Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 :::

There are (at least) two candidates for the Republican nomination for Governor of New York (the primary is next month); somewhat curiously, one, Carl Paladino, has been widely associated with the Tea Party movement, while the other, Rick Lazio (whom you might remember from his Senate campaign against Hillary Clinton ten years ago) has the nomination of the Conservative Party (you can be nominated by more than one party in New York, in which case you are listed on multiple lines on the November ballot). This article about Paladino suggests that his impulses are a bit... well, impulsive for my taste.

I'm not automatically opposed to his proposal to convert underused state prisons into welfare-to-work camps. It's certainly outside the box (to use a phrase that is well within the box), but something like it could be worth considering. But the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle says he brought it up in response to a question they raised about how he planned to implement a promise to cut state spending by 20%. I don't know the state budget of New York, and I'm too lazy to look it up, but I would guess it's on the order of $100 billion to $150 billion, which means Paladino needs to cut $20-$30 billion. And if the state has a bunch of unproductive properties that can be made to serve its citizens, then, once the modification costs have been paid, this might save us - I'm guessing even more wildly here, and I should probably acknowledge that the last number I looked at was on my phone bill - $45 per month, plus taxes and surcharges. Perhaps Paladino has a good reason to project savings that are somewhat higher than that, but I doubt they would be a serious part of $20 billion per year; at any rate, an intensive welfare-to-work camp wouldn't strike me as a way to save money in the short term so much as, in the best case, a worthwhile investment. Combined with the idea of retraining prison guards as counselors, the whole thing seems a bit fanciful.

I've heard elsewhere that Paladino wants to use eminent domain to prevent the construction of a mosque/Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. A lot of people are uncomfortable with the deliberate siting of a mosque in that area, but most of the opinions I've seen opposing the project have emphasized that the Muslim group behind it does and should have the right to go forward with the project, even if they should be more considerate to others' sensitivities. The Tea Party is, of course, a diverse movement, but it's essentially a small-government movement, and I don't think eminent domain abuse fits very well within that rubric.

I will be voting in that primary, by the way, presumably for Lazio. I don't (yet) know the candidates in the other races. Where the Conservative Party has a nominee, I will probably vote for the Republicans to agree; I have been more pleased than I had expected before moving to New York by the Conservative Party's emphasis on the economic issues that most draw me toward them, and the fact that they endorsed Lazio and not Paladino gives me a positive impression of their willingness to tolerate moderation over nuttiness, even if the nuttiness is in some sense conservative nuttiness.

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::: posted by Steven at 11:00 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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