Why We Are Bringing “Smoking Politics” Back

Five years ago, we started writing blog posts together. While we each have our own interests, we share perhaps a perverse fascination with the corporate/conservative movement right, the ways they communicate and their ability to communicate without conscience or concern for facts and sheer hypocrisy. It is often an unrecognized theme in American Politics, the simple fact that the right doesn’t even concern itself with simple facts and the effect that has on our discourse and ability to solve problems. It is all just propaganda – saying whatever they need to say to gain power.

As part of our work together in 2006 and 2007, and especially with James’s Kerry Campaign experience and our work together on “The Patriot Project,” a project funded by John Kerry and run by James in 2006 which helped defend among others Joe Sestak, John Murtha and Patrick Murphy from smears on their service records, we saw more and more how pervasive this strategy of factual ignorance was becoming common place. As we looked into where it came from – the smears, the phrasings, the tricks, the front groups, the consultants, the “institutes-for-money,” the media machine, the echo chamber, the money, the money, the money — we discovered that many of the right’s consultant heroes, Rove, Atwater, etc. had started out in tobacco marketing. We discovered that many of the right’s “think tanks” and front groups and various other organizations had started out fronting for tobacco interests.

That clicked for us, on two primary levels.

First, people who do tobacco advertising and marketing are purely in it for the money. It is a financial transaction, nothing more, nothing less. You pay me and I will help you sell your product. This is also how the right operates politically. People on the left, we believe, actually believe in what they are selling, The right is just selling, for money, and those providing the money just want power. It’s just business.

Second, if you can sell cigarettes based upon making them the symbol of clean healthy living (Marlboro Country) or the claim that more doctors smoke them (Camels), then the minor inconvenience of an economic fact or global warming, well, that’s nothing folks. And by the way, did you know that the oil industry hired the same tobacco lobbyists that created tobacco denial to create the ‘manufactroversy’ of global warming. “It’s not proven science.” “Scientists disagree.”

So, after a bit of a hiatus we’re bring back www.smokingpolitics.com. If anything, the right has gone FURTHER with this strategy and it’s working better than ever. (See decline of support for climate change legislation.)

Our role, our vision is to help shine the spotlight on how the right does this, how they operate, because it’s important that when we are talking jobs, tax cuts, global warming, Herman Cain etc, someone is standing up and pointing out how they are attacking.

So please follow us AND

if you have a post that deals with this, with front groups, etc., please please let us now and we’ll feature it.


Dave Johnson and James Boyce

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One Response to Why We Are Bringing “Smoking Politics” Back

  1. Hi Dave & James,

    Your rational for starting to smoke again is spot on. There is a recent book (2010) titled Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Ogresses( Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography) and Erik M. Conway (a historian of science currently employed by the California Institute of Technology).
    Their story goes from tobacco to acid rain, the ozone hole, secondhand smoke, global warming, and finally revisionist attacks on Rachel Carson. And yes, the tobacco strategy of “scientific doubts must remain” is still with us and still confusing the gullible, ill informed, and/or greedy.
    Please keep up the good work. I will follow what you have to say and keep in touch.

    Take care,

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