Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on September 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Let’s build a bridge between yesterday’s OOTD and today’s by … talking about bridges. Yesterday’s OOTD involved Barack Obama “over-suggesting” the danger on bridges in North Carolina, while today’s has Obama over-promising on a bridge in Cincinnati. While in Ohio pushing his jobs bill last week, Obama said that his new round of infrastructure spending would repair the Brent Spence Bridge, connecting Kentucky and Ohio:

The 48-year-old Brent Spence Bridge spanning the Ohio River near Cincinnati isn’t much to look at. But for President Obama, it’s become a rallying cry for his $477 billion jobs plan.

He referred to it in his Sept. 8 speech to Congress, saying “there’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.” And on Thursday he plans to use Brent Spence as the backdrop for another pitch for his jobs bill, which includes $27 billion in “immediate” highway spending.

Well, if it’s falling apart, then it should be fixed.  The only problem is that the bridge isn’t in need of repair — and the plan has been to build a completely separate bridge to share the traffic load:

Although some press accounts have described Brent Spence as “crumbling,” and the White House says it’s an example of “ur gently needed” repairs, the bridge isn’t falling apart. In fact, it’s designed to last for decades more.

It is, however, “functionally obsolete,” which in this case means it’s too small to handle the daily traffic load. While designed to handle 85,000 cars and trucks, it now carries more than 150,000, leading to regular backups.

So the plan isn’t to do extensive repairs on the bridge, but to build an entirely new one right next to it and keep the old one in use.

And they do have a plan to build the additional bridge — only that construction won’t take place for another four years.  It also won’t finish until 2022.  That’s hardly the immediate work that Obama’s job-creation stimulus bill promises.  Even if all the funding got committed now, it would take almost two years to break ground, not from lack of funding but because of all the government red tape that has blocked this project for most of the last ten years.

Besides, as the WaPo’s Glenn Kessler discovered, there’s a bigger hole in Obama’s argument than any found on the bridge, and he gives more background on the red tape as well, emphasis mine:

We dug a little deeper, and no money in the jobs bill is intended for the bridge. But administration officials argue that the act would provide additional funding for the Federal Highway Administration, and some of that money could be used to speed up environmental and other approvals.

“This means that the environmental work could finish by February ’12. A contract could be awarded late in ’12, and the workers could begin construction on the approaches to the bridge, which is a big part of the project, in ’13,” one administration official said. Another official said the money could speed up other required steps.

We get a little wary when we hear “could” in every sentence of administration talking points. Indeed, congressional aides find this timeline highly dubious.

The public schedule for the bridge, which can be found here, has the environmental approval scheduled for July 2012, just four months later than the administration’s “could” time frame. Construction is not slated to start until 2015, while the president’s jobs bill would spend most of its money in its first year.

Why does it take more funding to “speed up” the approvals?  Just eliminate them and get to work.  Heck, I’d do that for ten cents on the dollar.  Well, I would if Obama’s bill actually provided any funding for the Brent Spence Bridge at all, but it doesn’t.

So really, this is an object lesson in job creation, even in the public sector.  The best way to get jobs created immediately isn’t to throw money at something, but to reduce the unnecessary regulatory burdens that keep people from working.  Unfortunately, Obama doesn’t seem open to learning the real lesson of the Brent Spence Bridge.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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I love watching the “could”‘s and “may”‘s and “potentially”‘s that flow from this Administration.

I honestly would respect Obama so much more if he just got on tv and said, “Look, I know most of you disagree with my ideas, and they’ve been proven wrong time and time again. The simple fact of the matter, though, is that I am the President and we’re going to do things my way.”

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Yes we may

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 8:16 AM

If a wood chuck could chuck wood, how much would the Obama administration spend on a new entitlement for fixing wood chuck teeth?

JimK on September 30, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Presidential Politics…the Chicago way. No facts needed.

kingsjester on September 30, 2011 at 8:20 AM

The Brent Spence Bridge? Isn’t he the guy who played Data on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

radjah shelduck on September 30, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Why does POTUS think its cool to stand underneath bridges and preachify? Bad Troll.

Key West Reader on September 30, 2011 at 8:21 AM

If you build it…it will cost $200,000 per job.

RDE2010 on September 30, 2011 at 8:22 AM

The best way to get jobs created immediately isn’t to throw money at something, but to reduce the unnecessary regulatory burdens that keep people from working.

Indeed.
However, Obama is more interested in political support than economic recovery.
More regulatory burdens = more regulators.
More regulators = more govt employees.
More govt employees = more votes for Obama & other big-govt types.

itsnotaboutme on September 30, 2011 at 8:25 AM

Although some press accounts have described Brent Spence as “crumbling,” and the White House says it’s an example of “urgently needed” repairs, the bridge isn’t falling apart.

Crumbling?

