Saturday, March 29, 2008

Amherst's Bootleggers and Baptists

"Bootleggers and Baptists" refers to the unlikely coalitions that formed to support alcohol prohibition back before most places figured out that prohibition doesn't work.

The Baptists wanted prohibition because booze is immoral. The Bootleggers wanted prohibition because booze made them rich.

There's a similar, odd coalition here in Amherst that's supporting Hwei-Ling Greeney for the Select Board. In the role of Baptists are the "greenies"-- people who like her save-the-planet-starting-with-Amherst message. They feel Morally Just voting for Hwei-Ling (just like a lot of people felt good voting for Ralph Nader, and didn't see how being idealistic instead of practical can often have very negative consequences).

In the role of Bootleggers: the Amherst Taxpayers for Responsible Change are supporting Hwei-Ling, because of financial self-interest. She's promised not to raise their taxes, and that's good enough for them (just like a lot of people felt good voting for the first George "No New Taxes" Bush, and didn't realize that he would break that promise and run up deficits to pay for the stuff he cared about).

It looks to me like the Select Board election will be a close three-way race between the women (sorry Irv and Dave); it will be fun to try to interpret the election result tea leaves next Tuesday night!

1 comment:

Baer Tierkel said...

Great connection with the Bootleggers! It's interesting to note that when you do a comparison of Hwei-Ling Greeney's votes in Town Meeting with those of the leaders of Amherst Taxpayers for Responsible Change, they cast opposite votes most of the time.

Even on taxes they disagree. Greeney voted (and worked) against the override with ATRC - a tax increase that would support schools and general town services. But she voted FOR a CPA tax increase - an increase that only could be used for open space or historic preservation!

She's against tax increases that support the schools, but for tax increases that buy open space.

Even the bootleggers would scratch their heads at that one.