Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday with Paulie on Wednesday

Governor Blagojevich exploits the elderly
Free rides or desperation for political points

Readers of Paulies Point are aware of the public transportation fiasco that has been brewing for over a year in Chicago and the suburbs. Just to recap, decades of bureaucratic mismanagement of the Chicago/Regional Transit Authority has forced the organization to threaten massive route cuts and increased fare hikes unless the state of Illinois can fork over more tax payer money.

Leading the charge to stick it to the public is State Representative Julie "Trophy Wife" Hamos. You may recall that her daughter ripped me a new one a few months back, angered by my reference to her mother. Hamos, who hasn't seen a tax increase she didn't like, finally got what she wanted last week when the state legislature approved a sales tax increase to fund the insanity known as the CTA and RTA.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for the services provided by the Transit Authority. My wife uses it and I virtually lived on the bus when I was a kid. However if there ever was an example of the need for privatization over government run, it is public transportation in the Chicago land area. CTA should stand for "Corrupt Tricky A**holes." It's another government bureaucracy that never improves and never has enough money, no matter how much you throw at it.

To my dismay, the Illinois House, with the help of three Republicans, passed a sales tax increase for Cook and the adjoining (collar) counties. Instead of having the people who use the service pay the needed revenue, they decided to stick everyone with the bill. Making matters worse, Governor Blagojevich decides to announce that he will not sign the bill unless senior citizens are allowed to ride for free. An idea that even the Socialists of Cook County did not agree with. Nevertheless, with the CTA threatening rate hikes and route cancellations effective Sunday, the amendment passed and Blagojevich will sign the tax increase.

A year or two from now, the Regional Transit Authority will once again cry poor, make threats and the spineless political whores in Springfield will pass another tax increase. Blagojevich will remind the seniors or the states largest voting block what he did for them in hopes that will result in votes when he runs for his reelection in 2010. This is if he isn't sharing a cell with former Governor George Ryan.

Reflections after Michigan
Romney wins, Huckabee needs S.C., what about Rudy?

Congrats to Mitt Romney for his big win in Michigan on Tuesday night. Polls called the race tight between the former Massachusetts Governor and Senator John McCain, but when it was all over with, Romney won with a strong 9 point victory. McCain had to be disappointed in his second place finish, but overall he is no worse off than he was after his win in New Hampshire. The other winner of the evening, believe it or not, was Rudy Giuliani. Even with a dismal 3% showing, the New York Mayor's unorthodox strategy of not putting an effort into any of the first few contests may still pay off. Simply put, there has been three real contests and three different winners. No front runner has broken away from the pack, but I am not as confident in the Giuliani strategy as I once was.

With South Carolina fast approaching John McCain appears to have a growing lead over Mike Huckabee. Romney and Thompson are still well behind, but it appears that a recent surge by Thompson is taking votes away from Huckabee. If McCain pulls off the win in South Carolina, the air will be let out of Huckabee's campaign and he will simply drift farther away. McCain will be able to take that win to Florida, where polls have him in a dead heat with Giuliani, and ride the momentum past him, devastating the New York's mayor's Presidential aspirations.

If America's mayor can stay above water over the next few weeks and win in Florida, I see him having a great day on "Tsunami Tuesday (Feb 5Th)," with wins in California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey, he will have momentum that may be unstoppable.

Romney will continue to stick around through February 5Th. He has the money and will spend it. Unfortunately for him I don't see a realistic scenario that gives him the nomination. If Huckabee makes South Carolina and Florida close, he too will be a player through February 5Th. The fake conservative from Hope will falter on that day. Unless his surge continues and grows, I see Thompson dropping out after South Carolina. He needs a strong second in that state to stay in the race.

But what about Ron Paul

Paul should kick back and enjoy the spotlight and debate stage he has been sharing. He deserves kudos for his consistent top 5 showings, but I still laugh at many of my self-described hardcore Libertarian friends who still believe his support is coming from fellow Libertarians who are interested in his fiscal policy. I love his economic ideas too, but his support is mainly coming from the anti-war left as well as former Howard Deaniacs and other young adults who have their fathers credit card, a laptop computer and a rundown studio apartment paid for by dad, so they don't come home and embarrass the family. Did I mention the White Supremacists who are also backing him?

As far as the Democrats are concerned, it's obviously a two-person race between Obama and Clinton. However congrats must go out to "uncommitted," who finished a solid second place against Clinton in Michigan garnering 40% of the vote. I predicted a strong finish for uncommitted since they truly define what the Democratic Party stands for.



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