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Wonkfest 2008

So yesterday was Issue Day. (One issue was whether or not anyone would challenge the petitions, which they did not. Another procedural hurdle passed.)

The other issues were presented at the Independence Institute Candidate Briefing. Along with a 3-ring binder, suitable for masonry work, we got a day's worth of briefings on various topics of interest to state and local candidates. This included a slightly incoherent discussion of education by the RMA's own Ben DeGrow, previously seen schlepping Diet Coke out of the conference room into the office area.

It's this kind of a day that makes me think it might be more fun to work there than to run for office, a calculation that Caldera apparently made years ago. These folks cover the waterfront, and just about every session had some tidbit suitable for candidate consumption.

The briefings were at a variety of different levels, but it'd be fair to say that they assumed a certain familiarity with the principles behind them. For instance, when Lin noted that it's philosophically incoherent to refer to health care as a, "right," because it's a product, it assumes an understanding of 1) scare resources, 2) what Rights are in the Constitution, and 3) the qualitative differences between the two.

The group was mostly Republicans, although there were a few capital-L Libertarians. This isn't really the time to be sniping at them, what with the Republican coalition ready to shake itself to bits along that fault line, bringing down itself, the party, and the Republic in one fell swoop (no, not really). But it's interesting to note where their attention lay, and how they differed from some of the Republicans.

One fellow, during Jessica Peck Corry's discussion of higher ed, couldn't resist carping that Constitutional education should begin at the White House. (Jessica pulled double-duty, by the way, trying to cram property rights and higher ed into 30 minutes total. Good luck with that.) For the budget, he seemed mostly concerned with the cost of prisons, although that's probably actually a proxy issue for the number tenants.

Another fellow, in an after-hours education/school choice website tour, pointed out that parents don't actually have to have their children inoculated. Perhaps his slogan should be: A Childhood Without Mumps is Like a Day Without Orange Juice! On the other hand, he had a valid point about electronic toll roads, and the toll-collection systems being able to track your movements. Personally, I do find that a little creepy myself.

For my own race, Lois and Liz probably understand the budgeting process fairly well, and I'm not so sure about Josh Hanfling. But they also fell back last night on...questionable...numbers like "49th in education funding," and "800,000 Coloradoans without access to health care," both of which are demonstrably untrue. They may go over well with the CHUN crown on Monday, but the election is all about the debate, and yesterday's briefing is designed to make that a hell of a lot more fun.

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