Last week, we reported that a Republican candidate for the Colorado governorship had declared that Denver's bike-sharing program was a threat to our personal freedoms. Since then, Tea Party-backed Dan Maes has faced some scrutiny in the press for his ambiguous statements: Along with threatening our freedoms, he claimed that bike-sharing was part of a deeper plot to turn the city into a "UN community". When asked what he meant in a television interview, Maes had trouble explaining himself -- and dug himself further into a hole by alleging that the bike-sharing program could be "incompatible with our state constitution". Here's the video:
The reason that Maes stumbles above, why he can't seem to justify his statements is likely pretty straightforward: He has no idea what he's talking about. He knows that his conservative base is suspicious of the UN (thanks largely to previous tea-party spin), and likely believes that if he repeats it as a talking point, the Glenn Beck crowd will get riled up about it.
Backing this notion up is the fact that he rushes to defend the act of biking itself -- it's just the whole ominous plot that "lies behind it" that has him upset. Of course, there's absolutely nothing unconstitutional about Denver's membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, which is the program that is according to Maes is turning the city into a "UN community". It is also of course doing no such thing, and there's no plot -- just politically-motivated paranoia. The bike-sharing system is helping to provide people with a healthy, convenient way to get around the city. Period.
It is too bad that some conservatives have found it advantageous to consistently attack environmentally minded initiatives as being evidence of socialism (or worse!). As a result, what in a sane would should be the most benign, universally-approved of ideas -- bike-sharing, for instance, or better mass transit -- are apt to get attacked as dangerous and radical. It's pathetic.
Via the Wonk Room
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