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Crossing the Bridge to Nowhere

By Brian | September 19, 2008 | Share on Facebook

As you are no doubt aware, we have moved into that phase of the campaign where anything either candidate says is a “bald faced lie” and the “a new low in presidential campaigning.” I ignore most of these stories because they usually turn out to be just as untruthful (if not moreso) than the incident they’re describing, and both campaigns have figured out that no one ever gets eviscerated for lying about their opponent’s lying.

The one story that caught my eye, though, was the “Bridge to Nowhere” story. Each side has their talking point slogan (Democrats: “She was for it before she was against it,” Republicans: “I told Congress ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ on that Bridge to Nowhere’), and of course, each side is shocked…SHOCKED!! at how untruthful and negative the other side has become. But isn’t this an easy thing to check out? After all, we’re not talking about some abstract position on an issue that someone changed their mind about, we’re talking about the allocation of dollars from party to party and how/when it was spent. What a strange thing to lie about then, no?

Anyway, I checked it out. What follows is, in my humble opinion, an excellent case study in how politicians (on both sides of the aisle) lie.


There now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Not exactly a sound bite, but if you’re willing to read 6,000 pages of Harry Potter, you can probably skim through ten bullet points to understand what really happened here.

Now, let’s look at all the accusations about lying:

Was Sarah Palin for the bridge before she was against it?
Well, she made a campaign promise to improve infrastructure, and cited the bridge as an example of that. As governor, though, she saw the project as inefficient and overly expensive, cancelled it, and took other steps to improve infrastructure in more cost effective ways. At best, I think we have a case of a politician over-promising during a campaign (“Dog Bites Man! Film at eleven…”), although she did keep her broader campaign promise to focus on infrastructure.

Did Sarah Palin take all that earmark money, despite claiming she’s against earmarks?
No. Her predecessor took the money. She didn’t give it back, but she did re-allocate it to what she thought best served the people of Alaska.

Did Sarah Palin “Tell Congress ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ on the Bridge to Nowhere?”
No. Her predecessor told Congress “Thanks,” and then she told her state legislature “Thanks, but no thanks.” So, points to her for cancelling the project, but deductions for over-stating her involvement at the federal level.

All in all, this wasn’t nearly as sinister as everyone’s making it out to be. If our next President (or Vice President, or the next mayor of Wasilla for that matter…) is as fiscally responsible as Sarah Palin seems to have been here, I think we’re in pretty good shape. That said, this is an example of good money management, not an example of broad-based reform as she’s now claiming on the campaign trail.

One other thing: the Associated Press is reporting this week that while Sarah Palin may have said “No thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere, she is still funding a $600 million bridge from Anchorage (Alaska’s biggest city) to Wasilla, her hometown (population: 7,000). (via).

Check out the map. Anyone believe this is a bridge to Wasilla? Good. When the Democrats make a campaign ad about it, you’ll be prepared.

Topics: News and/or Media, Political Rantings | No Comments »


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