DeMint: Palin stopped the Bridge that Obama supported, and more

posted at 12:05 pm on September 10, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Senator Jim DeMint has provided a clear voice against the corruption of pork-barrel spending, often castigating his own party while doing so.   Along with John McCain, Tom Coburn, and Russ Feingold (D-WI), he has demanded that Congress act to stop the waste and influence peddling that earmarks subsidize.  As such, he has a clear understanding of those who represent change, and those who offer business as usual, and he makes the distinction clear in his essay in the Wall Street Journal, emphases mine:

Mrs. Palin used her veto pen to slash more local projects than any other governor in the state’s history. She cut nearly 10% of Alaska’s budget this year, saving state residents $268 million. This included vetoing a $30,000 van for Campfire USA and $200,000 for a tennis court irrigation system. She succinctly justified these cuts by saying they were “not a state responsibility.”

Meanwhile in Washington, Mr. Obama voted for numerous wasteful earmarks last year, including: $12 million for bicycle paths, $450,000 for the International Peace Museum, $500,000 for a baseball stadium and $392,000 for a visitor’s center in Louisiana.

Mrs. Palin cut Alaska’s federal earmark requests in half last year, one of the strongest moves against earmarks by any governor. It took real leadership to buck Alaska’s decades-long earmark addiction.

Mr. Obama delivered over $100 million in earmarks to Illinois last year and has requested nearly a billion dollars in pet projects since 2005. His running mate, Joe Biden, is still indulging in earmarks, securing over $90 million worth this year.

Mrs. Palin also killed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in her own state. Yes, she once supported the project: But after witnessing the problems created by earmarks for her state and for the nation’s budget, she did what others like me have done: She changed her position and saved taxpayers millions. Even the Alaska Democratic Party credits her with killing the bridge.

When the Senate had its chance to stop the Bridge to Nowhere and transfer the money to Katrina rebuilding, Messrs. Obama and Biden voted for the $223 million earmark, siding with the old boys’ club in the Senate. And to date, they still have not publicly renounced their support for the infamous earmark.

Who really represents change?  Certainly not the duo that earmarks tens of millions of dollars every year, and in Obama’s case hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  Obama and Biden have participated in the spoils system that enables massive, wasteful spending by essentially bribing legislators with home-town projects to bolster their political power.  Obama even earmarked federal money for his wife’s employer without a thought as to the conflict of interest that represents.

Obama now wants to attack Sarah Palin for changing her mind on the Bridge to Nowhere.  That would certainly be reasonable if Obama had ever opposed it himself.  It might be reasonable if Obama chose to defend the $200 million boondoggle that would have served all of 50 people in Alaska.  But neither are true; Obama has not admitted that his votes to support the Bridge to Nowhere were a mistake, nor has he offered a reason why Palin’s change of mind should be criticized.

John McCain opposed the earmark all along, as he opposes all earmarks.  Sarah Palin has cut earmarks at some political risk in Alaska, and eventually made the right decision on the Ketchikan Bridge.  What has Barack Obama done to eliminate wasteful government spending and stop earmarks?  What has Biden done?

They’re the problem, not the solution.  The more they talk about earmarks, the more this becomes apparent.  McCain and Palin have actually taken action to reduce earmarks and curb pork-barrel spending, while Obama and Biden have only fed at the trough.


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To paraphrase Sly and the Family Stone,

All the memes go home!

Mr. D on September 10, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Even the Alaska Democratic Party credits her with killing the bridge.

Ed, they took this “credit” off their Site. You can not find it now.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:09 PM

It’s really not fair to bring up history when you’re confronting liberals with – history. Especially when it comes to hypocrits like ZerObama and Joe Gasbag.

AubieJon on September 10, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Ed, they took this “credit” off their Site. You can not find it now.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Imagine that ma’am.

Seriously upi you’re there…..

they gonna get a nuke to kill her/us or is this a dog chasing the next dog’s tail?

