August 31, 2008

MSM suggests Palin lied about her stance on the Bridge to Nowhere. [krakatoa]
— Open Blog

USA Today headlines that Palin supported the bridge to nowhere, suggesting that she lied in her first public speech as VP candidate.

While running for governor in 2006, though, Palin backed federal funding for the infamous bridge, which McCain helped make it a symbol of pork barrel excess.

There doesn't appear to be any "there" there, however:

Asked why she supported the bridge, Palin's communications director Bill McAlister said, "It was never at the top of her priority list, and in fact the project isn't necessarily dead … there's still the potential for improved ferry service or even a bridge of a less costly design."

She changed her mind, he said, when "she saw that Alaska was being perceived as taking from the country and not giving, and that impression bothered her and she wants to change it. … I think that Sarah Palin is someone who has the courage to reevaluate situations as they developed."

The headline will frame the issue however, describing Palin as just another hypocrite sucking up earmarks.

Are McCain and Palin savvy enough to predict and counter these sorts of leftist spin tactics from the mouthpiece of the DNC? It is an effective strategy to offer your opponent an arm, then when they overextend, give them a nudge into a tumble. If McCain's strategists have grokked that this is not the Media they thought they knew, they can use this particular bit of campaign judo again and again.

UPDATE: DrewM notes that according to this article, the 400 million was not actually diverted from Alaska at all. Rather, Congress killed the earmark, but allowed Alaska to keep the money to be used in other transportation spending.

Congresses head-fake on the issue in my mind reflects more poorly on them than on Palin, but keeping the money does seem to water-down her reformer credentials, and as Drew says, wouldn't have been nearly the applause line as "We told them no thanks, we'll do it ourself."
Palin's actions after being elected Governor and prior to any hint that she might be part of the 08 national ticket suggest she is supple enough to change her mind as the facts warrant.

This is an incredibly attractive feature in a leader, something McCain gets rightfully slammed for not possessing vis-a-vis the AGW hysteria and Amnesty.

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of McCain. I find his willingness to do things that benefit John McCain rather than things that help his country* to be incredibly vain and calculating.

All this makes the choice of someone like Palin all the more intriguing since she appears to actually embody the more conservative principles I feel McCain only occasionally pretends to have.

I'm still not even on the fence to vote for him, but I have to say: Despite all my previous assertions that I would never vote for the shit sammich, I feel for the first time like I could be convinced to do so.

If Palin continues to shine and can persuade me that she is not a McCain clone, I may just come to the conclusion that there is something less than disaster in store for the long-term Conservative ideals I believe in if McCain's ticket wins in November.

* McCain/Feingold, Amnesty, Gang of 14 etc...

Posted by: Open Blog at 07:31 PM | Comments (65)
Post contains 572 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Well, at least McCain knows the difference between x and y and I bet you Palin does too.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 07:34 PM (hawOV)

2 I think this was just her reluctance to say an outright no to 400 million. The state was supposed to match a certain percentage of that, I think 40 million. She pretty quickly realized the state could take care for the problem for less than the 40 million alone and switched gears correctly. It's called being an executive, as opposed to like a senator ya know?

Posted by: Rocks at August 31, 2008 07:37 PM (7rbe9)

3

It's only been two fucking days.  Two fucking days.

How long will it take for the entire Obama campaign to become a giant truther movement on anything Sarah Palin.

What is it about this woman who most people never heard of a week ago, that is making half the leftist world go completely berzerk?

Posted by: SlaveDog at August 31, 2008 07:41 PM (6Gy0q)

4 Eh, I think the story is a little more complex. Alaska didn't build the bridge but apparently they kept the money.

Once Palin spiked the bridge project, the money wasn't available to Minnesota or other states, however. Congress, chastened by criticism of the Alaska funding, had removed the earmark but allowed the state to keep the money and direct it to other transportation projects.

Now a case can be made that no governor would hand back the money but that's not exactly the impression she left on Friday.

And I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress -- I told Congress, "Thanks, but no thanks," on that bridge to nowhere.
(APPLAUSE)
If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves.

So yeah, she stood against an earmark but not at a net savings to the federal government and not in principled stand of self-reliance.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 31, 2008 07:44 PM (hlYel)

5 She seems to be a true American in politics.

Posted by: Farmer at August 31, 2008 07:45 PM (VJ5hx)

6 Cristoph,

I think the Biden gaffe has really explored its space so far. Yes, it shows a lack of understanding of military terminology, but little more. The intent of his statement maintains its integrity, however wrong-headed his reasoning may be.

