An Indication of How Out-of-Touch NFIB Is

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) claims to be the national champion of small business. But, as their acronym indicates, that's little more than a FIB. The organization, which recently went to bat in a major way for Senator Enzi's deeply flawed health care bill (their home page currently features estate tax repeal as the number one issue for small business to be concerned with at the moment), has now announced its "2006 Montana Small Business Champion" -- Representative Roger Koopman. This choise isn't just bizarre, it is downright funny and somewhat scary. And it shows just how deeply out-of-touch NFIB is. In 2005, Freshman Representative Koopman proposed twenty-five pieces of legislation. Seven did not make it past the drafting stage, as they were deemed unconstitutional. He eventually passed two bills. The rest, including such grand ideas as censure of the Supreme Court and a measure to introduce the teaching of creationism in public classrooms. He also, famously, took to the barricades with the far-right when they declared that full-time kindergarten was a key part of the socialist, homosexual agenda. No, I am not making this up. Rep. Koopman nearly ended up in a fistfight on the floor of Montana's House after cutting branches off a "liberty tree" he had growing on his desk because the budget passed was anti-freedom in his view. Another Representative had it with being called unAmerican and berated Koopman, who proceeded to physically approach his colleague. The two had to be separated before punches were thrown. The Gazette, in its story announcing the award, notes that Koopman serves on the leadership council of the NFIB. It's no surprise then, that their policy stances do little to help the small business owners they claim to represent. Their leadership includes the man who just may be the kookiest man in the Montana legislature. And as my fellow Montanans know -- that's saying something.