California's high-speed rail project still looks like a zombie. It's going nowhere fast, but it is providing some delicious political entertainment for those of us who enjoy ironies -- the richer the better.
The best example is the leading Republican talking point against the high-speed rail.
Noting that the first leg would go through the Central Valley, from Corcoran up to Madera, Republicans have thundered that this will be "a train to nowhere."
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Why is that ironic? Because California Republicans are quite literally the party of nowhere.
"Nowhere" is a pretty good description of where GOP lawmakers live these days.
The party has become regional -- a party of the less-populated areas of California, namely the inland. And it is inland California, particularly the Central Valley, one of the state's more Republican areas, that would benefit from high-speed rail.
And of course, it's a Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, who is fighting to rescue a high-speed rail project that would benefit a part of the state represented by Republicans who have opposed his fiscal policies.
Who says all politics is local? Or that politics is about self-interest? High-speed rail demonstrates that politics, like so many human endeavors, is irrational.
This irrational pattern in the politics of high-speed rail is reflected on other issues of government spending.
The less-populated inland areas of California receive more from government on a per capita basis and pay relatively less in taxes -- but it is representatives from precisely these government-blessed areas that lead the fight for smaller government.
Conversely, big-city dwellers whose taxes subsidize services for the ungrateful inlanders nevertheless tend to be more comfortable with government spending.