Palin was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it

posted at 11:58 am on September 1, 2008 by Allahpundit

Eh. McCain was against offshore drilling before he was for it. It’s amazing how willing voters are to embrace flip-flops as principled reconsiderations when they end up in line with majority opinion.

Note to Maverick: Please do test my theory by shamelessly reversing yourself on ANWR and amnesty.

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

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, according to public spending records compiled by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste and lobbying documents…

She changed her mind, [her spokesman] 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.”…

McAlister said he was unaware of the details of Wasilla’s earmarks. But, he added, “As mayor of the city, her charge was very different than it is now. She’s obviously taking a much broader look at things as governor.”

More at the Anchorage Daily News in a generally negative piece noting that the state didn’t give the funds earmarked for the bridge back to Congress even after torpedoing the project and that she’s still going ahead with a $25 million road to nowhere because, according to state officials, “the money would otherwise have to be returned to the federal government.” The most interesting (speculative) detail, echoed in this Reuters piece quoting some of her political opponents? That she may have flip-flopped precisely in order to make a splash nationally, suggesting that the Barracuda had her eye on higher office as far back as last year. The ADN goes so far as to note that her press release reversing herself on the bridge came just one month after McCain started knocking it. Was she trying to get out in front on the veepstakes? Maybe! Except that, er, (a) McCain was politically dead in the water at the time of that press release and therefore not the Republican candidate one would want to ingratiate oneself with, and (b) as has been widely reported, the two barely knew each other before last week, which isn’t an approach an ambitious young pol would normally take to get in good with a future POTUS.

Anyway. As with so much else about Palin, the smaller, vivid, personal details undercut the political liabilities. If she’s just another fatcat phony reformer feeding from the trough, what’s up with this?

One of Palin’s first acts as governor was to sell the governor’s jet on eBay. She thought it was wasteful and, besides, couldn’t even land on many of the state’s short, gravel airstrips. (“It was for out-of-state trips,” she said, disapprovingly.) She keeps a float plane, along with some snowmobiles, in her backyard in Wasilla. At the governor’s mansion in Juneau, she got rid of the chef. The NEWSWEEK reporter asked her what working mother in her right mind would dismiss someone whose sole job was to cook for her family. She replied, “I don’t want them thinking when I’m done being governor that it’s normal to have a chef. It’s OK for them to have macaroni and cheese.”

That’s worth twice as much politically as the bridge to nowhere meme; I don’t know why the GOP isn’t pushing it harder. But then, I also don’t know why they’d let her go out there and tout her actions on the bridge to nowhere in her announcement speech on Friday knowing — presumably — that she had initially supported it. Exit question from Marc Ambinder, who casually smears Palin as an ignoramus about the VP job in an otherwise interesting piece: Are we absolutely sure she’s been thoroughly vetted? Gulp.


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