and
    the effects of ETS on lung function and respiratory systems
    c. Possible mechanisms of ETS damage to the cardiovascular system,such as platelet aggravation,increased COHb leading to oxygen depravation,or damage to endothelium
    d.Effects of workplace smoking restrictions on the ETS exposure of nonsmokersand ETS-related health effects in nonsmokers

    After ten years of no conclusive research and lack of studies that didn’t eliminate the bias OSHA decided that the studies did not have substance and here is there present policy.

    Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)

    Because the organic material in tobacco doesn’t burn completely, cigarette smoke contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds. Although OSHA has no regulation that addresses tobacco smoke as a whole, 29 CFR 1910.1000 Air contaminants, limits employee exposure to several of the main chemical components found in tobacco smoke. In normal situations, exposures would not exceed these permissible exposure limits (PELs), and, as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, OSHA will not apply the General Duty Clause to ETS.

  18. harleyrider1978 says:

    We’ve been told for years secondhand smoke is deadly dangerous but we are here alive and there are no deaths from it, not even close.

    It’s an exaggerated, created science all its own. It’s propaganda – fallacies created to have justifications for a new round of tobacco prohibition. I am for freedom, freedom for all people to have their own place in this world, including the smokers!

    Tobacco smoke maybe an irritant to some, but that’s about it. Its chemical makeup has been so exaggerated by tobacco control pundits, it’s insanity. Only 6 percent of tobacco smoke constitutes those 7,000 theorized and identified components of the smoke. Theorized is the word, since the claimed chemicals are themselves so small they can barely be detected. Nanograms, femtograms are the sizes of what can be detected so they theorize the rest. Four percent is carbon monoxide, while nearly 90 percent constitutes ordinary atmospheric air! These figures come from the surgeon general’s report in 1989.

    Oh the pundits may bring up benzene in tobacco smoke. The average cigarette produces roughly 300 micrograms of benzene (1986 report of the surgeon general. p.130) 0.3 micrograms – 300 nanograms.

    Benzene is normally found in fruits, fish, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, beverages and eggs. The National Cancer Institute estimates that an individual may safely ingest up to 250 micrograms in their food per day, every single day of the year.

    Thus, the “safe” exposure to benzene from one day of a normal diet is roughly equal to the exposure experienced by a nonsmoker sharing an airspace with smokers for over 750 hours.

    It’s a political movement and it was never about health.

  19. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Published In: Environment & Climate News

    Well that’s an impressively well-regarded medical journal for sure.

    consider this a rant fail. He’s not even amusing to read.

  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    Actually, there’s a germ of truth in the idiot’s ravings. Smokers — and others who engage in activities that shorten their expected lifespans — usually end up contributing far more to programs like Social Security and Medicare than they collect. Without them, we’d be insolvent a bit faster than even Obama’s doing to us.

  21. Mark says:

    “Personally I’m against most of these anti-smoking laws that Raese is talking about. If a business owner wants to make their business smoke-free, or not, that ought to be their choice, and customers ought to be free to judge them accordingly”

    Come on Doug. You know the anti-smoking laws aren’t targeted to just the customers but the employees as well. Shouldn’t employees have the right to work in a safe, smoke free environment?

  22. It really isn’t the government’s business.

    Public health is very much public business. Viz:

    Shouldn’t employees have the right to work in a safe, smoke free environment?

    You keep getting this idea that you have a monopoly on what liberty is Doug. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

  23. Eric Florack says:

    They came for the tobacco, but I said nothing because I’m not a smoker.

    Hmmm. Maybe not so insane, after all. The difference between them, after all, is a matter of degree only.

  24. An Interested Party says:

    They came for the tobacco, but I said nothing because I’m not a smoker.

    Hmmm. Maybe not so insane, after all. The difference between them, after all, is a matter of degree only.

    I suspect that you are probably so delusional that you don’t wonder why so many people don’t take you seriously…when you link yourself to the idiot fringe that has commented so far on this thread, even less people take you seriously…

  25. @Eric Florack: Why don’t you repeat that to these folks?

  26. harleyrider1978 says:

    @An Interested Party: I dont see you debating the subject at hand. You offer no fact based argument at all……….nothing just your opinion that nutcases are around. If your going to make claims as absurd as that please offer proof……..but since you have nothing to offer its likely you who is the nutcase knowing full well I have posted the truth and in a fact based way!

  27. An Interested Party says:

    You offer no fact based argument at all…

    And you do? Comparing current anti-smoking laws to Hitler and the Nazis? Please…

  28. harleyrider1978 says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Read the links and the posts………..The nazi smoking bans are identical to todays including taking passive smoking and using it for their own agenda!

  29. Eric Florack says:

    I suspect that you are probably so delusional that you don’t wonder why so many people don’t take you seriously…

    Now, I don’t wonder about you and all, having tag use several years ago. And Harley RIder has it right, BTW. Perhaps more centrally, however comes the idea that what we’re talking about is the intrusion of the government on personal rights. Granted that there is a difference between the government killing somebody because their of a particular cultural bent. But in both cases freedoms are being infringed upon. Again, a matter of degree. That kind of thinking is precisely why our founders decided on “that governs best which governs least.” (Thomas Paine as I believe )

    And No, AIP, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you understand none of it.