A few weeks back I taunted the Seattle P-I for exploring the future of tolling on Washington state roads, by essentially printing a debate between two conservative analysts, Matt Rosenberg of the Discovery Institute and Michael Ennis of the Washingon Policy Center. To which the article’s author, Aubrey Cohen, responded in my comment thread:
While the Discovery Institute surely is as conservative as can be when it comes to teaching evolution, the Cascadia Center is progressive with regard to transportation policy. Tarring the Cascadia Center as conservative because of the Discovery Institute’s views on evolution makes no sense and is a disservice to progressives.
Cascadia Center is “progressive” with regard to transportation policy? Oh really, Aubrey?
So I guess it’s progressive to advocate taking money away from Sound Transit’s light rail to spend on a privatized, regional monorail? It’s progressive to demand $30 billion for more freeways, but nothing for street cars, bike lanes or light rail? An expensive Sounder station under Benaroya Hall, and an untested deep bore tunnel… these are progressive policies?
I’m not saying that all of Cascadia’s proposals are conservative (mostly, they’re just kinda nutty), or that transportation issues even tend to neatly line up along a progressive/conservative divide, but to describe either Matt Rosenberg or Cascadia as “progressive” is, quite frankly, ridiculous. And to suggest, as Cohen does, that a vehemently and cynically conservative organization such as Discovery has room within its ranks for a “progressive” transportation policy center, strains all credulity.
I mean, how twisted is the transportation debate in Washington state when the Discovery Institute is portrayed as representing the progressive side of the debate, and nobody bats an eye? And honestly, what does Bruce Chapman have to do in his advancing years to convince the Seattle establishment of his political dotage? What, seeking to destroy science education in our nation’s schools and replace it with Christianist hocus-pocus isn’t enough? Does he have to actually instigate pogroms? Burn witches at the stake? Wander naked through the halls of the Rainier Club, talking to angels?
The Discovery Institute isn’t just crazy-conservative, it’s downright crazy. Perhaps Cohen and others think people like me are crazy too, but “progressive” and “crazy” are not one and the same thing.