Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Like Ted Stevens, McCain Is Offering Only A Bridge To Nowhere-- And A Collapsing One At That


I had finally pulled myself from the fast-paced Ted Stevens corruption indictments and started on a story about bridges-- not Bridges to Nowhere, real bridges that real people need everyday. And then there was a huge shaking at my house-- and, as it turns out, throughout Southern California. So now the Ted Stevens corruption story is completely off the air and instead we have All-Earthquake-No-News-Whatsoever-All-Day on CNN. How many ways can you say "There was no damage but it was scary?" Wolf Blintzer has brought his expertise to the question now. So back to bridges...

You probably heard McCain and his slimy surrogates whining about Obama politicizing the Iraq War and how wants to lose the war so he can win the election or some kind of scurrilous Rovian claptrap. His paid advertising goes beyond negative and into sheer vicious desperation. The Washington Independent points out that McCain running ads that are unrelated to objective reality and that FactCheck.org slaps them down as fast as the oil companies give him the money to put up new ones.
Anyone who has been following the story of Sen. Barack Obama's "snub" of wounded American troops during his visit to Germany last week could tell right away that Sen. John McCain's latest attack ad did not tell the whole tale. In its latest analysis, FactCheck.org, the nonpartisan fact-checking website at University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Public Policy, confirms that the ad-- like many of McCain's recent ads-- plays fast and loose with the truth.

McCain is coming off as a vicious, cranky, nasty old man and, as Charlie Cook pointed out today, the more the public sees of him, the less they like him.

And while his politicization charges against Obama aren't sticking, they are coming back around and biting McCain in the ass. What does all this have to do with bridges and earthquakes? Glad you asked. Early in the campaign McCain came up with a highly politicized pseudo-proposal for an irresponsible-- and impossible-- gas tax holiday. In just another of many examples of McCain not having any idea what he's talking about, his gas tax would devastate infrastructure maintenance (like in roads and... yes, bridges). No wonder he likes Minnesota Governor Pawlenty so much; he actually promulgated policies that did contribute to the collapse of a major bridge.

So while evangelicals are warning McCain that he will lose millions the bigoted voters he's counting on if he picks Romney as his running mate, and while Huckabee is getting laughs on Fox by comparing him to Dole and calling him angry, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials are not enthusiastic about his gas holiday demagoguery. In fact they say they need $140 billion "to make major repairs or upgrades to one of every four bridges in the United States."

While Bush was wasting billions, maybe trillions, on enriching his friends, relatives and campaign contributors with unaccountable "spending" in Iraq, the nation's vital infrastructure has been deteriorating through lack of attention for years. In May, we talked about some serious proposals from Andy Stern and Kathleen Sebelius that an Obama Administration is going to have to take very seriously. The latest buzz about Sebelius as his VP choice means it would be. (Personally, I'd prefer Andy Stern, but Sebelius is a far better choice than Evan Bayh, Tim Kaine or Joe Biden.) Back to bridges and the report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials:
152,000 of 600,000 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

..."States are doing their best to improve them, but construction costs are skyrocketing... forcing states to delay needed repairs," said Pete Rahn, head of the Missouri Department of Transportation and the group's president. "Without a national commitment to increasing bridge investment, we will see a continuing spiral towards deterioration and, ultimately, bridge closures in order to protect the traveling public."

This isn't the kind of grist for McCain's mill. It bores him. He only likes talking about war. This is the kind of stuff he can hire people to take care of.

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At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anybody considered the likelihood of the fact that the I-35W bridge reconstruction is all the more ahead of schedule (with the contractors earning an early-completion bonus) because of the construction crews secretly being drugged to exaggerate their work performance?


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