Thursday, May 01, 2008



Further fueling speculation that he plans on endorsing Barack Obama, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg called the cynical McCain-Hillary gas tax holiday "the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time." He said the plan has "no merit" and added pointedly that "[Barack] Obama was right on this one, and that McCain and Clinton were wrong. The last thing we need to do is encourage people to drive more and to take away the monies we need for infrastructure in this country." Don't mention infrastructure around John McCain. Like the economy, and health care, it's something he just hasn't ever thought about, as you'll see in a few minutes.

The infrastructure flap caused some major red faces today. One of his most persistent supporters-- someone on the short list for running mate-- Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty immediately distanced himself from McCain's clueless "get those damn kids off my lawn" comments about why the Minneapolis Interstate 35W bridge collapsed last summer. McCain is having another bad week, stumbling from one ill-prepared moment to the next. The big one in the media today showed him defending George Bush, whose every Iraq-related initiative he has rubber stamped, on the Mission Accomplished banner while cynically criticizing Bush's handling of the actual attack on Iraq.
On Thursday, the fifth anniversary of Bush's dramatic landing on an aircraft carrier where the banner hung, McCain said, "I thought it was wrong at the time."

"So all I can tell you was that I was the strongest advocate, or one of the strongest advocates, for changing to adopt the surge," McCain told reporters. "And I think that history will judge me by the fact that I thought it was wrong."

McCain said he can't blame Bush for the banner. After shifting explanations, the White House eventually [5 years later] said the "Mission Accomplished" phrase referred to the carrier's crew completing its 10-month mission, not the military completing its mission in Iraq.

Instead, he said Bush should be blamed for comments like that of L. Paul Bremer, the former chief of the U.S. occupation government in Iraq, who pledged that the U.S. military would crush die-hard Saddamist "dead-enders," and of Vice President Dick Cheney, who declared the insurgency "in its last throes."

"Do I blame him for that specific banner? I can't," McCain said. "But I do say that statements are made, 'a few dead-enders,' 'last throes,' those are, as opposed to the banner, direct statements which were contradicted by the facts on the ground."

McCain advocated early on for a troop-increase strategy that eventually was adopted by Bush, and he is an important ally of Bush's war strategy today.

But Democrat Barack Obama said McCain misled the public along with Bush.

"Five years after George Bush declared 'mission accomplished' and John McCain told the American people that 'the end is very much in sight' in Iraq, we have lost thousands of lives, spent half a trillion dollars, and we're no safer," Obama said in a statement released by his presidential campaign.

Interestingly enough, at the time, McCain was all atwitter over President Codpiece and his the banner. You don't remember? Take a look. Anyway, back to 2008 and McCain's stumble from yesterday: "The bridge in Minneapolis didn't collapse because there wasn't enough money. The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects." That's what sent Pawlenty and other Minnesota Republicans scurrying for cover.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a leading supporter of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, warned Thursday against a rush to judgment about the cause of a Minneapolis bridge collapse a day after the senator blamed it on wasteful pork-barrel spending.

Pawlenty is a national co-chairman of McCain's campaign and is often mentioned as a possible running mate. He stepped gingerly around the comments McCain made that the Interstate 35W bridge failure last summer could be traced to members of Congress diverting federal funds to wasteful projects.

Pawlenty said McCain's remarks were his opinion and that everyone should reserve judgment until federal investigators release findings later this year. Investigators have focused on an apparent design flaw involving beam-connecting gusset plates and construction weight above vulnerable components at the time of the failure.

"We have to let the NTSB weigh in on this before anybody can make a final conclusion," Pawlenty said, referring to a National Transportation Safety Board probe expected to conclude this summer or fall.

...Asked if McCain's comments were appropriate or should be corrected, Pawlenty said, "I don't know what he's basing that on other than the general premise that projects got misprioritized throughout time."

The AFL-CIO news blog tries bringing McCain, whose views seem geared to a horse-and-buggy world, into the current century regarding infrastructure.
The I-35 bridge in Minnesota collapsed last August during rush hour traffic, killing five people, because like other parts of our vital national infrastructure, the bridge had been neglected and underfunded for far too long. Our bridges, roads and schools are decaying in large part because politicians like George W. Bush and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) have sacrificed infrastructure funding to score political points.

Our nation’s infrastructure is crucial to the functioning of our economy, and investment in infrastructure protects lives and creates jobs. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that every $1 billion in infrastructure investment creates $2 billion in new economic activity, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) has estimated that every $1 billion investment in infrastructure creates 42,000 jobs.

...McCain needs to listen to the experts rather than trying to exploit tragedy for political gain. Investing in America’s infrastructure will save lives, create much-needed jobs and build real prosperity.

They should also have a little talk with him about gasoline-- like why it's expensive and what to do about it-- because he's running around like a chicken without a head making a complete idiot out of himself.


Poor, confused old McCain... today he's spending the day tap-dancing, trying to clean up the messes he made yesterday.
In New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward last week, McCain startled reporters when he said Congress was partly to blame for the failed response to Hurricane Katrina, because it "funded pork-barrel projects" instead of "projects that were needed here."

This week, McCain blamed earmarks for the deadly 2007 collapse of a Minnesota bridge. According to the Associated Press, he told reporters that the bridge "collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects."

The collapse, which killed 13, remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, but authorities suspect a "serious design error" as a factor.

Some Minnesota leaders didn't take well to McCain's musings. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a possible McCain running mate, distanced himself from the senator's comments by saying he was waiting for the agency's report.

According to AP, McCain backtracked somewhat Thursday, stating that he couldn't be sure if redirected spending would have prevented the tragedy. "Do I know specifically whether it would have replaced that bridge in Minneapolis? No, but I know that funding would have been available for higher-priority projects," he said.

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At 4:48 AM, Blogger Jim White said...

Hi Howie,

I'd like to suggest that BlueAmerica consider endorsing Tim Cunha in his drive to unseat Bush rubber-stamper Cliff Stearns in Florida's 6th District. Tim's website is and you can see there that he has endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq (and personally delivered it to Stearns' office yesterday). Our district usually is considered "safe Republican" but I think Tim has a legitimate shot at winning because of the burden of Bush's policies here. The district also is home to the 50,000 students of the University of Florida and it will be possible this year for them to vote locally, so the dynamic can be changed significantly. I can be reached at jimwhitegnvATyahooDOTcom. Thanks.

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Howie,

Great post. I always enjoy reading about how out of touch McCain is.

I would also like to point out a progressive candidate running as a Primary challenger to Bush Dog, Leonard Bowell in IA-03. Ed has the endorsement of DFA. Any help you can lend would be appreciated.

Here is a link to Ed's site:

Thanks for your consideration.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something the free-trade Zealots and True Believers might want to think about:

China's use of the onetime Portugese colony (now Special Administrative Region) of Macau as a back-door channel for certain sensitive exports, especially where import quotas or restrictions come into the equation (as in having Chinese-manufactured goods relabelled "Made in Macau" under certain circumstances).


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