The truthiness of Sarah Palin’s maverick credentials

Yesterday, the McCain campaign launched this new ad, titled “Original Mavericks”:


“She opposed the Bridge to Nowhere”, the ad’s voice-over declares. Which is pretty great. Except, well, she didn’t.

She lobbied in favor of the bridge, going so far as to campaign in the city where the bridge would have terminated, and proudly displaying her support by sporting a “Nowhere, Alaska” t-shirt:

Sarah Palin Nowhere T-shirt

Caught in the lie, the McCain campaign now points out that, well, she didn’t really oppose it from the beginning, but she’s totally the one who killed it. Only that’s not true either.

Even richer? After having earmarked $200m+ from federal taxpayer money to pay for the bridge to nowhere, she petitioned Congress to keep the money even though they were not going to build the bridge.

And guess what? She got to keep it. More than $300 for every man, woman and child in Alaska. For a bridge that never got built.

Lest you think this is an aberration, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she took a town with no debt and left it with nearly $20m in debt – or over $3,000 per resident. Best of all, however, is her pride in obtaining several federal earmarks:

Palin brags of earmark success

Last note on those earmarks: they were opposed by none other than the Original Maverick Himself, John McCain:

In 2001, McCain’s list of spending that had been approved without the normal budget scrutiny included a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in Wasilla. The Arizona senator targeted $1 million in a 2002 spending bill for an emergency communications center in town — one that local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion.

McCain also criticized $450,000 set aside for an agricultural processing facility in Wasilla that was requested during Palin’s tenure as mayor and cleared Congress soon after she left office in 2002.

What else is there to say?

Update: TalkingPointsMemo has a nice video response to this, with even more details:


10 responses to “The truthiness of Sarah Palin’s maverick credentials”

  1. I watched that last TPM video more than once and listened carefully, and wondered to myself “is this the best TPM can come up with?” I did not hear her say anything other than that she supported progress and the development of infrastructure. I don't see how sentiments like that can reasonably call her judgments on the specific project we're talking about — namely the “Bridge to Nowhere” — into question. If it wasn't progress, it wasn't worth supporting. Looks like that is how it turned out.

  2. Evan – Here's the facts as I understand them:* Sen. Stevens earmarks hundreds of millions to build a bridge to a 50-resident town in Alaska* Gov. Palin supports this bridge* Gov. Palin, after the bridge is nick-named the “Bridge to Nowhere”, shows up in the town and further supports the bridge* The funds are delivered to Alaska* Pressure mounts to kill the bridge as more attention is focused on Sen. Stevens and this pork barrel project* Congress kills further funding, telling Alaska it must pony up the additional $300+ million* Gov. Palin accedes to Congress's actions, and keeps the already-dispersed fundsIn no way did she say “Thanks but no thanks”. In no way did she exercise fiscal responsibility, buck the prevailing political headwinds, or in any way show any maverick character in opposing the bridge. She didn't oppose it. Her actions here are the very embodiment of “for it before she was against it”.On its face, that doesn't really irk me: it's what politicians who are hired to represent their constituents do. But to shamelessly proclaim – even after dozens of news publications have pointed out just how boldfaced the lie is – that she was the one who killed this project… well, that just strikes me as pandering of the highest order. Not to mention a callous disregard for the truth, and a lack of respect for the voters.

  3. It's amazing how you can turn on a person with so many factswhen at the same time you can say 'we don't even know her'.The same can be said for Obama. No one is fact checking hisliason with Resko. No one is fact checking his community service resume with a very questionable group.I like Obama. Think he has a good personality and truly wants the best for the country. I totally disagree with his plan to take us there. Plainly said, it sucks.However, if he becomes my President I will respect him andgive him a chance. I do not think you can say the same forthe other side. With all your talk of 'callous disregard'and 'lack of respect'. Look in the mirror … you resemblethose comments

  4. Respect is not deserved, it is earned.Plenty have fact-checked the connections to Reszko; I've previously linked to ArchPundit's overview of the many connections here. I've read about his time at ACORN, and am unaware of any allegations suggesting he did anything but try to improve the community in which he was active. happy to take a look at any suggestions along those lines.If McCain becomes President, he will be my President as well. I have praised Republicans on this blog (my praise for President Reagan is here, and my admiration for Gov. Huckabee's performance in a debate is here) and consider a number of GOP insiders to be close friends. I think Gov. Schwarzenegger is a terrific governor (far better than my Democratic governor in Illinois, where I lived until summer of '07).The strength of my comments regarding Sen. McCain's campaign reflects my profound disappointment in the campaign he's waging. It's in marked contrast to the campaign he promised to wage, and it is in no way reflective of the man I almost crossed party lines in 2000 to vote for in the California primary. He and his campaign have evidently determined that they cannot win based on the strength of their ideas, so they've resorted to brazen lies to the electorate in the hope that they'll so muddy the waters that the public will have no choice but to determine that Barack's no better than he is.I find Sen. McCain's campaign to be the height of cynicism, and beneath the dignity of the office to which he aspires. You're right, I don't think that's worthy of my respect.

  5. For a man who chooses his words so wisely that you can acutally 'see him thinking' – I do believe he chose his 'lipstick' comment carefully for affect. He just didn't realize it would 'backfire on him so badly'. That too isnot worthy of respect – nor is going to the home of an American man who blew up our own country in the name ofWeather Underground. That is not worthy of my respect.Call me old fashioned, but I expect more from any man or woman running for Presient. To go anywhere and do anything for a 'buck' totally shows what kind of person Obama truly is. I wish it were different, but it's not. The point is the Rezko issue and other Obama issues are notbrought on with any vigor by the so called main stream press. The sexism that Hilary and Sarah experience is a grossly unfair, and Barack Obama was a huge part in dishing it out to Hilary — and he won't even try to hide it when dishing it out to – GOD FORBID – a conservative woman.

  6. The “Bridge to Nowhere” may not be included in Governor Palin's speaches now do not mention the “Bridge to Nowhere because, originaly, it was a “Bridge to Somewhere–Ketchikan's, “Gateway to Alaska” International airport. Tourists visting the town by air often complain about having to catch a ferry to the airport to this island separated from Ketchikan by a narrow strip of water.A similar bridge built in Sitka in the Seventies according to a 2005 inspection was rated structually unsound. Question! Has monies from oil taxes been used to fix it?

  7. […] elections proved anything, it’s that Americans cannot agree on a lot.  Was Sarah Palin a maverick VP pick? Are we all Joe the Plumber?  Is Ashley Todd, um, well, we can all probably agree on her […]

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