Concerns About Coaty
I’m as hopeful as anybody that Steven Coaty’s Newport election to the General Assembly is a sign of trends for the elections to come. I’ll admit, broadly, that I’m a little worried that the RIGOP won’t prove up to the task of pulling the state back from the the precipice that has the Democrats bedazzled. I’ll also admit, specifically, that I’ve got some reservations based on the little bit that I’ve read of Coaty.
As I said, during the election, he seemed to retreat too rapidly to “we don’t start (the process) by saying we’ve got to raise taxes” from his anti-tax-increase position. He also could have affirmed his belief that the citizens of the state need relief, not another share of the dirt pie that the state’s going to have to start dishing out, when Charles Bakst asked him about his legislative intentions. Instead, we got a little murkyness:
Coaty campaigned against tax hikes and said he’d cut spending, but I reminded him last week that when specific cuts are proposed, the lobbyists and interest groups from his district will howl that reduced service will hurt people. What will he do then? “A decent society will take care of the neediest, but has to be efficient,” he said. “The days when you can say, ‘Not in my backyard,’ or ‘Don’t touch my rice bowl,’ are over. I would think everybody’s going to have to sacrifice.”
Taxpayers are already making more than their share of the necessary sacrifices, so I hope Coaty’s “everybody” means “everybody currently taking from the government, not those giving to it.
Coaty also told Bakst that he supported Chafee over Laffee, so I’d like to know whether he was of the “electability” school or actually liked Chafee’s approach. And then there’s this:
And gay marriage? He thinks the state should get out of the wedding business: Any couple — man and woman, two men, or two women — could get a civil union license, which would not use the word marriage or wedding. If they also wanted to call themselves married — say by exchanging vows in a church — that would be up to them. “This is a way to resolve a very emotional, tenuous issue to the satisfaction of everyone,” he said. (I can assure him: Not everyone.)
At least he’s erring on the libertarian side, but his solution is still a cop-out for two reasons:
- Political. Coaty isn’t going to come into contact with such a bill. How’s he going to vote on the options that he’s actually going to get: Yes to same-sex marriage, or no to same-sex marriage.
- Substantive. What benefits are going to accrue to these universal civil unions? If they’re attractive, should family members be able to enter them with each other? Why limit it to two partners?