By Jeff T. Wattrick | MLive.com
The debate over Rick Snyder’s New International Trade Crossing proposal for new bridge between Detroit and Windsor has officially veered off into the crazy.
The Willow Run Tea Party released an ad suggesting the NITC project is really a big giveaway to China because Chinese companies can bid on the concessionaire’s agreement to construct and operate the proposed bridge.
Sept. 29, Detroit Free Press: Called “A Bridge (Gone) Too Far,” the ad implies that Snyder went to China on a trade mission this week to encourage the Chinese to build the NITC project so that Michiganders will lose out.
Technically, any firm with the requisite experience and wherewithal to build and operate a bridge of this scale could bid on the NITC. If such a thing existed and wasn’t subject to a U.S. or Canadian trade embargo, a Martian consortium could compete for the NITC. It’s a free market, after all.
If a Chinese firm or domestic firm or European firm were to win the bidding process, they would have to build and operate the thing, you know, here—under U.S./Canadian regulations. It’s not as though one can outsource a Detroit/Windsor border crossing to Shanghai. Or even Winnipeg.
But what evidence does the Willow Run Tea Party have to suggest China is behind the NITC push? Well, aside from the open bidding process, they’ve noticed Chinese firms working on other infrastructure projects. Pavement is a Chinese plot! Let’s return to dirt roads and mule carts like our Founding Fathers intended.
Also, Gateway Computers did business in China when Snyder was that company’s CEO. It’s all so clear now.
Except that it isn’t—even in the mind of Willow Run Tea Party founder Dennis Moore.
Sept. 29, Brian Dickerson in the Detroit Free Press: Willow Run Tea Party founder Dennis Moore told me his organization became suspicious about Beijing’s involvement in NITC when Snyder conceded that the Chinese would be free to bid on contracts to build and/or operate the proposed second span.
“I think the bridge is a quid pro quo that the governor gave to China,” Moore confided in a phone conversation Wednesday.
A quid pro quo for what? I asked him. And what evidence could Moore cite that China had any interest in a Detroit-Windsor bridge?
“I didn’t say I had evidence,” Moore said. “It’s a suspicion.”
Hmmmm…is it possible that Dennis Moore is really using this NITC/China canard to deflect attention from the fact that he might be the mysterious 1970s skyjacker D.B. Cooper? I have no evidence that Moore is D.B. Cooper. In fact, I have no idea if he is even old enough to have committed Cooper’s infamous 1971 hijacking. Dennis Moore probably isn’t D.B. Cooper, although he’s never denied it. That’s awfully suspicious, if you ask me.
More seriously, though, what Moore and company are engaging in something William F. Buckley famously called the John Birch Fallacy.
March 2008, Commentary Magazine: I volunteered to go further. Unless [John Birch Society founder Robert] Welch himself disowned his operative fallacy, National Review would oppose any support for the society.
“How would you define the Birch fallacy?” Jay Hall asked.
“The fallacy,” I said, “is the assumption that you can infer subjective intention from objective consequence: we lost China to the Communists, therefore the President of the United States and the Secretary of State wished China to go to the Communists.”
“I like that,” [Sen. Barry] Goldwater said.
It’s the same mania here. A Chinese company could theoretically bid on the NITC, therefore, as the Willow Run Tea Party’s thinking goes, the Governor of the state of Michigan supports the NITC to enrich the Chinese.
There is one major difference between the John Birch Society/Buckley example and the Willow Run Tea Party/NITC situation.