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Positioned as an agent of change, we see Mr. O pick as running mate a guy who’s been a Washington insider since the guy on the top of the ticket was 12 years old…or so….

The Dems had better keep trashing the Republican ticket on style…they haven’t the ammunition to rail against them on substance.

Puritan1648 on September 10, 2008 at 12:13 PM

On the Alaska Dem party pulling the page–I know they did, but didn’t they repost it under a page about Sen. Slimeball, errr Stevens? I think one of their attacks on Stevens credits Palin for killing the bridge.

Vanceone on September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Hell I am still waiting on Sen. Coghill calling me back concerning Sen. Obama Hollis.

sven… this is old time politics here in Alaska. EVERYONE knows EVERYONE… there is now 5 degrees of seperations up here. It is maybe 1 degree.

The reporters and lawyers are becoming more translucent.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Palin didn’t save the money that was to be used on the bridge; she simply spent it elsewhere in Alaska. Here’s the story from http://www.factcheck.org/outrageous_exaggerations.html.

“A Bridge to Nowhere

McCain’s ad cites “$233 million for a bridge to nowhere,” calling the cost “outrageous.” Funding for the “bridge to nowhere,” also known as the Gravina Island bridge in Alaska, was tacked on to a 2005 transportation bill, along with projects from many other states. Whether it was truly a “bridge to nowhere” is debatable: Gravina Island, while it has almost no permanent population, is also home to the Ketchikan International Airport, which processes about 200,000 passengers a year. Alaskan officials hoped that the bridge would simplify airport access and allow development on Gravina, according to Alaska’s Department of Transportation. The bridge was not the only or the most expensive project attached to the transportation bill, and it may not have been the most frivolous. But it became a symbol for government pork.

The transportation bill did include a total of $223 million (not $233 million, as the ad says) earmarked for the Gravina bridge – $100 million for construction, plus $18.75 million a year for four years, and an additional $48 million to build an access road. McCain tried, unsuccessfully, to add a “sense of the Senate” amendment to the bill, stating a general objection to earmarks; in the end he voted against the legislation. Several months later, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) tried to divert the Gravina funds to a bridge in need of repair over Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans. McCain was not present to vote on Coburn’s amendment proposing this change, which did not pass. Instead, Congress removed Gravina’s earmarks, tossing that money into Alaska’s general transportation pot to be used however the state chose. McCain wasn’t there for that vote, either.

In light of the furor over the “bridge to nowhere,” Alaska’s governor opted to use the money for other pursuits. The bridge was never built, but McCain has been using it as his prime pork example since 2005, even blaming it for the Minneapolis bridge collapse in August 2007. (He cited it as an example of a pet project that diverted money from necessary highway maintenance.)

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

there is now 5 degrees of seperations up here. It is maybe 1 degree.

Would help if I had more caffine in my system. sighs.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:16 PM

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Jim, that story is a little biast. There were 2 bridges in that “pork barrel” offering. Katchican was just one, the other was for Wasilla and Anchorage to connect.

But no one ever talks about that part of it.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Ok, so what’s the full story, upinak?

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Now, this is an ISSUE, not some BS about PIGS and LIPSTICK… The fact is PALIN did kill the bridge and many other wasteful projects in ALASKA… Now attack B. HUSSEIN on the nearly 1 BILLION DOLLARS in EARMARKS he has gotten for ILLINOIS… She has a BILLION DOLLAR surplus, while states like mine ARIZONA, has a GUV, who came into office with a SURPLUS, and now has a BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT… Issues people, ISSUES!!!

pueblo1032 on September 10, 2008 at 12:20 PM

You can put lipstick on a bridge, but it’s still a bridge.

NeighborhoodCatLady on September 10, 2008 at 12:21 PM

The Great 2008 Alaska Gold Dirt Rush.

jgapinoy on September 10, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Now everyone please don’t beat me up too bad for what I’m going to say but can we please get McCain and Palin to give new speeches they are both good don’t get me wrong but it’s been the same thing everyday we need them to mix it up state some of their ideas,I live in WV but grew up in Ohio and my daughter in law and 2 sons still live there they have both went and saw McCain this past week and both were like mom it was the same speech they really need to change things up some as these are 20 something voter’s both voting for POTUS for the first time and they need to hear more than the same ol same ol to push them more into the Republican side.

tee866 on September 10, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Ok, so what’s the full story, upinak?

