DISCLAIMER: This blog was supposed to be written within the confines of the group Stop Obama Express. As the powers that be handling this new site rollout have either chosen not to address the problems within groups or are simply trying to phase them out I had no choice but to put it here.It will be moved when possible.
OK, with the legalities out of the way so I don't gain anymore enemies, let me gain some more enemies by exposing the Obama campaign's completely brain dead plan to attack Governor Sarah Palin on "the bridge to nowhere".
Flashback 3 weeks ago. Some woman nobody has ever heard of is named to McCains ticket. A former beauty queen from ALASKA, no less. Wow. On top of that, she only had 20 months experience as a Governor (definitely frowned upon in an election of all Senators) and had only been the Mayor of a very small city before that. (Hey, I thought this election was about experience vs. change?) Much hand wringing ensues on both side. The left wingnuts immediately do what wingnuts do best...make stuff up and attack. The Obama campaign, caught completely by surprise, didn't know HOW to react. First citing lack of experience until they realized that was a REAL bad idea with Barrack himself at the top of THEIR ticket. First few day, Obama had to let dailykos speak for him...bad idea.
Let's move forward a week. Two weeks ago. This nobody from nowhere, Sarah Palin, delivers one of the most memorable speeches in recent political history. Uh Oh. The Obama campaign scours the speech over and over looking for something, anything, to attack. Found it. Bridge to nowhere. GO!
For the last two weeks the Obama campaing has been playing soundbite politics with Governor Palins statement "I stopped the bridge to nowhere"
Did she lie? Not in the least, but we'll come back to that.
The rhetoric reached fever pitch with either the Obama campaign itself or it's surrogates loudly proclaiming:
"Sarah Palin asked for earmarks for the bridge to nowhere" (outright lie)
"Palin was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it" (lie steeped in a half truth)
"Alaska didn't return the money for the bridge to nowhere" (another lie steeped in half truth)
I HATE soundbite politics. But in this case I kinda like it.
Why? The McCain campaign set Obama up for this. And the Obama campaign bit...hook, line, and sinker, exposing just how inexperienced Barry O is in national politics. You think I'm crazy for claiming this is a GOOD thing for McCain? Let me explain.
Let me start by defining what an "earmark" is. It's simply an appropriation of money piggy backed onto federal legislation. Usually they are unrelated. For example, if there is a bill that sends money to our troops in Iraq, they can literally add on to that bill to ALSO give money to worm farmers in Idaho. This is common practice and occurs on virtually every bill that passes in the U.S. Senate. It's basically a bribe to ensure the vote of the overall bill by one Senator or another. Earmarks happen on EVERY bill passed in the Senate and are THE biggest waste of Federal money. One last thing on earmarks. They are requested by SENATORS, not GOVERNORS.
OK, with the definition out of the way, the bridge to nowhere was an earmark project. Senator Ted Stevens secured that earmark for his state. It's what Senator do, I guess.
Sarah Palin WASN'T EVEN GOVERNOR at the time. She was running for the job. So much for her requesting the money, eh?
OK, let's tackle the claim that she was for it before she was against it. This is a half truth. At the time she was on the campaign trail. She did, in fact, state that she disliked the term "bridge to nowhere" as it was already being called and she did consider the project as viable while she was running. HOWEVER, once she took office and saw the actual budget and the dollars being spent she abruptly put a halt to it.
Let me back up for a second. Do you recall Bill Clinton running on a platform that he was going to lower middle class taxes? Do you recall him winning the election, examining the budget, then enacting the largest tax INCREASE on the middle class in U.S. History? What sounds good on the campaign trail often changes once you get into office and actually crunch the numbers.
That's what happened with Palin. She got into office, saw the immense corruption and waste, and took a knife to it. Sold the plane on EBay (true story, she didn't make that up, either) stopped the "bridge to nowhere" and went after every corrupt politician in State Government.
What about keeping the money? Glad you asked. See, the Congress caught a LOT of flack about that particular earmark (a drop in the bucket of what Congress doles out every year) in large part because JOHN McCAIN kept bringing it up in his crusade to get rid of earmarks, so they changed the designation from being for the bridge to being general highway funding. There was nothing TO give back. And there is no mechanism in place to return earmark money anyhow. Alaska simply had an additional $213mi in their highway budget. But it was discretionary funding. Meaning it technically could have been used on building the bridge. Gov. Sarah took a look at the budget and how few people were going to benefit from said bridge and said...uh, no.
OK buddy. Sounds well and good but you promised that this was going to be Obama's undoing. Spill...
See, McCain set the Obama campaign up with this move. The more they whine and cry about the "bridge to nowhere" the more he sits back and laughs. Why? Simple. McCain is 100% against earmarks. In his entire tenure in Congress he's never asked for, nor received an earmark for his state. Not once. In fact, He vows to veto ANY bill that contains an earmark that crosses his desk as POTUS. Sarah Palin doesn't hurt him in the least in that regard because earmarks aren't obtained by Governors, they are obtained by Sentators. SHE can't be blamed for the bridge to nowhere funding.
Senator Barrack Obama requested $311mil in earmarks for obscure projects in Illinois last year.
Senator Joe Biden requested $330mil in earmarks for obscure projects in Delaware last year.
$641mil...well over HALF A BILLION DOLLARS between them. JUST LAST YEAR. On "bridge to nowhere" type projects.
McCain/Palin - $0
Good luck dealing with this in the debates Senator Obama. Sound bites don't work so well there...and you brought it on yourself rookie.