This Is Alabama. We Like Car Accidents.

Via Marc Ambinder, here's an ad by a gentleman named Tim James running to be governor of Alabama.

It's sort of a pitch-perfect example of small-government foolishness. He starts off asking why the state offers the driving test in 12 languages, but then never tries to answer that question. Instead, he just says it costs money and shouldn't be done.

Except that, as Ambinder notes, past attempts to make the exam English-only have been thrown out of federal court repeatedly and could cost the state federal transportation funding.

Even more than that, there is a basic public-safety issue at stake here. People are going to drive, including people who don't speak English. If they can't take the driver's test, they're going to drive illegally, and more dangerously, without knowing the rules of the road. But if they can understand the test and obtain basic drivers' education, they are likely to be safer drivers.

Maintaining federal funding, keeping the roads safe, or even simple nondiscrimination don't seem to matter to James. He'd rather exploit racial tension and hostility toward the national government to get ahead.

-- Tim Fernholz

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