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:20 PM

It was appropriated for 2 bridges. There is still money on for a Anchorage/Wasilla bridge, but the money the Alaskans have to cough up is slow… we only have so many people to tax. They also are slow to show where they want to put the bridge. Wasilla, Palmer and other residents have to drive about an hour around our Cook Inlet. It is a pain… as I do it once a week. Also the bridge here will have a toll, unlike the other bridge.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

pueblo1032 on September 10, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Agreed. Issues are more important any day.

But you can put lipstick on issues, and they’re still issues.

Ya gotta have a little fun once in a while.
:D

Marine_Bio on September 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

pueblo1032 on September 10, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Umm dude you are talking out of your ass. What accounting class did you go to that shows that? She took over for Murkowski and took care of the problems he started. Research and learn, idiot.

NeighborhoodCatLady on September 10, 2008 at 12:21 PM

http://www.mypitbullwearslipstick.com

I think you might like it.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:27 PM

pueblo1032 on September 10, 2008 at 12:20 PM

opps my bad. I misread that. Sorry!

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:28 PM

tee866 on September 10, 2008 at 12:23 PM

You’re not wrong, tee, but put things in perspective. Obama’s been using the same “4 more years/ hope/ change/ Bush/McCain” speech for 18 months. The rest of his party has been using it for 8 years.

In fairness to all, it’s called a stump speech for a reason. The whole idea is to communicate a concise, simple message.

They only difference now is that 1. McCain/ Palin actually get covered by the media for the first time… ever; and 2. the media is making an issue out of it for Palin, while they have ignored it from every other candidate who has ever run for office.

Don’t by into the media reports. They are so over the top, in the tank for Obama, it’s gone beyond ridiculous into downright disgusting.

Damiano on September 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM

As I read the stories of how Cuda wasn’t “all reform, all the time,” they strike me as her having a realistic mindset. She has done a lot up there, but at the same time, the system has gotten so skewed that a sudden perfection would bring it crashing down. She’s cutting a lot, with an eye toward more.

It goes to what I’ve said about some being too much ideological purists seeking instant grafication and perfection. It took decades and centuries to get this skewed, and it’ll take some time to get back from it.

Looks, brains, principles, ideology, love of family, and here, realism. Truly, a winner.

Tommygun on September 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM

In light of the furor over the “bridge to nowhere,” Alaska’s governor opted to use the money for other pursuits. The bridge was never built, but McCain has been using it as his prime pork example since 2005, even blaming it for the Minneapolis bridge collapse in August 2007. (He cited it as an example of a pet project that diverted money from necessary highway maintenance.)

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Jim you’re a moonbat…didn’t realize it until now you are either a bat or a moby.

Jim she’d be screwing her people in Alaska in her duty as governor if she simply gave the money back. The point was the bridge was a horrible waste not that the money was not vitally needed….there’s a word…a word people like you were throwing around for I-35 a while back….what is it…..oh yeah “infrastructure”.

The future is in Alaska for hard manufacturing, resource exploitation and growth of a commerce netwoek.

It is a hard land but wealthy….properly utilized Alaska could retire the national debt.

I’d rather get to work than mock her.

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Hell I am still waiting on Sen. Coghill calling me back concerning Sen. Obama Hollis.

sven… this is old time politics here in Alaska. EVERYONE knows EVERYONE… there is now 5 degrees of seperations up here. It is maybe 1 degree.

The reporters and lawyers are becoming more translucent.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Keep fighting the good fight. You need to sell the locals on the fact Alaska is better served with Palin being a true national figure than petty local issues killing her.

I have the wife about 80% convinced to go North.

