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Stogie News: Obama Picks Anti-Tobacco Governor for HHS

4 Mar 2009

President Obama this week named Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as his choice to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was picked after the president’s original nominee, former Senator Tom Daschle, withdrew his nomination after it was revealed that he failed to pay over $120,00 in taxes.

govkathleensebeliusphotoSebelius has a record for pushing both smoking bans and tobacco tax hikes and, while neither has gone into effect yet in Kansas, her attempts to impose a draconian statewide smoking ban are ongoing. The proposed smoking ban would include all bars and restaurants, and also restrict smoking outside near doors, windows, or “air intakes.”

In an editorial interview with the Wichita Eagle, Sebelius praised smoking bans and tobacco taxes, saying they “absolutely cost nothing.” She clearly fails to recognize the heavy burden of tobacco taxes, especially on lower income citizens, and she also ignores the infringements on personal choice and property rights that result from smoking bans. She called tobacco taxes “win-win” in the same interview and criticized efforts to add exemptions to the proposed smoking ban.

Statements like those have drawn fire from cigar choice advocates like Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. “Based on impartial data generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve Bank has found that significant employment declines result from forced smoking bans, especially in bars and restaurants,” he said. “That means businesses die, workers lose their jobs, and the state and nation lose federal, state, and local tax revenues.”

McCalla went on to say that the constitutional rights of business owners are at stake when governments impose smoking bans on private property. “The marketplace has been very effective deciding which businesses elect to allow smoking or not. That’s as it should be: up to the individual business owner. For government to control private businesses is depriving citizens of the rights given to them by the U.S. Constitution.”

If confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services, Sebelius would be in a position to oversee national health policy and impose her anti-tobacco positions on the entire country.

Patrick S

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

12 Responses to “Stogie News: Obama Picks Anti-Tobacco Governor for HHS”

  1. Kevin D. Korenthal Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    This surprises you? The Obama administration is made up entirely of corrupt special interest group nanny state tax dodgers whose vision for America can best be described as the vision of Che Guevara. Time to get off the fence politically guys. Democrats are bad for smokers, bad for free expression and just plain bad for America.

  2. Mike Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    Any HHS secretary, reagrdless of who controls the White House, is going too be anti tobacco. That's not surprising. And after SCHIP, the govt will not be raising federal tobacco taxes for a while.

    And I'd add that neither the smoking ban nor the tobacco tax hike passed in Kansas.

  3. Franky SG Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    Kevin: I'll agree with your general premise that "liberals" (in the American sense) are bad for liberrty. No argument there. But, as the Stogie Guys wrote way back in 2006, the anti-smoking effort is a lot more bi-partisan than you might think.

    Mike: While HHS can be construed as an anti-tobacco department, Sebelius' appointment is newsworthy because of how radical she is. Her tax and ban may not have passed yet in Kansas, but that's certainly not because she hasn't been trying.

  4. Mac and Nudo Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    Liberals are bad for liberty. Conservatives are bad for liberty. Fuck, let's just make the scope of government a whole lot smaller to advance freedom (which in turn will improve cigar rights).

    Who's with me?

  5. Archr5 Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    Government is bad for America, regardless of party or ideology.

    Completely agree with Mac and Nudo.

  6. George E. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Hey, if the agree with Che Guevara we're in for a great time. Che was such a cigar devotee that he insisted they be given to fighters during the Cuban revolution. As I often say, the love of cigars is the most nonpartisan belief imaginable. After all, what other topic can you name that both Che and Rush Limbaugh agree on?

  7. dmjones Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 4:16 am #

    I disagree with Mac and Nudo that "Conservatives are bad for liberty." The underlying assumption here is that you have experienced a conservative. For those who haven't figured it out, George W. Bush was NOT a conservative. He was conservative on some issues, but overall he was quite moderate and fell on the leftist side of several issues. John McCain: not a conservative. George H.W. Bush: not a conservative. In fact, the last real conservative (and the last real man) to inhabit the White House would be Ronald Reagan, and he was not as conservative on every issue as some of us would like.

    Mac, you sound like you are espousing the libertarian philosophy. I would argue that conservatism and libertarianism are very closely related. I define myself (to borrow a term from Larry Elder) a "Republitarian": I am a registered Republican with very libertarian views. I do this because the Libertarian Party is an even bigger waste of time than the Republican Party is usually.

    And to quote Rush Limbaugh: "I hope Obama fails." Those who listened in the campaign knew what Obama real agenda was. If you looked at his actual voting record in Illinois and in the Senate; if you looked at the beliefs he and those surrounding him espoused (Rev. Wright, Saul Alinsky, William Ayers) then you didn't really have to pay attention to what he was saying during the campaign–you could have accurate guessed what he would actually do! Now that he's in there, people are acting surprised at how much he's spending and ignorant that he would do this. His agenda is to radically re-cast this country in a leftist image with people like George Soros advising and people like Sebelius and Eric Holder doing the wet-work. I definitely want that plan to fail.

  8. Kevin D. Korenthal Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 10:42 am #

    Hi Guys, meant o chime back in earlier but have been doing my civic duty being on a jury.

    In the meantime dmjones (previous post) chimed in and said everything I wanted to say. I would only add that the level of expansion of the size and power of government will, I think, eclipse that which President Bush (either of them) would have approved had he continued to serve in that role. Obama's vision for America is a country run by bureaucrats that have authorization to control even the most mundane aspects of American life. Liberals believe that you are incapable of making good decisions for yourself and your family which is the crux of the ban on smoking and the proposed bans on fast food joints (we actually have them here in Los Angeles.

  9. dmjones Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Listen to to Kevin. I lived in the LA area until about 2 months ago and the health-Nazis out there are ridiculous. They say "As California goes, so goes the nation" (or something like that); beware if that ever happens, though, as you can see that CA has gone ever deeper into the crapper under liberal control (20 years and running that the libs have pretty much run the entire show, despite the spineless Republicrat who is currently governor).

  10. stinkie Friday, March 6, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    What a surprise…

  11. Kevin D. Korenthal Friday, March 6, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    The LA City Council has actually enacted an ordinance in downtown Los Angeles that stipulated that only healthy restaurants would be allowed in certain parts of the city. I assume (but it is unclear) that that means no to McD's and Fosters Freeze but yes to El Pollo Loco and Subway. But then again, it could just mean no to the franchisee that doesn't have the "green" to grease the skids of City Hall.

  12. Patrick M Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    I agree with most of the stuff stated in the creed that Glen Beck posted on before he left.

    Read it and think about the changes going on this country right now, almost polar opposites.