If anybody wants to understand why John McCain is not President of the United States, this is it. At least Barack Obama faked not being arrogant, but Republicans like John McCain is part of the reason that until recently, the progressives controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. He has that “old guard” attitude that after election day, the public should sit back and enjoy the ride. In the era of the tea party, that attitude does not hold water.
After the owners went bankrupt, the NHL Phoenix Coyotes were purchased by the league and now threaten to move to Winnipeg, Manitoba. As George Will explains:
Glendale[Arizona], however, not wanting its eight-year-old arena to sit vacant, wants to sell up to $116 million of municipal bonds so that it can give $100 million to a wealthy Chicago business executive to help him buy the team. With the $100 million, the city would supposedly purchase the right to charge parking fees at the arena the city owns, with the fees going to pay off the bonds. But the city already owns the right it is purchasing: It already imposes a ticket surcharge for parking.
If future fees are insufficient, Glendale’s taxpayers will have to make up the shortfall. Furthermore, Glendale would pay the new owner an additional $97 million under a contract, awarded without competitive bidding, to manage the arena through the 2014 season.
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Moody’s, saw this plan by Glendale to take on new debt and lowered the city’s credit rating causing a jump in interest rates it pays. Glendale’s debt is already triple the median for comparable cities.
The hope for the City’s solvency is the fact that the plan to save the Coyotes goes against the “Gift Clause” of the Arizona State constitution.
The Goldwater Institute, a think tank and advocacy organization dedicated to the limited-government principles of its namesake, plans to sue, if necessary, to see that Arizona’s constitution is respected. So the city, which has been dilatory regarding documents sought by the institute, is threatening to sue the institute, which warned bond rating agencies and others about its possible constitutional lawsuit. Glendale correctly says that the lawsuit will add a risk premium to its cost of borrowing.
Darcy Olsen, the Goldwater Institute’s president and chief executive, notes that if questioning a government’s behavior can generate “a retaliatory lawsuit by a legion of government attorneys, then journalists, bloggers and regular citizens across the state are all at risk.”
John McCain who fought so bravely for this country and our freedoms, doesn’t believe that the Goldwater Institute should have the freedom to argue against the Hockey plan.
John McCain, who holds the Senate seat once occupied by Barry Goldwater but does not hold Goldwater’s views about governmental minimalism, calls the institute’s actions “disgraceful” and “basically blackmailing”: “It’s not their role to decide whether the Coyotes should stay [here] or not.” Well.
Constitutions do not impress the co-author of the McCain-Feingold assault on the First Amendment (his law restricts political speech). But the institute’s job — actually, it is every Arizonan’s job — is to protect the public interest. A virtuoso of indignation, McCain is scandalized that the institute, “a non-elected organization,” is going to cause the loss of “a thousand jobs.” McCain’s jobs number is preposterous, as is his intimation — he has been in elective office for 28 years — that non-elected people should not intervene in civic life.
Rather than celebrate citizen involvement in politics, McCain is saying “Don’t try this at home kids, we’re professionals.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman agrees with McCain that the world is out of joint when people can second-guess the political class: “It fascinates me that whoever is running the Goldwater Institute can substitute their judgment for that of the Glendale City Council.” He will learn not to provoke [former Cato policy analyst Darcy Olsen, now president of the Goldwater Institute], who says, “It happens to fascinate me greatly that the commissioner thinks a handful of politicians can substitute their judgment for the rule of law.”
Folks this is about more than Hockey or Sports. The attitudes of McCain and Bettman are perfect examples of “old guard politics.” They honestly believe that the only role of the American people is to make campaign donations and vote, after that we should stand back and mind our own business. That kind of role for the public helped get this country on the brink of bankruptcy. If McCain wants to have a significant role in the future of this country he better understand that the days of public apathy are gone, the old guard screwed things up way too much.