Here’s hoping we unleash the Polar Glory.

sven

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:36 PM

Sen DeMint’s quick list of specific examples of reducing pork from McCain/Palin is a well-connected jab to Team Obama’s cheek. This is the sort of thing I wait for during the election season. It’s meat to all the abstractions running about. So far, Sen McCain is strengthened when specifics are mentioned, while Sen Obama is weakened by specifics. Specifics seem to be the antithesis to Sen Obama’s campaign. The more the election gets specific, the more evident it will be that Obama will lose the election.

Weebork on September 10, 2008 at 12:36 PM

Don’t by into the media reports. They are so over the top, in the tank for Obama, it’s gone beyond ridiculous into downright disgusting.

Damiano on September 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM

I’ll second that. I can only stand small doses at a time, but for example ABC had some goofy poll where they had segregated an internal that showed that “issues” voters favored Obama and “identity” voters favored McCain.

I’m not stupid.

It is obvious from the numbers that the “issues” are things important to liberals and the “identities” are things important to conservatives.

Dipsticks. Energy is the number one issue, regardless of political affiliation. PERIOD.

Marine_Bio on September 10, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Let me get this straight, sven:

I’m a moonbat because I pointed out that she used the money for a wasteful project somewhere else in Alaska (apparently for other transportation projects, although we don’t know which ones)?

And it was apparently her obligation to keep the money given and use it elsewhere in Alaska? Hell, she could have used it for something equally wasteful as far as we know, right?

So what did she use the money for?

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Let me get this straight, sven:

I’m a moonbat because I pointed out that she used the money for a wasteful project somewhere else in Alaska (apparently for other transportation projects, although we don’t know which ones)?

And it was apparently her obligation to keep the money given and use it elsewhere in Alaska? Hell, she could have used it for something equally wasteful as far as we know, right?

So what did she use the money for?

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:44 PM

No you are either a bat or a moby because ALL you’ve done today is look for structural flaws. I can’t recall a single optomistic post from you and I tend to keep track. You offer all this “helpful analysis” when the fact of the matter is she was for the bridge when she was less savvy on Alaska’s needs and helped kill it unlike Barry and Scranton when the time came. Now she put that money into the Alaska highway fund and worked on improving roads that bear commerce.

Alaska is a resource engine with a pitiful infrastructure. It is probably the ONLY state in the union that the argument can be made with a straight face that infrastructure capitalization is a REAL investment with longterm dividends.

That YOU have a problem with Sarah Palin working to secure Alaska’s future says more about you and your motives than hers.

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:49 PM

So what did she use the money for?

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Go to the State Website and type it in.

You can find out yourself. I don’t need to tell you, you need to find out for yourself. I just live up here and see the changes personally. So don’t take my word for it… research.

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 12:52 PM

sven10077, don’t slime Scranton by using it to represent Joe Gasbag from Chateau Country, Delaware.
From a proud coalcracker…

either orr on September 10, 2008 at 12:53 PM

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:49 PM

And here’s hoping that infrastructure capitalization gets straightened out in the next 5 years.

Been working on the spousal unit for about 10 years to move north of the 48. Some movement, but I have a couple more years of convincing.

Good roads may help
:)

Marine_Bio on September 10, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Uh, everyone, let’s not let the Dems story get clouded by the TRUTH. The Alaska Dems KNOW that Sarah killed the Bridge and now Americans KNOW that BO and Biden voted for it TWICE.

And to boot, they obviously didn’t want to help Katrina Victims either….

originalpechanga on September 10, 2008 at 12:55 PM

sven10077, don’t slime Scranton by using it to represent Joe Gasbag from Chateau Country, Delaware.
From a proud coalcracker…

either orr on September 10, 2008 at 12:53 PM

sorry “Scranton”…I am mocking Plagerizer-2 not y’all….

sven-lost ohioan

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:56 PM

And here’s hoping that infrastructure capitalization gets straightened out in the next 5 years.

Been working on the spousal unit for about 10 years to move north of the 48. Some movement, but I have a couple more years of convincing.

