It’s not 100% clear this represents the backstory for the possible demise of “religious liberty” legislation in Georgia. But let’s just say I’ve finally found something good about the subsidy-driven smokestack chasing that passes for an economic development strategy in the South these days (per Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

The battle over SB 129 [the “religious liberty” bill] comes just as Georgia recruiters are trying to land what could be one of the biggest economic development deals in more than a decade.

The AJC reported Monday that Georgia is in the running for a new Volvo plant. The hunt is serious enough that, in a just-approved $21.8 billion state budget, $25 million was filched from the $100 million intended for first-of-its-kind transit spending.

Why? To build a training center near Savannah that could be used to attract an auto plant.

Deal’s aides are urging others not to draw a line between Volvo’s apparent interest and the fate of religious liberty legislation. But that’s the problem with nationalized issues: They don’t always bend to local concerns.

So the gay-friendly Swedish firm’s flirtation with Georgia may add an extra element of intrigue in the final hours of this year’s session.

Hmm. Wonder if this is why Erick Erickson was raving about Republican legislators selling out conservative Christian evangelicals “for thirty pieces of silver.” If he’d said “thirty Krona” it might have been clearer.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.