29 Oct 2008
There are, of course, many issues at stake in the election, and we probably won’t be voting solely on cigar-related policies. But that doesn’t mean cigar issues aren’t an important factor in who gets our vote. So here’s our take on who we think cigar smokers can trust to defend their rights.
As detailed in Monday’s article on Obama and McCain, neither candidate offers a particularly impressive agenda. When push comes to shove, we suppose McCain is marginally better on cigar issues as a whole, but not in a particularly meaningful way.
Not to mention that his record suggests he is likely to flip-flop on tobacco issues (after all, he spent a decade trying to jack up taxes on cigarettes before only recently opposing such a hike). So while the pragmatist in us says a begrudging vote for McCain, the idealist says there must be a better choice. And there is.
Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr agrees with us on every important issue: taxes, regulation, smoking bans, trade, and Cuban sanctions. His position can be summed up with this quote: “Washington should leave smokers and other tobacco users alone.” Here, here!
And he’s a cigar smoker too, even talking about smoking cigars with Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report. All that makes it a real shame that he hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected. Still, maybe a vote for Barr would help send a message that we smokers are tired of being mistreated by Washington.
But, in our opinion, far more important than who you support for president is who you support in your state and local races. These elections are easier for individual voters to impact, and this is the level where smoking bans are being passed at an alarming rate. By researching which candidates are for or against smoking bans and then getting involved, you can be an important factor.
Tell your cigar smoking friends which candidate is an ally of smokers’ rights and which is an enemy. Also, call up the campaigns to thank the good ones, as well as let the bad ones know that the smoking issue is why you won’t be supporting them. We suggest you do this year-round but, not surprisingly, politicians are likely to be most responsive to the views of their constituents just before an election.
Be your vote national or local in scope, we encourage you—our cigar smoking brethren—to put in a little effort and make sure your voice is heard. Only then can we expect the loathsome, self-interested politicians and bureaucrats at the federal, state, and local levels to heed our warning to respect our rights.
photo credit: BobBarr2008