You keep using that word

We’re all neocons now.

I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Tyler Duvall is the chief policymaker at US DOT; he favors funding for experiments in congestion pricing. In transportation-policy analysis, this is roughly as controversial as vaccination programs are in health policy. He also favors, more broadly, privatization of road building and operation, which has a mixed record so far.

Peter DeFazio is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure highways and transit subcommittee, and represents the nice people of Eugene, Ore. At least a few of whom might be scratching their head at

“Tyler Duvall is a little pointy-headed neocon with grand ideas about the future of transportation, and they all involve tolling,” DeFazio said. “He’s bright, young, energetic—just totally wrong, and has a bizarre, neocon view of transportation.”

I must have missed Irving Kristol’s broadsides against the federal gasoline tax, that nine-part series in Commentary on the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, and Paul Wolfowitz’s scheme to disband the Baghdad Rapid Transit District.

“Neocon” serves roughly the same purposes in the outer rings of the Democratic Party as “gay” does for junior-high-school boys. And “Tyler Duvall” doesn’t even sound Jewish.

Update: RBCer James Wimberley reminds me that “Red” Ken Livingstone, architect of London’s congestion-pricing scheme, is an ex-Trotskyite. So it does reflect a neocon view of transportation. Except it doesn’t. From the noted AEI house organ The Guardian: “The political choice facing London could not be clearer

The current onslaught on Ken Livingstone is driven by a neocon agenda, but the fallout could have a far wider social impact.

It’s as if the last 25 years had never happened. For the past week we’ve been back in the days of Margaret Thatcher’s war on Red Ken and the Greater London Council. Every morning, the media have brought new revelations of the horrors at City Hall and Ken Livingstone’s manifest unfitness to be re-elected mayor of London. Just as in the time of the GLC, Livingstone is denounced for consorting with dangerous leftists and terrorist apologists. Only the details have changed: for lesbian workers’ cooperatives, read the Arab women’s network, and for Sinn Féin and the Irish community, substitute Islamist groups and London’s Muslims.