Details and circumstances could change in the future, but for now there are good reasons why grass roots reformers should steer clear of the controversy surrounding various proposals for a new Detroit-Windsor bridge:
1. None of the possible outcomes unambiguously serve the public interest.
2. None of the sides are “clean” in the sense of unambiguously representing a principled good-government or good-economics position.
3. The details of the issue are immensely complex and cross-currented, making it a poor choice for “movement building,” in the sense of educating uncommitted or independent voters on larger self-government and free enterprise reform issues.
4. The time and energy local reformers expend on this issue could accomplish much more if devoted to efforts for which they are uniquely capable. In particular creating incentives for the state senators and representatives who represent them to become bolder on government employee union reforms and right-to-work protections, on cutting-back the monstrous expansion of state corporate welfare subsidies and bailouts, on state-level measures to chip-away at ObamaCare, and more.
If grass roots activists — in particular those associated with the Tea Party movement — want to make a difference on a matter related to the Detroit bridge issue, there is one thing they can do: Raise consciousness about bills or potential administration actions to pay-off unions, environmentalists, welfare advocates and local political machines in the form of bridge-related “community benefits." Bills have already been introduced to impose these shakedowns on taxpayers, and even without legislation the administration has the power to make such deals on its own if it so chooses.