Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Right to the Point -- Soucheray and Pioneer Press get it right

Posted by Craig Westover | 9:05 AM |  

The new Pioneer Press Opinion Page feature “Right to the Point” highlights yet another little piece of liberal hypocrisy.
We were more than a little tickled by Joe Soucheray's Sunday column. He detailed how St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, champion of the smoking ban, was seen puffing on a big cigar at Stogies on Grand.

This all but guarantees his photo will be posted in the next edition of Webster's Dictionary, next to "oops." His picture will replace that of Dave Thune, the chain-smoking St. Paul City Council member who led the fight for a smoking ban before Coleman took office.

Don't get us wrong. We're defenders of the smoking ban for many of the same reasons that Coleman and Thune cite. But it's a wee bit disingenuous to make those public-health arguments and then be seen smoking in public.

Talk about a prime example of OK for me, but not for thee.
Kudos to the Pioneer Press for recognizing hypocrisy even when it’s from those on its side of the issue. Nonetheless, the paper misses the most telling hypocrisy.

Remember, the premise of the smoking ban was not to protect smokers from themselves, but to protect others from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke we were told. Therefore, when people like Coleman and Thune light up, because they KNOW secondhand smoke kills people and that no level of secondhand smoke is safe, they do so with absolute disdain and disregard for the safety of others. No excuse. Their habit, or in Coleman’s case simple desire for a good cigar, is more important to them than the lives of those around them.

Of course, that is an over stated exaggeration, but that is what they and ban supporters said in testimony before council, commission, and legislative committees. By their own definition, Thune and Coleman are killing others. And that others choose to be around them when they are smoking doesn't matter. Choice is not a consideration. Sorry, guys, can’t have it both ways.