Posted by: krakatoa at August 31, 2008 07:46 PM (lxcmS)

7 Drew M, I HEARD Palin give her acceptance speech when McCain announced it. She said CLEARLY she diverted the money to more worthy infrastructure projects. Really.

Yes, krakatoa, but the point is he did it TWICE, something no one has nailed him for. Seriously. Find any post anywhere where someone has mentioned that fact.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 07:51 PM (hawOV)

8 Put another way... imagine if Dan Quayle misspelled potato, got criticized for it including articles in the MSM like Fox (also by military experts), then did it in another public event 2 days later.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 07:53 PM (hawOV)

9 Christoph,

I heard the speech to. In fact I comment in the thread here how much I loved that line. I assure you, I wouldn't have loved it if it came with that caveat.

I linked to the transcript, there's nothing there about that, unless I missed it or the transcript is incomplete.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 31, 2008 07:58 PM (hlYel)

10 From Drew's link.

Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Saturday that as projected costs for the Ketchikan bridge rose to nearly $400 million, administration officials were telling Ketchikan that the project looked less likely. Local leaders shouldn't have been surprised when Palin announced she was turning to less-costly alternatives, Leighow said. Indeed, Leighow produced a report quoting Palin, late in the governor's race, indicating she would also consider alternatives to a bridge.

Posted by: Trollhammer at August 31, 2008 07:58 PM (iXM3B)

11 DrewM.

I don't know enough about the mechanics of budget -- Congress took away the earmark, but let Alaska keep the money which sounds very, well, bureaucratic. I guess the pertinent question is, did Palin request this funding be kept in Alaska?

Definitely adds some color to the issue. I think it probably reflects more poorly on Congress than Palin.

and Cristoph: I feel your pain man. You are slicin' like a hammer, but this ain't the thread for it.

Posted by: krakatoa at August 31, 2008 07:59 PM (lxcmS)

12 I don't remember her saying that Alaska returned the money, just that she said no to the Ted Stevens Political Career Memorial Bridge.

Posted by: Gran at August 31, 2008 08:00 PM (mTWN+)

13 but the point is he did it TWICE, something no one has nailed him for

Biden is a garden variety fool.  I'll wait for a major gaffe before firing.  Really dude, this one is small potatoes.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 31, 2008 08:03 PM (6L459)

14 krakatoa,

I'm just saying that 'we'd build it ourselves' line is a lot different than, 'I told them thanks but no thanks on the bridge but we kept the money'. The latter version isn't really a big applause line is it?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with what she did in keeping the money, I just think the reality may not exactly match the sheriff of the budget, we Alaskans take care of ourselves rhetoric.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 31, 2008 08:06 PM (hlYel)

15 I don't remember her saying that Alaska returned the money, just that she said no to the Ted Stevens Political Career Memorial Bridge.

Gran,

No, she made it sound like they never got it.

And it was Don Young who pushed for it.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 31, 2008 08:09 PM (hlYel)

16 from the article: "And as mayor of the small town of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002, Palin also hired a Washington lobbying firm that helped secure $8 million in congressionally directed spending projects, known as earmarks" "Wasilla's lobbying firm was headed by Steven Silver — a former chief of staff to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a key proponent of the bridge project." Now all of a sudden the Wasilla Mayor's job isn't Mayberry USA nickel-n-dime bs? Note how an ex-employee of Stevens she hired = she's in bed with Stevens. Has USA Today reported on Obama's VP pick months ago said Obama doesn't have enough experience to be prez?

Posted by: liontooth at August 31, 2008 08:10 PM (n3pxb)

17 Yeah, I think you're right, DrewM, I misheard her or *possibly* she said it elsewhere.

Anyway, I'm not terribly bugged by her keeping the federal money. I would. I'm sure Alaska pays lots of federal taxes.

It's not using federal infrastructure money that's the big problem (one could argue about how this should be funded, state and/or federal). The problem is wasting it on a dumb-ass project. Using the same money to maintain Alaska's many roads, bridges, etc., that connect real people at a reasonable cost is a good use.

The problem wasn't "bridge" it was the "to nowhere" part.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:12 PM (hawOV)

18 The problem wasn't "bridge" it was the "to nowhere" part.

Christoph,

Fair enough but that's not what I'm talking about. The rhetoric in her speech was incredibly appealing. It also appears to be misleading.

She wanted credit for saying not to the money and being willing to build one with her own state's fund. The truth is she took the money and just spent it on other projects. How come she's willing to build a bridge with her state's money but not fund those other projects?

I'm not saying what she did with the money was bad or wrong but her rhetoric was misleading at best.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 31, 2008 08:16 PM (hlYel)

19 What did you guys do with all the comments under this thread?

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:19 PM (hawOV)

20 Ah, they're back.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:19 PM (hawOV)

21 What is the problem with the Gang of 14, anyways?

They got some of Bush's appointments through. And got Roberts on the Supreme Court, right?

