Republican senate candidate Rand Paul yesterday joined legions of Cardinal’s basketball season ticket holders for the first private tour of the KFC Yum! Center (a.k.a. The Toaster). Your humble correspondent managed to follow Paul for a good fifteen minutes before losing him amid the swollen masses of basketball fans, during which time the candidate mugged for a photo with a supporter before slipping off on a guided tour of the facility, including viewing the court itself and ostensibly the practice facilities and luxury box suites (which fetch a cool $90,000).
Accompanied by his wife, Kelley, a modicum of handlers and a tour guide who appeared to be none other than Arena Authority chairman Jim Host himself (we’re waiting on some kind of confirmation/denial about this; the Yum! Center ground troops had no idea that Paul was even coming despite receiving a warm welcome/personal tour guide upon his arrival), Paul — who as far as we know isn’t a Cardinals season ticket holder —was there to view the power and the glory of downtown Louisville’s $238 million crown jewel firsthand.
Since I failed miserably in my pursuit of the doctor-candidate, I wasn’t able to ask him in person what he thought of the new arena, so I directed my questioning to the campaign staff who brought Paul’s visit to my attention to the first place.
“Due to a tight campaign schedule, we do not have time to answer your questions now,” wrote a staffer via email. “I’ll have to get back to you later. Thanks.”
Interestingly, Paul had roughly an hour to tour the arena amid a “tight campaign schedule,” yet no time at all to talk about it. My guess is that he doesn’t want to say anything publicly about a structure that, through the wizardry of tax-increment financing, will be ultimately paid for by taxpayer dollars — a juxtaposition that doesn’t jibe well in a campaign stepped in rhetoric of government waste and taxpayer fund-abuse. (But, hey, they’ve got a bunch of corporate logos slapped onto the beast, so let’s pretend private money made it happen.)
However, with Paul’s recent support of a federal 23 percent sales tax — which effectively turns every business into a tax collector for big government — it appears as though he has little understanding of what, exactly, taxpayer money really is, much less how to save it.
GO CARDS! Also: We’ll update as soon as we hear from somebody who gives enough of a shit to get back to us.