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Actually, We Should Focus on Palin

September 14th, 2008

I’ve heard a lot of people suggest that we ignore Palin, either because of or despite her popularity, and focus on McCain. I have no trouble with focusing on McCain, but I think there is a great danger in ignoring Palin. The reason why is because she is not just a lightning rod to take attention away from McCain–she has, in fact, quickly become the heart and center of the McCain campaign. She’s the one drawing huge crowds, she’s the one who is revitalizing the base, she’s the one who is bringing his numbers up. Ignore her and you ignore McCain’s greatest new strength. I don’t think that’s wise.

Furthermore, she has maintained her popularity precisely because there has not yet been enough critical attention paid to her. Her lies go relatively unchallenged, her claims about reform and accomplishment pretty much non-fact-checked, her background allowed to mostly slide while America focuses on the trivial irrelevancies which she can use to her advantage.

This is beginning to change. The blush is off the media rose, the honeymoon is beginning to end, insert your metaphor here. Gibson’s interview started that process, and now we are seeing more and more about her finally begin to leak through to the media sources that most Americans pay attention to. And the McCain-Palin lead is beginning to erode and evaporate.

One thing beginning to come through is her lie about the Bridge to Nowhere. It has been noted that she stopped telling that particular whopper when she went to Alaska, but now that she’s back in the lower forty-eight, she’s right back at using the lie again–as if she were aware that Alaskans knew her too well to buy that particular line of horse manure.

But for those who are confused by the claims or don’t know the whole timeline, I have pieced it together here:

November 2005: Congress strips funding for the bridge project.

September 2006: Palin shows up in the town where the bridge is supposed to link, brandishes a “Nowhere, Alaska 99901” T-Shirt, and proclaims she “feels the pain” of the townspeople for their town being called “Nowhere.”

October, 2006: In a direct answer to whether or not she supported the bridge to nowhere, Palin wrote, “Yes. I would like to see Alaska’s infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now — while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.” Palin says publicly, “I support these infastructure projects,” “I’m going to fight hard with our federal delegation for the federal financial support of our infrastructure that Alaska deserves.”

November 2006: Palin says “I would not get in the way of progress of” the bridge to nowhere. She wins the election and becomes governor of Alaska.

August 2007: Congress allows Alaska to keep $233 million even though the bridge is long dead.

September 2007: Palin finally kills the project, saying: “Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398-million bridge is not the answer. Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329-million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. … Much of the public’s attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here, but we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened.”

September 2008 (repeatedly): “I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere!”

And McCain: “Yes, the pork barrel project, a $233 million bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it,” McCain said. “She, as governor, stood up and said, we don’t need it, and if we need it, we’ll pay for it ourselves. Now, that’s guts. I saw that, and I said, this, this is what we need in Washington.”

So: Ted Stevens gets the money for the bridge, but then Congress and the public react in disgust, stripping the funding. For two full years, Sarah Palin maintains her support for the bridge project–starting her campaign for governor on it–telling the people of the town that she feels their pain, and the people of Alaska that she’ll fight for federal money. She repeatedly voices support for the bridge, specifying federal funding. Then Congress decides to allow Alaska to keep much of the money that had been set aside for the bridge. ONLY THEN did Palin kill the project, saying the feds were not going to give them enough money for the bridge to be built. But she kept the money they gave her.

“I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere!”


To be honest, I was not aware of much of this timeline. I didn’t know that Palin supported the bridge for a full two years after funding had been cut, or that Palin killed the project right after Congress released the funds to Alaska. Let me tell you, making those claims about saying “no” to Congress, “thanks but no thanks” to the bridge, “We’ll pay for that bridge ourselves!”–that takes guts, lying so blatantly and outrageously!

That’s the kind of thing that needs to be told everywhere, made clear to everyone. Obama should make a commercial showing the timeline:

After Congress cut the wasteful spending on the bridge to nowhere, Sarah Palin fought for two years to get it back. She went to the town where the bridge was going to and began her campaign for governor telling them she’d fight for the bridge (show photo with the “Nowhere Alaska” T-shirt). She made the bridge a part of her campaign, repeatedly promising to get the federal funds. (Show video clip of Palin saying, ““I support these infastructure projects!”) But only after Congress cut her a check for 233 million in your taxpayer dollars (show graphic: “Palin accepts $233 million in federal pork”) did she finally kill the project–and she kept your money to boot. Then she said: (show clip after clip after clip) “I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere!” And McCain was right behind her: (show clip) “She, as governor, stood up and said, we don’t need it, and if we need it, we’ll pay for it ourselves!” She demanded pork. She got it. Then they both lied.

Heavily cutting, and completely, 100% factually correct.

That’s a campaign commercial we can believe in.

Categories: Election 2008, McCain Hall of Shame Tags: by
  1. Tim Kane
    September 15th, 2008 at 11:17 | #1

    I wish someone would ask “did you say ‘no thanks’ to the $233 million dollars in the ear mark?”

    Follow up:
    “So you kept the money?”

    So congress allocates the money and Katichan still has no bridge from their town to their airport on Gravina Island?

    (As an aside, the name “birdge to nowhere” is probably unfortunate. There is good reason for building a bridge to that islands. Katchikan is at the bottom of the Alaskan pan handle, fairly remote and built on a steeped sloped piece of land while the island is fairly flat and just in front of the town so the airport was put there, and sea and air are the only links they have. Maybe only 50 people live on the island, but that’s not why the bridge is being built, its to get to the airport which is the main link out of there.

    My parents used to live at Lake of the Ozarks in a place surrouned on three sides by water. A private company built a bridge to cut access off by 45 minutes from the developed side of the lake. They charge tolls (the only tolls in Missouri – the state can’t acording to its constitution) to pay for the cost of the bridge, and when those bonds are all paid for they are going to donate the bridge to the state. )

  2. K. Engels
    September 17th, 2008 at 04:56 | #2
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