Posted by: lorien1973 at August 31, 2008 08:19 PM (fE4SP)

22 Biden is a garden variety fool.  I'll wait for a major gaffe before firing.  Really dude, this one is small potatoes.

Yeah but when McCain does the same it's reported as evidence he's got dementia. Besides, the fun part is to get under Biden's skin. He's such an arrogant prick that he will snap in a nasty way, like he did with that dude 20 years ago re: the IQ/college thing.

Check this out: Biden received 5 deferments before being declared medically ineligible for Vietnam because of Asthma in 1968. Biden is now 65

The Biden campaign states, "As a result of a physical exam on April 5, 1968, Joe Biden was classified 1-Y and disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager," said David Wade, a campaign spokesman.

So if when Biden was 25 he was disqualified, is he healthy enough to be president NOW, 40 years later?

Posted by: liontooth at August 31, 2008 08:25 PM (n3pxb)

23 So we've gone from no experience to a governor savvy enough to kill a useless, corrupt ear mark and help her state out with money for useful projects.  Which is it?  Too inexperienced to be in Washington or whipping Washington's rear end at its own game?  Not only is there no there there there's no scandal there either.  Look you can't let the left have it every way it wants it.  She can't be a supra genius and a complete rube at the same time.  Fellas piss on your losses.  Celebrate your victories.  Do any of you understand how this politics thing works?
Seriously though, it's interesting that the coverage at least on this story has gone from painting her as a rube to painting her as a player.  Either way it's a loss for the other side.  And probably a sign of increasing nervousness at DNC head quarters.  Better and better...unless you're Shrum and Brookhiser or silly enough to listen to an MSM lobbyist...er...reporter.

Posted by: The Obvious at August 31, 2008 08:31 PM (1g+FW)

24 liontooth, further Biden failed his R.O.T.C. exam. I agree this would help get under Biden's skin. I can't see why this isn't worth the few minutes it would have taken to post it, but I guess I look at things a lot differently than most people. That's okay; I'll drop it. Opportunity lost.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:36 PM (hawOV)

25 R.O.T.C. "course" I meant.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:36 PM (hawOV)

26 Let Palin and McCain and their record breaking crowds fence wiith an increasingly shrill and panic stricken MSM.  Get back to work on Ayers. 

Posted by: The Obvious at August 31, 2008 08:41 PM (1g+FW)

27 There is a there there.

Posted by: The Obvious at August 31, 2008 08:42 PM (1g+FW)

28 We goofy, red state rubes shouldn't have to explain this stuff to serious, big city  political guys.   But we don't have the disadvantage of bothering to listen to MSM reporters very much.

Posted by: The Obvious at August 31, 2008 08:45 PM (1g+FW)

29 Christoph, do you have a blog? If not start one and post it. You might attract rabid leftists you can torment!

Posted by: liontooth at August 31, 2008 08:46 PM (n3pxb)

30 I don't post consistently enough to build a big audience, liontooth. I sometimes disappear for weeks at a time.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:50 PM (hawOV)

31 Geez Christoph, you should see how little I post on my own. But, you get it out there, you get it off your chest, and you can the links/facts handy to refer back to.

BTW does someone have a link to the Palin acceptance speech in text to the part about the bridge?

Posted by: liontooth at August 31, 2008 08:56 PM (n3pxb)

32 Better yet see if you can help Christoph push Biden's failure to pass his ROTC exam into the public eye. After the way John Kerry questioned the troops intelligence that should be a hoot.

Posted by: The Obvious at August 31, 2008 08:57 PM (1g+FW)

33 Yeah, DrewM. posted it above in in comment 4. He was right, at least about that speech, but I could swear I saw her say that somewhere.

I may be wrong, probably drunk.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:58 PM (hawOV)

34 I read somewhere today (NO idea where; it's in one of somebody's Palin links somewhere) that the way earmarks for Alaska basically work is, they get an earmark for something, and then their general federal funding gets cut by an equivalent amount. Earmarks don't pour more money into the state; they just attach extra strings to the usual amount the state would get anyway.

I don't know how accurate that is, but if I have it close to right, then refusing the BtoN and keeping the money isn't dishonest on Sarah's part at all. Though it could be phrased to look that way.

Posted by: Nevicata at August 31, 2008 09:00 PM (8DaJ6)

35 Nevicata, you'd be entirely right if that's the way it is done, and I think that would undercut DrewM's point, probably to his relief.

