Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Daily Dose


Like the effort to franchise residents of the District of Columbia, the effort to refranchise felons is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, since most of those receiving the franchise vote Democratic. If you look past the politics, however, I think both ideas merit implementation. Of course, it's easy to say this from the sidelines, but I believe in rehabilitation and think the founders were wrong to disfranchise those living in our nation's capitol, ipso facto. Slate's Emily Bazelon reviews the good news: earlier this month, Florida joined New Mexico, Delaware and Texas in restoring voting rights for nonviolent felons who have paid any restitution they owed.

Here's a thought-provoking argument, from NR's Ramesh Ponnuru: earmark reform is largely symbolic and its effects on spending is negligible. For instance, members of Congress already tout the pork they bring home, so why should we expect that mandating such disclosures will shame them into doling out fewer favors? Furthermore, even if sunlight de-earmarks a bill, the earmark's funds usually remain, only now they go to a different master. Remember Alaska's Bridge to Nowhere? Even though Congress rescinded the earmark from the transportation bill, this did not decrease the state's overall take from the federal trough.

He's uncharismatic and a wooden speaker. As Dave Keene recently reported, he also seems to be spineless. And let's not overlook his pandering flip-flop on immigration. Still, isn't Sam Brownback the ultimate conservative candidate running for president? His social credentials are well-known and water-tight, and as the Club for Growth has documented, his economic bona fides are equally robust.

Update (4/30): Given his embrace of prison reform, restoring the rights of felons (see first paragraph) sounds like it would be a Brownbackian concern.