Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Bridge to Nowhere

McCain LieWatch for Saturday, September 13

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Here’s a list of McCain camp lies I’ve seen exposed in articles I’ve read just in the last half-hour.

* Lying about their crowd sizes.

McCain aide Kimmie Lipscomb told reporters on Sept. 10 that an outdoor rally in Fairfax City, Virginia, drew 23,000 people, attributing the crowd estimate to a fire marshal.

Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it. Wilson, in an interview, said the fire department does not monitor attendance at outdoor events.

In recent days, journalists attending the rallies have been raising questions about the crowd estimates with the campaign. In a story on Sept. 11 about Palin’s attraction for some Virginia women voters, Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign.

* Lying about the Bridge to Nowhere even more egregiously than we thought.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has portrayed herself as a foe of pork-barrel spending, pointing in particular to her role in killing the $398 million “Bridge to Nowhere” between Ketchikan (pop. 7,400) and its airport on Gravina Island (pop. 50). I “told the Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,'” she said in her speech accepting the Republican vice presidential nomination. “If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves.”

But Gov. Palin’s administration acknowledges that it is still pursuing a project that would link Ketchikan to its airport — with the help of as much as $73 million in federal funds earmarked by Congress for the original project.

* Lying about her “trip to Iraq.”

Sarah Palin’s visit to Iraq in 2007 consisted of a brief stop at a border crossing between Iraq and Kuwait, the vice presidential candidate’s campaign said yesterday, in the second official revision of her only trip outside North America.

Following her selection last month as John McCain’s running mate, aides said Palin had traveled to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq to meet with members of the Alaska National Guard. During that trip she was said to have visited a “military outpost” inside Iraq. The campaign has since repeated that Palin’s foreign travel included an excursion into the Iraq battle zone.

* Lying about Future Combat Systems.

“He promised them he would, quote, ‘slow our development of Future Combat Systems,’” McCain said, according to wire reports. “This is not a time to slow our development of Future Combat Systems.”

Flashback to July, however, when his campaign furnished McCain’s economic plan to The Washington Post, declaring that “there are lots of procurements — Airborne Laser, [C-17] Globemaster, Future Combat System [sic] — that should be ended and the entire Pentagon budget should be scrubbed.”

* Lying about book-banning at the local library.

So, what do we know at this point? Time reported last week that Palin asked Emmons about the process for banning library books. Emmons was reportedly “aghast” at the question. Soon after, Palin fired Emmons, and news reports from the time indicate that Palin thought Emmons hadn’t done enough to give her “full support” to the mayor. (Palin reversed course on Emmons’s dismissal after a local outcry.)

ABC News added a report this week, explaining that Palin took office thanks in large part to the strong backing of her church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, which, right around the time Palin took office, “began to focus on certain books” the church wanted to see removed from shelves.

And now we know Palin repeatedly broached the subject of banning books, and locals acknowledge that Palin, as mayor, “brought pressure on the library.”

* Lying about the truly despicable practice of making women in Wasilla pay for their own rape kits.

Despite denials by the Palin campaign, new evidence proves that as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin had a direct hand in imposing fees to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams conducted by the city to gather evidence.

Palin’s role is now confirmed by Wasilla City budget documents available online.

They will lie without shame, as long as the media will not shame them.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 13, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Obligatory McCain/Palin Posting: It’s the Lying, Stupid

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Obligatory McCain/Palin posting: Team Maverick™ has lost even the AP, whose Washington Bureau is famously staffed by a man MoveOn has been trying to get fired for bias and conflict of interest. It’s the lying, stupid:

The “Straight Talk Express” has detoured into doublespeak.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone’s taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.

Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain’s skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Obama’s campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.

Krugman, too, is outraged, and Josh Marshall (to his credit) has basically been having a week-long freakout. Here’s Krugman:

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

They’re not the only ones. ThinkProgress has a growing list of McCain’s ever-shifting positions. (Steve Benen has another one.) Basically every post on the respected and independent factcheck.org from the last week has about McCain’s lies. And on The View, just today, he falsely claimed that Sarah Palin had never requested an earmark as governor—a flagrant, wild lie.