However, that's a big if. Any chance you could find a source?

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 09:02 PM (hawOV)

36 Nevicata,

What Ace said but also that's still not the impression she left with that 'no thanks' line. She wasn't saying she wanted the freedom to spend federal money as she saw fit, she said they would do it with their own money if they needed a bridge.

I told Congress, "Thanks, but no thanks," on that bridge to nowhere.
(APPLAUSE)
If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves.

That statement doesn't equal the situation you describe.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 31, 2008 09:32 PM (hlYel)

37 I am so f'n puzzled by the Dem's lines of attacks thus far.

1. They attack Palin as inexperienced knowing full well Obama is weak on this issue. I mean she is after all the VP nominee. Don't they think this issue might eventually migrate back to the top of the ticket?

2. They try to group her with the corrupt Alaskan political class even though she got elected fighting against, and (cough) CHICAGO (cough). She tried to get a police officer fired for....eh... tasering a 10 year old and threatening to kill her father. Yikes!

3. They attack her on pork? WTF? Pork? Do they know how badly McCain wants to talk about Obama and pork? Michelle's 200K raise? Reskoe and Obama's "affordable housing" scheme?

And that's just the stupid shit, not the crazy shit.

Posted by: runninrebel at August 31, 2008 09:33 PM (qAMnO)

38 Hmm.

According to FactCheck.org, an earmark isn't necessarily additional funding from the feds, so much as it specifies how a portion of the funds given by the feds must be spent.

So it provides a way for a wily Congresscritter to get around having to persuade his state legislature to spend more money from the general fund on his district.

So the only question remaining would seem to be, in absence of the earmark, would the Feds have given 400 million less to Alaska that year?

Posted by: krakatoa at August 31, 2008 09:34 PM (lxcmS)

39 krakatoa,

I think you're right that an earmark can be extra money or a string attached to money that would normally flow (transportation aide has a formula I think for states).

Even if it was the stings kind, I still think her statement was misleading. She wasn't saying she as Governor should have more freedom of action with money but that she would use the state's money if they wanted a damn bridge. I don't think that's a fair statement of what happened.

You can see here that the Palin administration didn't swear off earmarks entirely.

The Palin administration has responded to this message by requesting 31 earmarks, down from 54 last year. Of these, 27 involve continuing or previous appropriations and four are new. The total dollar amount of these requests has been reduced from about $550 million in the previous year to just less than $200 million.

That's obviously an improvement but not exactly the impression she gave on Friday.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 31, 2008 09:43 PM (hlYel)

40 36 >>>I read somewhere today (NO idea where; it's in one of somebody's Palin links somewhere) that the way earmarks for Alaska basically work is, they get an earmark for something, and then their general federal funding gets cut by an equivalent amount. Earmarks don't pour more money into the state; they just attach extra strings to the usual amount the state would get anyway.

That can't be t he case.  If it were, they'd never ask for earmarks.  People woud rather have the freedom to spend their money as they like.

I am the one who posted it.  here - http://minx.cc/?blog=86&post=272043#c2830834 I know it to be true of earmarks in general.  I will have to check to confirm if it is specifically true about the Gravina Island Bridge.  I will do so and get back to you.

Posted by: jc at August 31, 2008 09:44 PM (E9BMW)

41 "That statement doesn't equal the situation you describe."

Actually it does if she's saying fuck off to telling us to spend the money on a worthless bridge, we'll spend it how we want thankyouverymuch.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 09:51 PM (hawOV)

42 There is one particularly good reason for Alaska to request an earmark.  We are beset by federal regulation.  Almost everything that is not bedrock is wetland.  To build damn near anything requires an Environmental Impact Statement rather than a more reasonable environmental document.  The delays and wasted money are outrageous..

So . . . when congress orders a project, the Purpose and Need for the project is established by law and moves beyond the scope of anything a federal bureaucrat is allowed to contest.  Earmarks are one way to cut red tape and bureaucratic power plays.

Posted by: jc at August 31, 2008 09:52 PM (E9BMW)

43 http://www.akrepublicans.org/gatto/24/24ssi/gatt2006011801i.pdf

Here's a primer.  Make up your own mind.

Posted by: jc at August 31, 2008 10:01 PM (E9BMW)

44 The Obvious, I like your idea of the Biden ROTC!

Where they stand (10/22/2006)

5. Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?

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.

.

Posted by: Karl R. at August 31, 2008 10:02 PM (n3pxb)

45 Anchorage Daily news
Palin touts stance on 'Bridge to Nowhere,' doesn't note flip-flop

But Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.

"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.