I guess you get to use words like that upon graduation from J school…

golfmann on September 30, 2011 at 8:26 AM

Without PBHO’s jobs bill we will all die. Fact.

Bishop on September 30, 2011 at 8:29 AM

if his lips is moving, you know he be LYING!

SDarchitect on September 30, 2011 at 8:33 AM

radjah shelduck on September 30, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Brent Spiner.

catmman on September 30, 2011 at 8:41 AM

Yes We Might!

catmman on September 30, 2011 at 8:41 AM

Yes We Could!

catmman on September 30, 2011 at 8:41 AM

But administration officials argue that the act would provide additional funding for the Federal Highway Administration, and some of that money could be used to speed up bribe environmental and other approvals bureaucrats.

FIFY

crazy_legs on September 30, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Why does it take more funding to “speed up” the approvals?

You haven’t read the part of the stimulus that contracts out to the Chicago Machine Environmental Approval Company, who’s now in business to employ corrupt leftist Chicago politicians produce environmental reports?

MNHawk on September 30, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Help me out. Go to the the WHITE HOUSE WEST WING WEEK 9/30/11 video about the jobs bill and thumbs up my comment so it goes to the top.

The Republicans aren’t stopping the “Jobs” bill. It’s the Democrats who control the senate. Sen Durbin said there are not enough Democrat votes in the senate to pass it. Why would that be? It’s because it’s a campaign document for Obama’s re-election bid and not a serious attempt to help the economy.
RobtKraft

Better yet thumbs down the whole video and make your own comment. The IRS won’t come after you. I do this all the time and I’m still on You Tube.

No Niks on September 30, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Obama’s “bent sense” bridge.

NeighborhoodCatLady on September 30, 2011 at 8:58 AM

…but because of all the government red tape that has blocked this project for most of the last ten years.

Not the least bit surprising. It takes forever to get any construction project to the “shovel ready” stage thatnks to the government on all levels.

Even if the media were inclined to ask Obama tough questions, I think most of them are too sheltered, inexperienced and insular to understand the complexities of construction site development to ask any good questions on the subject. Maybe they should educate themselves a little.

forest on September 30, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Less regulation, smaller govt…the Won never will never think of that.

Kissmygrits on September 30, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Why will it take seven years to build this bridge? The Golden Gate Bridge was done in four.

flipflop on September 30, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Bridge Over the River Cry.

Pelosi delende est on September 30, 2011 at 9:15 AM

There would probably be a two year study costing a trillion dollars to consider easing or fast tracking regulations.

Cindy Munford on September 30, 2011 at 9:27 AM

flipflop on September 30, 2011 at 9:09 AM

My guess would be unions.

Cindy Munford on September 30, 2011 at 9:28 AM

No wonder Awlaki is dead.

Obama needed that, to distract from his lies, corruption, and criminal activity, and scandals.

capejasmine on September 30, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I love watching the “could”‘s and “may”‘s and “potentially”‘s that flow from this Administration.

I honestly would respect Obama so much more if he just got on tv and said, “Look, I know most of you disagree with my ideas, and they’ve been proven wrong time and time again. The simple fact of the matter, though, is that I am the President and we’re going to do things my way.”

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Isn’t that more or less what he did when he taunted Republicans in Congress saying “I won”?

slickwillie2001 on September 30, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Barry COULD help the economy simply by not seeking reelection.

GarandFan on September 30, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Indeed.
However, Obama is more interested in political support than economic recovery.
More regulatory burdens = more regulators.
More regulators = more govt employees.
More govt employees = more votes for Obama & other big-govt types.

itsnotaboutme on September 30, 2011 at 8:25 AM

more votes for Obama = more taxes
more taxes = more redistribution
more redistribution = more at government trough

katablog.com on September 30, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Oh and

more at government trough = more bonuses for giving out money!

katablog.com on September 30, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Our Prez and Facts? Maddow discussed Wall Street Last Night And Had Every Fact Wrong

Every fact. Beginning with how much money the wall street firms are making now. You know, the record profits while the rest of us suffer. Has she checked?

Then there was the cause of the crash of 2008. It couldn’t have been risky mortgages. Or the government insuring them. It was Wall Street greed.

Government knows what it is doing or maybe wants to do. Like it wants to go into the health insurance biz.

The only thing more manic and nuttier than the stock market is the left insects running the country. Wait, they affect the market, too.

IlikedAUH2O on September 30, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Shut the bridge down until Obama the structural engineer reinspects it and gives it the okay.

multiuseless on September 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM

The Brent Spence isn’t the only bridge in Cincinnati. But it is the one where two interstate highways connect, so yeah, they need a bigger bridge… unless the Obama regime manages to kill off the economy entirely, in which case, that bridge will be fine, because hardly anybody will be crossing it anyway.

RebeccaH on September 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM

The whole thing is just cover (lies) to send money to Democrat contributors. Obama does not care about bridges.

AnotherOpinion on September 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM