It’s not often that I agree with Republican candidates’ ideas, but…

August 30, 2009, 10:47 PM

I’ve been kind of halfway following the gubernatorial race in Virginia this year, even though I’m no longer a Virginia resident. Part of that is because I did most of my growing up in Virginia, part because my parents still live there, plus half of the Washington Metropolitan Area, where I now live, is Virginia.

And Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has been saying a few things that resonate with me that seem to make sense. For one, he wants to reopen the closed rest areas within 90 days of taking office (though to his credit, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds also wants to reopen the rest areas, promising 60 days). The other thing that McDonnell wants to do is privatize Virginia’s liquor stores.


I’ve always found the idea of state-run liquor stores to be a bit… weird. I was first introduced to Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores in 1992 when we moved to Virginia, and even then, I found it odd. I mean, really. Why should the state be in the retail business for anything? The state’s job is to regulate liquor, and tax the crap out of it. Not sell it. Leave the selling of it to the private sector. Hell, you can buy state fishing licenses at Wal-Mart. I don’t see why Virginia can’t treat sales of hard liquor the same way that they treat beer and wine sales. I mean, why not sell liquor in grocery stores? Really. Why not? Or even if you require that liquor be sold at specialty stores, think of how many small businesses that you have just enabled. The state already randomly tests stores to make sure that they’re not selling alcohol to minors, so the keeping-it-out-of-the-hands-of-minors argument falls through. Besides, the truly determined minor will get their hands on a bottle of cheap whiskey, whether the liquor comes from a state-run store or Victor’s Liquors. Ask any college freshman.

However, the thing that pleases me most is that the revenue generated from privatizing liquor stores would go to fund transportation. Excellent! While I opppose the construction of “Lexus lanes” (since the only thing that’s green about that is the money), improving our transportation infrastructure is something I think is important. While good roads are important, I’m more concerned about public transportation. I take public transportation most days, and that means I’m taking my car off the road, and making trains and buses more fuel efficient per person-mile by putting my behind in one of their seats instead of my Sable’s seat. And I’m all for luring people out of their cars and onto public transportation, whether it’s local or long-distance.

Yeah, it’s not often that I find the ideas that come out of the mouth of Republicans to be any good, but McDonnell seems to be onto something here.

Web site: Examiner article with varying opinions on the whole concept

Song: Totally unrelated, but amusing nonetheless. From Deal or No Deal, where a contestant fails to recognize her sister.

Quote: By the way, I think that the government-run liquor stores in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, are just as weird, though it seems that Montgomery County is particularly prudish when it comes to alcohol. Only four grocery stores in MoCo sell beer and wine, and unlike neighboring counties, they run the liquor stores themselves. I rarely drink (and when I do, it's usually beer or wine), but if ever I see a need to buy liquor, I think I'll probably just run over to Prince George's county to get it. Screw the government-run stores.