Posted by: liontooth at August 31, 2008 10:09 PM (n3pxb)

46 Anchorage Daily news cont.

The bridge was intended to provide access to Ketchikan's airport on lightly populated Gravina Island, opening up new territory for expansion at the same time. Alaska's congressional delegation endured withering criticism for earmarking $223 million for Ketchikan and a similar amount for a crossing of Knik Arm at Anchorage.

Congress eventually removed the earmark language but the money still went to Alaska, leaving it up to the administration of then-Gov. Frank Murkowski to decide whether to go ahead with the bridges or spend the money on something else.

In September, 2006, Palin showed up in Ketchikan on her gubernatorial campaign and said the bridge was essential for the town's prosperity.

She said she could feel the town's pain at being derided as a "nowhere" by prominent politicians, noting that her home town, Wasilla, had recently been insulted by the state Senate president, Ben Stevens.

"OK, you've got Valley trash standing here in the middle of nowhere," Palin said, according to an account in the Ketchikan Daily News. "I think we're going to make a good team as we progress that bridge project."

One year later, Ketchikan's Republican leaders said they were blindsided by Palin's decision to pull the plug.

Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Saturday that as projected costs for the Ketchikan bridge rose to nearly $400 million, administration officials were telling Ketchikan that the project looked less likely. Local leaders shouldn't have been surprised when Palin announced she was turning to less-costly alternatives, Leighow said. Indeed, Leighow produced a report quoting Palin, late in the governor's race, indicating she would also consider alternatives to a bridge.


Posted by: liontooth at August 31, 2008 10:15 PM (n3pxb)

47 Well, lets see here. Is the bridge being built? No. Is she the one that stopped it from being built? Yeah. Is Ketchikan mayor Bob Weinstein acting like a pissy little bitch because he didn't get his precious bridge? Yeah. This ranks about a -1 on the give a shit o-meter.

Posted by: cutting through the crap at August 31, 2008 10:35 PM (ynsah)

48 Yeah, they will MAKE this an issue if they can, but I get the impression that it's another NON issue.


She said NO on the bridge, not necessarily on the earmark.


Can't wait to see how the socialists spin this one....

Posted by: Kal at August 31, 2008 11:05 PM (vYdn0)

49 Ok here's a question, can she(or anyone) give BACK the federal money under their own authority? I'm guessing no. Killing a crappy, expensive project is difficult enough, but giving the money back must be near impossible in today's politics.

Think of the children!

Posted by: greg s at September 01, 2008 12:05 AM (DlMoL)

50 Ok here's a question, can she(or anyone) give BACK the federal money under their own authority

Yes, or the Feds can demand the money back.  The way it works is the Federal Highways Administration authorizes the Alaska State DOT to complete a project in phases.  (eg. pre-design & enviro, design, right-of-way, construction)  As each phase is completed, the FHWA authorizes another.  If the state does not follow through on the project they have to give the money back.  That is why ADOT is building the scaled down road on Gravina Island.  Otherwise they would have to give all the EIS and design money back.

That's a key reason why Alaskans hate earmarks.  Usually the earmark is not enough money to complete the project.  It is just enough money to get the state or locality started on projects they can't really afford.  By the time they figure it out they are screwed.

Posted by: jc at September 01, 2008 12:25 AM (E9BMW)

51 Obama voted for this little fiasco, did he not?  Yet Palin is being attacked for it.

Logic must have left the building, along with shame.

Posted by: MarkD at September 01, 2008 02:48 AM (qZFLO)

52 Palin and McCain better realize that that the MSM cannot let her succeed  at the expense of their lover. She is an unknown and therefore a potential danger.
No smear will be too stupid not to let loose- they had better understand that and react when needed.

Posted by: jjshaka at September 01, 2008 04:37 AM (Rr/+R)

53 I do road and bridge projects with FHWA $ - JC in #51 is exactly right. Future phases are not guaranteed funding and there's usually a required local match %. If the costs escalated as fast/high as $400 million, the locals may not have the required match programmed and available...and no, you usually do not just get to keep the Fed $ and spend them on something else - they are specifically programmed in the FTIP

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The Spring Festival had finished, we have to go to work again. Though I am a little unwilling to start new work, there is something happy that I have recorded some funny videos of my family and friends with Sony's camcorders, and I can enjoy these videos on my iPod using perfect http://www.mtsconverterdownload.com/ MTS Converter. MTS Converter is fast MTS file converter to convert HD video to general video, convert general video to HD video, convert among HD videos, such as HD TS, HD MTS, HD WMV, HD MPG, HD MPEG4, H.264/AVC , HD AVI, HD ASF, etc.

Posted by: mary land at March 15, 2010 11:02 PM (XXaF9)

64

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