Reason Chides GOP Charlatan

Steven Greenhut: Reason magazine’s Tim Cavanaugh rightly slams the First 5 California preschool bureaucracy formed by meathead voters who voted for the Meathead Tax (named after its chief proponent, Rob Reiner of All in the Family “Meathead” fame). That’s an easy target, I suppose, but my friends at Friends for Fullerton’s Future linked to the story because it skewered Matthew Cunningham, a “conservative” activist from my old haunts on Orange County. Like many of the “conservative” activists I know from down there, Cunningham makes a hell of a lot of money consulting for big government programs — including the county’s version of First 5. Writes Cavanaugh: “Orange County bloggers have had a good time detailing how Matthew Cunningham, a Republican flack … has been billing First 5 $200 an hour for reading the paper, making blog comments and listening to John and Ken.”

Cunningham, by the way, billed taxpayers several hundred dollars for a lunch he had with me, when I was an editorial writer for the Orange County Register. Cunningham even ghost-wrote a column for Delaine Eastin, the leftist former state education superintendent. Other prominent conservatives, such as former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, make a nice living shilling for High Speed Rail and other big-government programs. They always have a veneer of conservative argument to excuse their actions, such as helping First 5 California keeps the money out of the hands of Sacramento politicians. Yeah, right. Just like California Assembly members saved redevelopment and all its big-government subsidies and bullying because, many said, they preferred that the money stay in local hands rather than go to the state government. The real reason, I believe, is that the developer money will end up in their hands as they run for other offices.

Conservativism has largely become a scam run by greedy charlatans. Not that you didn’t already know that.

APRIL 16


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