Nihilist GOP Ruins Our Policy Debates
Republicans ought to own the issue of American uncompetitiveness on infrastructure costs. They should seize on a report out today from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, about how America’s regulations on rolling stock prevent us from using the same kinds of train cars that European countries do. Our trains have to be custom-designed and heavy, which makes them more expensive, less efficient and less reliable. This is dumb and we should fix it.
But Republicans aren’t interested in building better rail projects — they just don’t want to build them at all. Christie hasn’t made a priority of building a smarter, cheaper Hudson tunnel to replace ARC; instead, he’s widening the New Jersey Turnpike. And when conservatives raise good criticisms of American infrastructure practices like CEI’s, liberals often don’t take them seriously, because they see conservatives as concern trolls.
It’s depressing. But it’s also one of the reasons I remain a Republican. By becoming the stupid party, Republicans have made Democrats stupider, too. If we’re going to have smarter debates on infrastructure and everything else, we will need two smart political parties to participate in them.