Monday, May 31, 2010

Rand Paul’s Race to Lose

Kentucky’s Senate race is the race to watch this fall. Rand Paul is currently polling six points ahead of Democratic challenger Jack Conway. It appears to be Paul’s race to lose. Can the controversial Republican with strong libertarian leanings keep his lead?

Rand Paul has been busy since winning the Republican primary. His appearance on Rachel Maddow’s show the day after his win caused a round of controversy. His libertarian defense of private property rights when asked about the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on discrimination in private businesses was immediately seized on by liberal opponents to paint him as a fringe candidate. Paul immediately clarified his position that he did support the Civil Rights Act. Was anyone really worried that he’d want to revisit this issue once elected? Rand’s small government beliefs simply limit the government’s reach to the public arena, even if that means private property owners may choose to discriminate.

Following on the heels of the Civil Rights debacle, in a recent interview, Paul told a Russian television station that he was opposed to automatic citizenship for children born in this country to illegal aliens. Paul argues that we are the only country that guarantees citizenship to those born in this country and that this must stop. This stance is coupled with support of legalized guest worker status that is in line with his libertarian principles. Illegal immigration is a topic no one seems to want to address and Paul’s positions are practical offerings that would reduce the motivation to enter this country illegally.

Rand Paul is a different kind of Republican. He doesn’t just give lip service to small government principles, he stands behind them even in the face of controversy. It remains to be seen if the people of Kentucky really want limited government or if they were just following the Tea Party trend. The 2010 elections will tell the truth about people’s support of small government and Rand Paul’s fate will be a bellwether for 2012.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Streetcar Undesired

After Issue 9 failed last November and voters failed to throw a roadblock in the path of Mayor Mallory's pet project, it looked like smoother sailing for the Cincinnati Streetcar project. However, obstacles still remain in the form of funding and public support.

Funding arrived to the tune of $86 million (including $64 million in bonds to be issued by the City) of the $128 million needed for the project. Mallory and Streetcar supporters hope that the issuance of the bond by the City will prompt the federal government to add to that total. Rather than condition the issuance of the bonds on the receipt of federal funding, City Council choose to dive in, hoping that the federal government will reward the risk.

Mallory continues to tout the Streetcar as the potential savior of the City, however his praise seems to have fallen on deaf ears. In a recent Cincinnati Enquirer poll 48% of participants thought the project was a waste of taxpayer money, while 20% felt it was risky. Only 24% supported the Mayor's view that the Streetcar would revitalize the City's core. The people aren't dancing to Mallory's tune.

The Cincinnati Streetcar is just another example of big government waste. While Issue 9 was overly broad, it's failure didn't indicate support of the Streetcar. Between the need for the City to borrow funds and the lack of public support, the Streetcar is a project that should be scrapped before we end up with another debacle like the Cincinnati Subway.