Thursday, November 07, 2002

Missouri voters rejected a huge tax on ciggarettes on Tuesday. I'm glad.

To dispense with one of the arguments against, I don't buy the whole "persecuted smoker" thing. Smokers engage in a disgusting activity, routinely litter everyplace they go, and at the least make it unpleasant to breathe and at worst cause helath problems for others. So my sympathy for smokers is limited at best.

Still, there was a mean-spiritedness to the campaign for this amendment. There was an ad running that flatly said that those who oppose the amendment "don't care" about the illnesses smoking causes.. They made it seem that opposing this bill was tnatamount to doing nothing while your teenage child started smoking. That didn't impress me.

Second, and this was not something they advertised, these funds could be a back door around the ban against using state funds for organizations that perform abortions. Since these wouldn't be regular apporpriations, they aren't subject to the ban.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't mention this concern in its write-up, but of course it assumes that everyone's pro-choice anyway. It makes excuses about the lack of time and a vague "voter mistrust." Never mind that supporters spent about 40 times as much as opposers. The Post-Dispatch makes it seem like those in favor of the proposition were the plucky underdogs fighting impossible odds.

Here's a question -- wouldn't the $4 million spent supporting this campaign been better spent on supporting the health care issues these supporters claim to care so much about?
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