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Gravina Island And The War On Fiscal Corruption

The axis of the Earth itself is in trouble.  All the spin being directed towards making Republican presidential hopeful Arizona Senator John McCain’s selection of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate has the potential to interfere with the world’s rotation.  The entire world is being turned upside down.  Political pundits are actually saying that the Governor’s executive experience of twenty months in Alaska is more important than Democratic presidential hopeful Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s four years of experience in the Untied States Senate.  Somebody actually said it is a rarity for United States Senators to become President.  It is so rare it only happened for fifteen out of the forty three men who became President with such notables as John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman.

The other day on his appearance on This Week with George Sephanopoulos South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham poured it on thick to convince people that Ms. Palin is a fighter against corruption and wasteful spending and will take her reputation for fiscal responsibility to the vice presidential office.  In Mr. Graham’s own words, “…she had the courage to say we’re not going to do it ‘cause it’s not the right signal we want to send to everybody else in Alaska.  She took on the Republican Party chairman and called him unethical.  She took on the attorney general who eventually resigned because he was doing things that were inappropriate.  I’m in politics.  I voted against the bridge to nowhere.  I was one of fourteen.  Scared the heck out of me because I know what was going to come my way.  I can’t imagine being the Governor of this state and telling the people who were able to secure the bridge we’re not going to do it.”

This is the prime example people want to give of evidence of Ms. Palin’s fiscal responsibility, her crusade against the bridge to nowhere.  The Gravina Island Bridge, dubbed the bridge to nowhere, was a proposed bridge to cross the Tongass Narrows.  The bridge was designed to be tall enough to accommodate ship traffic.  The bridge was to replace the ferry that connected Ketchikan, Alaska to the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina Island.  People using the ferry had to wait as long as thirty minutes for a ferry and the charge was six dollars per vehicle per trip.  The bridge was projected to cost nearly four hundred million dollars.  Alaskan congressional delegates Representative Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens were the bridge’s biggest advocates and helped push for federal funding.  The project became a symbol for pork barrel spending.

In October of 2005, one month after hurricane Katrina, Mr. Stevens became the subject of much criticism when he opposed diverting the funds for the Gravina Island Bridge to help aid recovery from hurricane Katrina.  Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma offered an amendment to the Senate’s appropriation bill to transfer over two hundred million dollars to fund the reconstruction of a bridge in hurricane ravaged Louisiana.

Congress later dropped the specific allocation for the bridge.  However, there was no change in the amount of federal funds appropriated to the state of Alaska.  In August 2007, the Alaskan Department of Transportation made a recommendation to cancel the bridge.  In October of 2007, Ms. Palin, who once supported the bridge, cancelled the project.  The money was never returned to the federal government.  Although the bridge was defeated and Ms. Palin officially ended the project as Governor, it was hardly an act of outstanding courage.

A lot of people are putting their political credibility on the line to sell the American public on Ms. Palin’s leadership credentials and political ethics.  But since she was revealed as Mr. McCain’s vice presidential pick, with each and every passing day she is becoming a harder pig to sell.  Using her office as Governor to influence the termination of her former brother-in-law’s firing as an Alaskan state trooper, trying to hide her unwed, seventeen year old daughter Bristol’s five month pregnancy in order to sell people on her belief that abstinence only sex education works, and now that the cat’s out of the proverbial bag, she’s arranging a shotgun wedding for Bristol and the baby’s father.  There are some real family values being tested on this choice.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who think that Ms. Palin is a nice person.  But this isn’t a Goldie Hawn movie where we can be assured that the woman’s incompetence will work itself out before the ending credits roll.  This isn’t a cast call for the sequel to Private Benjamin called Vice-President Benjamin.  This is real life.  The country is in serious trouble with global wars, the global economy, a resurgent Russia that is more than ready to go toe to toe with the United States, an injured economy, and much more waiting for the next President and his administration.

We need to see the selection of Ms. Palin for what it is:  An indication of how superficial Mr. McCain is with his choices for important positions within his cabinet.  Three years after Katrina we should remember the potential for disaster when Michael Brown was made the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The people of New Orleans, Louisiana paid a serious price before the correction could be made.  The presidency and the vice presidency isn’t anything to be taken so lightly.  I don’t care how hard people spin this one Ms. Palin is not someone that we can be comfortable in the Vice President’s seat.  And the manifestation of such poor judgment should call into question Mr. McCain’s ability to lead this country as well.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 - Posted by | Alaska, Bridge To Nowhere, Gravina Island, John McCain, Life, Lindsey Graham, Politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Thoughts


  1. I would have to agree. This gives questions to his competency with regards to leading this country. He has no high ground to stand on at this time. He is falling into the sink hole that IS Sarah Palin.

    It is just stupid to try and continue selling this rotten egg to us as if we are a bunch of idiots. But watching some of these people on television, there are a lot of those idiots out there. And a lot of those idiots are just racists.

    I know that this isn’t the end of her ridiculous background. I am sure we will be getting surprise after surprise with her. And at this point I wouldn’t be a bit surprised of anything that comes out about this lady or her family.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    I have to agree with you. With each and every day we will find more and more things about her background that will call into question her qualifications to be VP. And the people trying to sell this fiasco will then kick their spin into high gear. In the words of Chris Rock, “They spinnin’ nigga, they spinnin’! They spinnin’ nigga, they spinnin’!”


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | Reply

  3. I got the impression that McCain had to have a woman (as if that would give him the Hillary vote) AND had to have someone who was “Christian” enough AND a member of the NRA. So not too many people to fit that resume, I’d guess. And then the photo you put on your “quick note” spot… this has got to be one of the oddest photos of a VP candidate since the one of Dan Quayle holding a rifle backwards. Why in the world would anyone have a rifle at the pool? Is this the Miss NRA beauty contest?

    The irony about the experience of a governor versus the experience of a senator is that the role of the VP seems to be much more tied to working with the house and senate and working out compromises than to running a state or taking a principled stand on anything.

    Comment by Betsy | Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback Betsy,

    My suggestion would’ve been he needed to help Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Elizabeth Dole get her NRA card. Anyone but this manifestation of Daisy from L’il Abner brought to life. I did like the comment about the Miss NRA pageant. That was priceless. But the fact of the matter is Mr. McCain’s team did not do their homework in making this decision. If he doesn’t do his homework on something as important as getting the VP pick right, when will he do his due diligence?


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | Reply

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