It’s a farcical situation that turns tragic with the media’s refusal to properly report any of it. The cost for lying must be public approbation—otherwise politicians will lie constantly. The failure of the news media since the Republican convention to substantively report on basic, easily provable distortions is as great a betrayal of the public trust as any other over the last ten years. And as we all know well, all too well, that is saying a lot.

Obama, too, hasn’t yet done enough. But that may soon change: a spokesperson today claimed that McCain “would rather lose his integrity than lose an election,” presumably the first salvo in their new aggressive approach. I’ve got a lot of faith in Obama and his team; as I’ve mentioned before, whenever I’ve disagreed with their decisions they’ve turned out to be (more or less) right. Obama is cautious, perhaps too cautious, when it comes to hitting back—but it’s gotten him this far.

I agree, that is to say, with Noam Scheiber: I really think Obama’s been playing rope-a-dope, letting McCain embarrass himself with nonsense 50-days-and-change out from November 4—and now that McCain has completely overreached, Obama’s free to hit back as hard as he wants. Let’s hope the gloves really are coming off, finally and at last.

Nightime Politics

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Nighttime politics.

* Great chart from Ezra Klein and Grist about the incredible insignificance of off-shore drilling.

* “Bush Doctrine” is the buzzword coming out of Sarah Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson—she seemed to not know what it was.

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view?

GIBSON: No, the Bush Doctrine, enunciated in September 2002, before the Iraq war.

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership — and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

GIBSON: The Bush Doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense; that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

Here’s the video. A lot of people are quoting Marc Ambinder’s Twitter feed on this: “deer-in-the-headlights.” A Republican in P.R. gives her a B- at TNR, writing:

I would give her a B or better, B-. I liked her confidence, combativeness but the answers were scripted, she had to repeat one mantra over and over again. What it shows about the way McCain’s people are handling her is worse: they are trying to get her to memorize answers rather than being honest, within limits, about what she doesn’t know.

* Sarah Palin dropped the thanks-but-no-thanks-for-that-Bridge-to-Nowhere lie from her speech today in Alaska. Pandering, or did she just know they’d see through it?

* Maybe the last word on Sarah Palin: Rasmussen reports she’s bombing with moderates.

Among all voters:

39% very favorable
17% somewhat favorable
14% somewhat unfavorable
26% very unfavorable

Gee, approval ratings are just a few points off of 60% for the “wildly popular governor.” But, let’s look a little closer at those numbers. Conservatives love her, but what about moderates? Those numbers paint a different picture:

20% very favorable
15% somewhat favorable
26% somewhat unfavorable
35% very unfavorable
3% not sure

* Switzerland: the greenest country in the world.

* Followup on themes from the week: More numbers that suggest McCain can’t win outside the South. Meanwhile, Daniel Nichanian at the Huffington Post talks more about the underappreciated importance of Obama’s ground game.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 12, 2008 at 1:30 am

Boycotting Maureen Dowd

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I may be a charter member of the Boycotting Maureen Dowd group on Facebook, but I confess my membership is at risk: I broke the ‘cott today on her column comparing the McCain/Palin ticket to Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. Just take a look at these questions for Charlie Gibson:

But if you’re reading this, Charlie, we want to know everything, including:

What kind of budget-cutter makes a show of getting rid of the state plane, then turns around and bills taxpayers for the travel of her husband and kids between Juneau and Wasilla and sticks the state with a per-diem tab to stay in her own home?

Why was Sarah for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against the Bridge to Nowhere, and why was she for earmarks before she was against them? And doesn’t all this make her just as big a flip-flopper as John Kerry?

What kind of fiscal conservative raises taxes and increases budgets in both her jobs — as mayor and as governor?

When the phone rings at 3 a.m., will she call the Wasilla Assembly of God congregation and ask them to pray on a response, as she asked them to pray for a natural gas pipeline?

Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago?

Why put out a press release about her teenage daughter’s pregnancy and then spend the next few days attacking the press for covering that press release?

As Troopergate unfolds here — an inquiry into whether Palin inappropriately fired the commissioner of public safety for refusing to fire her ex-brother-in-law — it raises this question: Who else is on her enemies list and what might she do with the F.B.I.?

