Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bridge to Somewhere

It amazes me that the Obama people are still squabbling over whether or not Governor Palin actually killed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, to the point of accusing the McCain campaign of outright lies. Thing is, Alaska Democrats seem to think she did. And Alaskan newspapers. Regardless of the merits of the argument, is this really an issue the Obama campaign wants to draw attention to? Did they really think nobody was going to look up how Senators Obama and Biden had voted on that particular amendment? In fact, knowing that they had both not only voted for it once, but then voted specifically against diverting the "Bridge to Nowhere" funds to Hurricane Katrina relief, you'd think they might have wanted to just let the story die.


Shane said...

This is a strawman argument. It's not about whether she killed the Bridge or not - it's whether she wanted federal funds for it or not. When she abandoned it, it was because she'd be forced to spend money out of her own state budget. Not that she's been the model for fiscal discipline anyway.

Forbes Fact Check on this story. Almost every other media outlet has similar reporting. And don't complain about liberal bias in the media - FOrbes is pretty Republican-friendly and anyway, in this case the facts skew against Palin regardless.

So here I am, calling Palin an outright liar, repeating this lie I think over 23 times by now. I apologize for the harsh tone - I just don't want her to be VP because I think she sucks at possibly everything.

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

From Forbes: "THE FACTS: Palin did abandon plans to build the nearly $400 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport. But she made her decision after the project had become an embarrassment to the state, after federal dollars for the project were pulled back and diverted to other uses in Alaska, and after she had appeared to support the bridge during her campaign for governor."

Yeah, you can definitely say that the McCain-Palin campaign is misrepresenting the facts. I guess I'm a hair-splitter, but while "I killed the Bridge to Nowhere" might be misleading, it's not a lie. Not to play "gotcha!" games, but if Obama can get away with passing off as momentous his signature on an inconsequential amendment to a 17-year-old piece of wildly popular and successful legislation, an amendment that was so non-controversial that it was folded into the routine State Department authorization bill without so much as a voice vote, well, there seems to be a bit of misrepresentation all around. Caveat emptor, as they say.

Shane said...

I don't think "folded into a routine bill without so much as a voice vote" is nearly sufficient to prove non-controversialness, but that's not relevant to the point you're making anyway. I'm still pissed about how online poker was outlawed in a last-minute amendment to a commerce bill without discussion/vote.

I stand by my earlier point that "I said 'Thanks but no thanks' to Congress for funding for the bridge to nowhere" is a lie. She, like any other Alaskan politician, is very much a friend of earmarks from the federal government. Here's an excellent chart on earmark spending in Arizona and Alaska . I believe McCain is sincere when he says that he thinks earmarks are a disgrace. However, I don't believe that Palin is sincere when she says the same thing.

Now, on nonproliferation, I truly believe that reducing the world's supplies of catastrophic weapons needs to remain a high priority, and that it will take strong leadership from the United States (and its allies) to reduce its own stockpiles of nuclear warheads, chemical weapons, and weaponized biological agents. MANPADs, though useful for legitimate military purposes, are also really effective tools of terrorism. So I do think that targeting MANPADs is a worthy goal. If the execution is flawed because we took them away from Georgians who needed them, well - we should really be more careful about unintended consequences. I personally think that getting them involved in Iraq was more devastating to their readiness, but either way, we screwed Georgia in more than one way. The next administration owes them a formal apology and concrete reparations of some form, because the U.S. simply isn't credible anymore in its promises to other nations.

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

I'm not saying that the MANPADS amendment was wrongheaded, though it might have deserved a better host than a nuclear nonproliferation regime. I think PowerLine's correspondent was unfair in bringing up the Georgia connection as anything other than a routine example of the rule of unintended consequences. However, I do think that Obama's characterization of this particular amendment as an example of working across the aisle to "secure loose nukes", when it had nothing at all to do with nuclear weapons, is at least as disingenuous as Palin's obfuscation of her record on earmarks.