Posts Tagged ‘Bridge To Nowhere’
Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel appeared in an interview with the staunchly pro-Obama Pacifica radio. They expected Gravel to bash Sarah Palin, and tell them what the Republicans “haven’t told us about Sarah Palin.” Sounds pretty ominous….
Instead of obliging, Gravel says nice things about Palin.! And then takes a few shots at today’s Democrats for being “imperialists.”
Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election.
He served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1963 to 1966 and became its Speaker of the House. Gravel was elected to the United States Senate in 1968.
As Senator, Gravel became nationally known for his forceful but unsuccessful attempts to end the draft during the Vietnam War and for having put the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 despite risk to himself. He conducted an unusual campaign for the Democratic nomination for Vice President of the United States in 1972, and then played a crucial role in getting Congressional approval for the Trans-Alaska pipeline in 1973. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1974, but gradually alienated most of his Alaskan constituencies and his bid for a third term was defeated in a Democratic primary election in 1980.
Gravel followed up the interview on Pacifica Radio with an article in CounterPunch explaining what he finds so appealing about his fellow Alaskan–it comes down to her integrity, staunch independence, and not having the taint of years in Washington:
“Sarah Palin has a sense of personal outrage over political corruption that plays extremely well with the public, something the others have lost long ago. She has demonstrated the personal courage to publicly confront and overcome Republican Party corruption and has successfully taken on the oil industry over taxation and oil leasing issues. She has publicly stood up to Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Don Young on the “Bridge to Nowhere” and the policy of federal earmarks arguing for a public transparency process.
Sarah has literally come to the national scene without owing anything to any party or corporate interest––not even McCain––he needs her more than she needs him. Imagine a person a heart beat away not owned by the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, corporate America or AIPAC. WOW! Can this last? Probably not. But she does have an uncanny sense of political direction and the ability to capitalize on change like putting the public interest above Republican Party interests.”
Don’t look for this interview to mentioned on any of the radical leftist blogs at The Atlantic, and its soul mate, Daily Kos, as Gravel has been something of a hero there, and this will shock those poor boys Goldberg, Sullivan and Ambinder. They have little real tolerance for liberal icons straying off the reservation, and they certainly won’t like hearing Gravel confirm Palin stopped that damned “Bridge to nowhere”, or that the so-called “Troopergate” will be resolved in Palin’s favor, and that the Trooper in question should have been fired.
This item is based on an item that appeared in: The Western Standard. I highly recommend you add them to your Blog Roll, and subscribe to their updates! Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the Western Standard is a fortnightly news and views magazine. It’s your online source for news and views from a Western Canadian perspective.
At the suggestion of the Democratic National Committee’s Chairman, Howard Dean, who discussed it with Obama and Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, a web page crediting Governor Sarah Palin with killing the “Bridge From Nowhere”, has been “memory holed”. The web site, paid for by the Alaska Democratic Party, said unequivocally that the state of Alaska officially abandoned the Bridge to Nowhere project, and credits Governor Sarah Palin.
Or … it used to say that, before the page mysteriously vanished some time since September 4th…putting the blame for the “earmarks” where it clearly should have been, on Senator Ted Stevens, since only Members of Congress can request them….
Here’s the Google cache link from September 4th: Retire Ted Stevens » Blog Archive » Ted Earmarked Funds for Bridge that Goes Nowhere. And here’s the text that they consigned to the memory hole, because it’s embarrassingly off their false and misleading message:
Ted Earmarked Funds for Bridge that Goes Nowhere
* Stevens championed proposed bridge near Ketchikan that became national symbol of wasteful spending
* Sen. Murkowski’s family would benefit personally from the bridge
* State of Alaska killed bridge
The proposed Gravina Island Bridge, also known as the “Bridge to Nowhere,” became a national symbol of wasteful congressional spending and driver of earmark reform. On Sept. 21, 2007, the State of Alaska officially abandoned the controversial project.
The Gravina Island Bridge initially received $223 million in 2005 via earmarks by Alaska Senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski. The bridge would have connected Ketchikan, Alaska with its local airport on nearby Gravina Island (population 50). Congress stripped the earmark after a national uproar about it but appropriated the money anyway for unspecified transportation uses. Former Gov. Frank Murkowski’s administration set aside about $113 million of the appropriation for the Ketchikan bridge. However, Gov. Sarah Palin said the $398 million bridge was $329 million short of full funding, and only $36 million in federal funds were set aside for it. She said it was clear Congress had little interest in spending any more money for it and that the state had higher priorities.
On Oct. 20, 2005, Ted threatened to resign from the Senate if lawmakers took away money allocated for the Gravina Island Bridge and the Knik Arm Bridge and redirected it to Hurricane Katrina repairs in Louisiana. The attempt to redirect the bridge money was defeated, but Congress later removed the earmarks after intense public criticism.
If the bridge were built, the family of Sen. Lisa Murkowski would benefit. Murkowski’s mother Nancy, wife of former Gov. Frank Murkowski, is co-owner with her three siblings of a 35-acre parcel of land on Gravina Island. The plot is valued at $245,000 and is within a mile of the bridge’s western end. While critics charge that the bridge would increase the value of their property, the Murkowski family has taken umbrage at any suggestion of impropriety. Murkowski called her family’s undeveloped Gravina parcel “a worthless piece of property.”
Dean, Obama and Plouffe will undoubtedly deny and and all wrongdoing, and say they were not in touch with the Alaska Democratic Party. What else would you expect? It is certainly just a “mistake” or some routine house cleaning, yes?
Though Gov. Palin originally supported the earmark spending on the Ketchikan bridge (“to nowhere), she eventually killed the project, chosing to spend Federal money on other infrastructure programs, and suggesting in a public address that adding additional ferry service would be a better, and less costly use of public funds.
However, Senator Joe Biden and Senator Barack Obama both voted for funding the Bridge, even when given a second chance by Sen. Tom Coburn, who proposed shifting earmark funds to Katrina relief.
Sen. John McCain did not vote on the Coburn Amendment, though he is on record as opposing the Ketchikan bridge earmark.