Good roads may help
:)

Marine_Bio on September 10, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Alaska can be waht Texas once was. We need help getting her going and then people to get the hell out of the way for two generations. I look forward to going to my spiritual home.

When I die I want 1/3d my ashes in Ohio next to my mom’s grave, 1/3d in the ocean, and 1/3d near Mt. McKinley.

God Blessed the North.

sven10077 on September 10, 2008 at 12:58 PM

They’re the problem, not the solution.

This is what needs to rise above the din of lipstick, kettles and pots. In fact, this single sentence is emblematic of the entire race. I wish we could see a hundred adds using this as a tagline.

JonPrichard on September 10, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Re: factcheck article quoted by jim m:

…Whether it was truly a “bridge to nowhere” is debatable…
jim m on September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Funny how it left out the ties to 35 acres of land owned by the former Rep. Alaskan governor who Sarah Palin unseated WSJ article

(Former) Governor Murkowski’s wife, “…Nancy is co-owner with her three siblings of a 35-acre parcel of land on Gravina Island. Critics charge that the bridge will spur development, increasing the value of the Murkowski property, which is one of the few privately held plots on the island.

The Murkowski family has taken umbrage at any suggestion of impropriety. Sen. Murkowski called her family’s undeveloped Gravina parcel “a worthless piece of property.” Her mother wrote the Anchorage Daily News that “we have tried to sell it a number of times but found no willing buyers. . . . As far as access to the Ketchikan Airport, forget it. It’s on the wrong end of the island.” But in reality, her plot is valued by local officials at $245,000 and is within three-fourths of a mile of the proposed bridge’s western end. A local realtor told me the land would substantially increase in value if the bridge was built.

NightmareOnKStreet on September 10, 2008 at 1:41 PM

saving state residents $268 million

With a population of about 683,000 people, that’s an average of around $390 per person.

Tzetzes on September 10, 2008 at 1:56 PM

Proud to say that I voted Jim DeMint in when I was a South Carolinian, and I look forward to seeing him at the forefront of the Republican Party for years to come.

What’s not to like about future of Republicans? DeMint, Rick Santorum, Michael Steele, Bobby Jindal, and now Sarah Palin…and others, I’m sure.

dmh0667 on September 10, 2008 at 1:59 PM

NightmareOnKStreet on September 10, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Why don’t you do a google map and see what is out there and then tell me how affordable that land is. LMFAO!

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Proud to say that I voted Jim DeMint in when I was a South Carolinian, and I look forward to seeing him at the forefront of the Republican Party for years to come.

Proud to say I voted for Jim DeMint and I still live in South Carolina!

SuzEQCitizen on September 10, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Sen. DeMint = Senate Majority Leader

Rep. Mike Pence = Speaker of the House

revolution on September 10, 2008 at 3:03 PM

It’s really not fair to bring up history when you’re confronting liberals with – history. Especially when it comes to hypocrits like ZerObama and Joe Gasbag.

AubieJon on September 10, 2008 at 12:11 PM

So true. And that applies not only to this situation, but if you talk about Israel or the lessons of WWII (and other wars and situations throughout history) they say “That’s the past! How dare you bring that up?!”

OneGyT on September 10, 2008 at 3:55 PM

Another really important thing to note that most people seem to be missing: the reason earmarks are bad is because the legislators who offer them up are the same legislators who vote to approve them.

Palin may have requested a gazillion dollars in earmarks, but she did not have the power to approve them herself. It’s the inherent conflict of interest that is the problem with earmarks… not that they’re being requested.

Texas Rainmaker on September 10, 2008 at 3:56 PM

I think the real problem with earmarks is that they are, by and large, a waste of money.

jim m on September 10, 2008 at 4:07 PM

NightmareOnKStreet on September 10, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Why don’t you do a google map and see what is out there and then tell me how affordable that land is. LMFAO!

upinak on September 10, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

NightmareOnKStreet on September 10, 2008 at 5:01 PM