File this one under “How Wacky Can Those Tea Partiers Get?”: Dan Maes, the Tea Party candidate for governor of Colorado, says that a Denver program to encourage people to ride bikes is part of a United Nations / one-worlder / socialist / communist conspiracy.
It seems that back in 1992, Denver became part of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an organization that promotes sustainable development and transportation alternatives. According to the Denver Post, more than 1,200 communities worldwide, including 600 in the US, are members of the ICLEI.
Anything that has the word “international” in its name sets off alarm bells in the brains of radical right-wingers, so naturally Maes sees the program as part of a sneaky effort by Denver mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper to turn Denver into Moscow in the Rockies.
“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told a rally of about 50 fellow wingnuts last week, according to the Post.
“These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor,” Maes warned darkly. “These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to. … At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.”
Apparently Maes’s looniness is playing well with the Republican base in Colorado. The Post reports he has pulled ahead of former congressman Scott McInnis in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, which will be decided Aug. 10.
Maes clearly is nuttier than a Snickers bar, but his hostility to the bike program isn’t surprising: The extreme right has always seen an evil commie conspiracy behind any effort to encourage people to use alternatives to the gasoline-powered private automobile, whether those alternatives are bicycles, public transportation or electric-powered cars.
On the conservative Oregon Catalyst site, for example, radio blabber Lars Larson and his fans are on a tear against the Chevy Volt, GM’s new electric car. And this morning’s Bulletin has a spectacularly stupid cartoon by Chip Bok showing a Volt driving along a highway labeled “Road to Serfdom,” with somebody in the car saying: “Fortunately, it will only go 40 miles.”
I never knew serfs had bicycles, much less electric cars. That zany Tea Party gang gives us a new surprise every day.