Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The VP to Nowhere

Wow... So, there's a cornucopia of news and items to talk about, but so little time... But this just had to be linked to.

I was watching CNN last night (a truly rare occasion), and on Larry King Live, there was James Carville, DNC strategist and the voice of Foghorn Leghorn*, and some Congressional Republican woman with a face so immobile she made Nancy Pelosi's look life-like, debating about Sarah Palin, McCain's VP pick.

Carville kept pointing out that Palin was neither experienced nor qualified to be a VP, having only been governor of Alaska for less than 2 years, and having been mayor of a town of 7,000 people. (Someone had given him a copied or faxed picture of the town hall of Wasilla, the town, which was a modest one-floor building resembling a mini-mall outlet. Carville sputtered, at his most Foghorn-Leghornest, "It, it, uh, it, uh, it looks like a BAKE SHOP, for Pete's sake!") The Republican womanimatronic kept saying she was eminently qualified, tough, and a reformer -- one who had cut budgets and gotten rid of the outrageous Bridge-to-Nowhere, baby of Alaskan Sen. Ted "Indictment Smash!" Stevens.

Well, turns out that actually:

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.
Because, you see

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.

[...] "I think we're going to make a good team as we progress that bridge project."

But, then
One year later, Ketchikan's Republican leaders said they were blindsided by Palin's decision to pull the plug... Palin's 2007 press release announcing her change of course came just a month after McCain himself slammed the Ketchikan bridge for taking money that could have been used to shore up dangerous bridges like one that collapsed in Minnesota...
Mayor Weinstein said many residents remain irked by Palin's failure to come to Ketchikan since that time to defend her decision -- despite promises that she would.
So... tough... reformer... how? Er, yeah... about that...

Now, since I've made such expansive use of the article in a bit of a stretch of fair use, you really should go read the whole original Anchorage Daily News article.

In other news, Daktari asks an interesting question about my views on why a two-party system sucks and a multi-party system would be better, but I'll have to demur to answer any more than I have for today.

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