Republican businessman John Raese, who is running yet again for the Senate from West Virginia, has now stepped up the tea party-style rhetoric: comparing no-smoking signs to the Star of David patches that Jews were forced to wear on their clothes in Nazi Germany.
While he was at it, Raese went further back in time and compared President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Cuban strongman Fidel Castro.
Raese is seeking a rematch with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who won the special election to replace the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd. Manchin defeated Raese 54 percent to 43 percent in the middle of the 2010 GOP wave, in a Republican-trending state. Raese has previously run for Senate in 1984, and came close that time around, followed by unsuccessful runs for governor in 1988, Senate in 2006 and again in 2010, making this year’s race his fifth bid for office.
Raese spoke recently at the Putnam County GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner.
“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, and you can’t smoke a cigar, you can’t do anything,” Raese said.
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 that 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.
Raese continued: “You remember the NRA — not the National Rifle Association, but the National Recovery Act, when General Roosevelt [sic] was in charge of the presidency at the time? It was so unconstitutional, and so many regulations, that he made you put an ‘NRA’ sticker on your building, so you applied — or complied, with these regulations. That was Fidel Roosevelt.”
Roosevelt was not a military veteran, and never had the rank of general.