Rob Sobhani: Cronyist

In one of those curious things that makes you wonder about their motivations, the Sun actually dedicated Sunday newspaper space to ex-Republican Rob Sobhani’s U.S. Senate campaign today. 
Some of you may remember Rob Sobhani from his failed Senate campaigns in the 1992 and 2000 Republican Primaries, neither of which were exactly against A-list Republicans. 
You may also remember Sobhani as a CNN contributor who, as our friend Jim Jamitis pointed out, was engulfed in a scandal through his role with the Network. 
Sobhani has spent most of his campaign so far producing television ads whining that the two party system is corrupt (never mind his twenty years of political participation within the two-party system) and that there needs to be a new alternative to the Democrats and to the Republicans. 
The Sun story notes the following however:

Sobhani, who says he has made money on energy deals between U.S. and foreign businesses, touts a five-point plan to attract $5.5 billion in economic development to Maryland.

He says he would rely on public-private partnerships to invest $3 billion in roads and bridges and $1 million in homes in inner-city Baltimore. He would draw on nonprofits to support hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research in the state and scholarships for low-income students.

And he promises to find new markets for $1 billion worth of Maryland products in his first term, or he won’t run for a second.

What does this have to do with being a United States Senator? Absolutely nothing. Which led to this Twitter exchange between Sobhani and I:

You see to me, the role that Sobhani is suggesting he fill as a U.S. Senator is generally filled by a Governor. Because it is the Governor who is more directly responsible for creating economic development within the state. Furthermore, I sure as heck don’t want a U.S. Senator who thinks that his role is to go to Washington and send the bacon home to Maryland, no matter where the money is coming from.

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Sobhani’s role, as he describes it, expands the tentacles of Government to encapsulate certain aspects of the private sector. In fact, one could argue that Sobhani believes that he should focus on using his influence and moral authority as a U.S. Senator to direct private investment to the places that he himself believes it should be direct.

There’s something particularly funny about that though. If Sobhani were truly looking for private investment in homes, education, and healthcare, there is nothing stopping him from doing that right now. There is nothing stopping a private citizen from creating a framework to work with companies, civic groups, education institutions and non-profit organizations to raise funding and direct that funding towards civic improvements. One doesn’t need to be a U.S. Senator to do that, something that the Capital’s Tim Pratt notes:

With his experience in international business — including contacts in Europe, the Middle East and Russia — Sobhani could find new foreign investors.

Unless you need the bully pulpit of the U.S. Senate to do what you really want to do…

Take a look at Sobhani’s issues page, and you find yourself looking at a cornucopia of expensive projects that he fails to explain exactly how he is going to fund. He talks about “five specific initiatives” that are never actually named. He talks about reducing the size of government, and the promises a $500 million investment in health care. Where’s that money coming from? Who knows.

He talks about job creation, with 105,000 new jobs created by his transportation plan alone. Where is that money coming from? Almost certainly government. Where’s that money going, well ostensibly to companies with political connections to Sobhani, if he has anything to say about it. What Sobhani is proposing is little more than an expansion of government and the widescale transfer of wealth from taxpayers to corporate entities that likely are closely associated with him and his business interests.

From the issues he discusses and from his history carrying water for foreign countries, one has to be led to the inescapable conclusion that Rob Sobhani is nothing more than a cronyist. From all the evidence that we can see, Sobhani is looking to use the U.S. Senate as his personal playground to grow the size of government and hook up his friends.

Rob Sobhani talks about how we “deserve a Senator who does more.” I don’t want a Senator who does more. I want a Senator who gets government off of my back. And while Sobhani’s vanity exercise to help his friends get rich quick is going to fall far short of being successful, it’s a shame that he decided to butt his nose in where it doesn’t belong in a year with such a strong Republican candidate. Sobhani can do what he says he wants to do right now without running for the Senate. Why he’s choosing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on political spots instead is anybody’s guess….though when you look at the facts, the reality becomes apparent.

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