Here’s some welcome news! In addition to fighting to keep America safe from the nightmare of health insurance, sending out fishwives to scream at cute-milquetoast MSNBC hosts, and bringing rightwing lunacy to improvisational comedy, it would appear that the nice folks in the Koch Bros. squirrel factory have also managed to sponsor a bill aimed at killing a rapid-transit bus system in Nashville, Tennessee. Actually, the bill would prevent any city in the state from developing a rapid-transit bus system without state approval. You know, because local control is the best form of small government, except when it isn’t.
Now, a person might well ask, why on earth would the Kochs give a damn about buses? Isn’t their whole thing low taxes, free-market toxic sludge for all, and ignoring climate change? Ah, but you see, Americans For Prosperity is also about small government, whether the people being governed want it that small or not. And sorry, Nashville, but your locally designed $174 million bus-based rapid transit project, called “The Amp,” was just another big-government socialist project that had to go. Oh, sure, it would have provided faster commutes on a major corridor, and it was supported by local businesses, supporters of transit, and the Chamber of Commerce. And in fact, the involvement of Americans For Prosperity in killing The Amp only came to light after the passage of the bill in the state Senate, when the head of StopAmp.org Inc, the local group that headed the opposition to the project, thanked AFP for all its help.
Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explains why one city’s transit project was worth the involvement of a national “libertarian” organization:
Treat this as a technocratic dispute, and it doesn’t make any sense. If state lawmakers had a problem with The Amp, they could ask local officials to re-evaluate the proposal and look for ways to reduce costs and improve safety. It goes beyond overkill to block the project and preclude Nashville from considering mass transit.
But if you treat this as a local front in an unending, all-encompassing culture war, then it’s easy to understand. To the right-wing, mass transit is just another liberal attempt to force Americans into a kind of brutalist conformity
As we all know, after all, liberals just want to control people’s lives, and mass transit is just as much a part of the United Nations’ Agenda 21 plan to destroy American freedom as bike lanes are — frankly, we’re surprised that Vicoria Jackson hasn’t weighed in on this important example of creeping sharia. Besides, if you’re trying to get people out of their cars and onto buses and trains, you probably think climate change is real, too.
So the Kochs really are thinking global while acting loco. The head of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee, Andrew Ogles — we swear we are not making that up — says that calling the Amp a matter of local governance is a dirty lie, since it would have been funded with transportation grants from beyond Nashville:
“Some try to frame this issue as a local issue only, but it’s state and federal dollars … It’s $175 million.”
And since dirty federal money was involved, of course it’s only fitting that AFP step in to stop it.
And here’s the really beautiful part: Now that AFP’s Tennessee affiliate, which only formed last year, has had such a stunning success, the national group is looking forward to building on that, since it’s pretty good at finding willing state legislators to help it with its freedom agenda. Andrew Ogles suggests Tennessee is a perfect petri dish for AFP’s future efforts:
“With supermajorities in both houses,” he said, “Tennessee is a great state to pass model legislation that can be leveraged in other states.”
Isn’t that a charming vision? Nice locally designed project you got here. Pity it’s too socialist…