Does she want a federal ban on trans fat in restaurants and a ban on abortion and Harry Potter? And which books exactly would have landed on the literature bonfire if she had had her way with that Wasilla librarian?

Just how is it that Fannie and Freddie have cost taxpayers money (since they haven’t yet)?

Does she talk in tongues or just eat caribou tongues?

What does she have against polar bears?

It turns out it is more fun when it’s the other guy’s ox being Gored.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 11, 2008 at 1:58 am

Politics Bites

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Politics bites.

* Daily Kos’s BarbinMD marvels at the quick education of Sarah Palin: from not knowing the most basic facts about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac yesterday to writing an op-ed on the subject in the Wall Street Journal today.

* The first post-convention swing-state polls are coming out, and the news suggests a tight race, albeit one our side still has a slight edge in.

• In Colorado, Obama leads by a 49%-46% margin, actually an improvement for him since McCain’s 49%-48% edge three weeks ago. Both results are within the margin of error.

• In Florida, the race is tied 48%-48%, compared to a 48%-46% McCain edge from about three weeks ago.

• In Ohio, McCain leads 51%-44%, compared to a 48%-43% lead for McCain from almost three weeks ago. Rasmussen has been the most favorable pollster for McCain in Ohio.

• In Pennsylvania, Obama has a slim 47%-45% edge, not significantly different from his 48%-45% lead two and a half weeks ago.

• In Virginia, McCain has a 49%-47% lead, not significantly changed from a 48%-47% McCain lead from over three weeks ago.

McCain needs both Virginia (13 EVs) and Colorado (9 EVs) to win, especially in light of the fact that he likely won’t retain New Mexico (5 EVs) and Iowa (7 EVs), states Bush carried in his 286-251 victory over John Kerry in 2004. Likewise, if he loses Ohio or Florida, it’s game over, and there’s been a lot of speculation that the Palin pick could backfire with Jewish voters in Florida.

For Obama’s part, he’s really only playing defense in Michigan and (to a lesser extent) Pennsylvania, two states I would be quite surprised to see him lose.

* McCain comes out hard against Obama for… having the same position John McCain himself has held for years.

* And, via TPMtv, even Fox News’s Chris Wallace has had enough of the Bridge to Nowhere lie.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 9, 2008 at 6:56 pm

The Sarah Palin Chronicles

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More and more evidence mounts that the McCain camp didn’t actually vet Palin at all. They didn’t read a single article in the Wasilla newspaper, and they didn’t talk to Walt Monegan, the man at the center of her still open abuse of power ethics investigation—nor, apparently, did they talk to anyone else. They’ve been pushing as one of her few notable accomplishments her opposition to the “Bridge to Nowhere,” which has turned out to be, well, bullshit. Nearly recalled as mayor, she left the small town of Wasilla over $20 million dollars in debt. That’s after she tried to censor the town library and fire long-time town employees without cause for “not fully supporting her efforts to govern.”

Oh, and her husband works for BP, one of the largest employers in Alaska, which is not in any way a conflict of interest.

And those are just the highlights. Given all this, I get a sinking feeling when I see how much attention the already ubiquitous, totally moronic baby smear is getting. Even Andrew Sullivan is pushing it now, though he’s careful to hedge his bets. That’s just not a basket in which I want to put Barack’s eggs; it’s the raw irresponsibility of John McCain’s cynical and poorly thought-out VP pick—a roll of the dice from a chronic gambler—that we should be talking about, not whether a seventeen-year-old girl does or doesn’t have a “baby bump” in a given photo.

The Juno/Juneau parody poster on Gawker made me laugh, but that’s the only upside here. I don’t think we’d want anything to do with the baby thing even if by some impossible chance it all turns out to be true.

John McCain says he made this decision because he looked into Putin’s Palin’s eyes the one time they met and saw a soul mate. The only thing we should be saying about Palin is that this is not the way to make the most important decision of your candidacy. The Palin pick is stone-cold proof that John McCain has neither the judgment nor the temperament to be president.

So leave her kids alone. Keep your heads on straight, netroots.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 31, 2008 at 11:44 pm