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Take two tranquilizers and call after November

By Michael R. Shannon
web posted September 20, 2010

Democrats have inadvertently stumbled across a sure–fire method of depressing Republican turnout in November: put House Minority Leader John Boehner (R–OH) on TV discussing how he intends to vote on taxes.

Heretofore the Dems had been in a panic because their base is in a coma, while GOP supporters are so fired up about voting they’re willing to visit an ACORN office to register.

Then Boehner said that while he thinks it’s a bad idea to raise anyone’s taxes during a recession, he’s willing to vote for Obama’s plan to raise taxes if that’s “the only option I have.”

I can’t wait for Rep. Boehner to apply his nuanced voting philosophy to the question of Obamacare repeal: “I believe Obamacare should be repealed, but in the meantime, if the President twists my arm, I’ll vote for the new, improved Obamacare that urges doctors to greet patients by their first name and requires credit card companies to give frequent flyer miles for purchases of mandatory health insurance.”

Someone needs to tell the esteemed member that the TEA party also stands for Temporized Enough Already. People are tired of wishy–washy pols afraid of their own electoral shadow.

Unfortunately, this splitting–the–baby philosophy is not confined to Washington.

Here in Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, to his credit, decided the Commonwealth has no business selling booze and we wants to privatize state–owned ABC liquor stores. His problem is General Assembly appropriators are crack addicts. Make that they have a crack–like addiction to the revenue the state gets from booze.

McDonnell’s solution to this conundrum is Obamacare marinated in corn squeezins.

McDonnell promises privatization of John Barleycorn will generate the same revenue the state monopoly produces, plus the money will be used for transportation projects.

So “one for the road” will help pay for the road.

His plan almost triples the number of liquor stores but proposes to sell licenses for a minimum of $100,000.00 each!

The Virginia Privatization Coalition (a cabal of major retailers including Wal–Mart and Costco) says the plan is a “responsible and balanced approach.” What they don’t say is the plan limits competition and, by making the licenses so costly, gives the bum’s rush to the little guy. Once again, Republicans confuse helping corporate rent–seekers with support for the free market.

Meanwhile voters, like the Soviets, are supposed to be grateful that we’ve exchanged a monopoly for an oligopoly.

McDonnell has also embraced 60’s–style civil rights affirmative–action programs. Some of the licenses that McDonnell himself says are “expensive” are supposed to be set aside for small, women–owned or minority–owned businesses.

Set–asides for women, minorities, atheists, alcoholics, Wiccans, influential contributors and other forms of tokenism are Democrat policies. It’s not progress to go from controlling the sale of alcohol to subsidizing the salesman.

It’s time Republicans who claim to support free enterprise act like it. Otherwise you are just another market–meddling “expert,” no different from the faculty–lounge lizards currently in the White House.

Anyone who meets zoning requirements, OSHA requirements, ABC requirements, ADA requirements, maximum number of illegals on the premises requirements, low-flush toilet requirements and pays the excise tax should be allowed to have a liquor license.

If the administration’s inner meddler insists on playing favorites, I could support giving current ABC employees an incentive to buy the store where they work. The staff at the store nearest me does a great job working for a government sauce monopoly, I'm certain they would do even better on their own.

The original sin in this issue is the gusher of revenue the state gets from being in a business that is not a function of government. The irony is that in trying to undo the Democrat booze monopoly, McDonnell acts like the Democrats. He favors corporations; decides some license applicants are more deserving than others and advocates the highest excise tax on liquor in the nation — although he says it’s not actually a tax, just a “new point of collection.” (This is bureaucrat for instead of taking money from the left pocket; we will now take your money from the right pocket.)

In the end McDonnell will gain nothing from his impersonation of a moderate Democrat, because both the Democrat Senate and the Republican House are guaranteed to reject his plan. And who can blame them? Keeping the monopoly is better than adopting a policy of crony capitalism.

Conservatives will vote for Republicans in November because the country is seriously off the rails and the GOP is the only alternative to Democrat misrule. But if Republican leaders continue to misread the electorate and accommodate instead of repudiate, they may discover the same fire that heats up the TEA party may also brew up a third party. ESR

Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He's a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker and can be reached at michael–shannon@comcast.net.

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