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Tilting at Windmills

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September 13, 2008

PALIN REVERSES COURSE ON BRIDGE CLAIM.... Every day for two weeks voters have been told that Sarah Palin opposed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere and turned down federal funds to build it. It was the most notable claim in Palin's very first speech as the VP candidate. She's repeated it ad nauseum, as has John McCain and a slew of campaign surrogates and sycophants.

And yesterday, Palin decided to walk the claim back a bit.

ABC's Charlie Gibson, to his credit, broached the subject, explained the timeline, and noted that Palin was for the bridge before she was against it. As Gibson put it, "[Y]ou turned against it after Congress had basically pulled the plug on it; after it became apparent that the state was going to have to pay for it, not the Congress; and after it became a national embarrassment to the state of Alaska."

Palin explained, "I was for infrastructure being built in the state. And it's not inappropriate for a mayor or for a governor to request and to work with their Congress and their congressmen, their congresswomen, to plug into the federal budget along with every other state a share of the federal budget for infrastructure."

You know what? That's absolutely true. If a governor wants to go to Congress, hat in hand, and ask for pork-barrel infrastructure earmarks, that's fine. But here's the thing: Palin has spent the last two weeks insisting the exact opposite of the truth. It's not "inappropriate" for Palin to ask for infrastructure money; it's inappropriate to lie about it.

And as a practical matter, that's what we're left with -- Palin reluctantly acknowledging to a national television audience that her single favorite talking point is demonstrably false. The anecdote that she used to help introduce herself to the nation was a lie.

The concession leads to two fairly straightforward questions. First, will Palin apologize for having misled voters? And second, are there consequences for a candidate seeking national office who gets caught in this big a lie?

Post Script: Speaking of earmarks, Gibson also inquired about Palin's support for millions of dollars in earmarks to study the genetics of harbor seals and the mating habits of crabs. The governor explained that those earmark requests came through "our research divisions and fish and game and our wildlife departments and our universities."

Well, sure, no one thought Palin thought them up on her own. But isn't this the defense that every official seeking pork-barrel earmarks makes?

Steve Benen 7:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Comments

Wouldn't the most important question be: will she actually stop repeating the lie about saying "thanks, but no thanks" when she's talking to voters instead of journalists? My money is on no, she won't stop.

Posted by: Ron E. on September 13, 2008 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Well, sure, no one thought Palin thought them up on her own. But isn't this the defense that every official seeking pork-barrel earmarks makes?

Yes.

Conservatives in politics lie. They always will, because they cannot possibly get access to power otherwise.
I'm sure they justify it to each other by telling themselves it is for the greater good.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 13, 2008 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

I wish Gibson had asked about the "Road to nowhere" she built with part of the 223M she got after "rejecting" the bridge. It would have fit in nicely after she said if we wanted the bridge we would have paid for it.

At least he did point out to her that Alaska sought and received a lot more earmarks per capita than Illinois.

Posted by: Danp on September 13, 2008 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

And second, are there consequences for a candidate seeking national office who gets caught in this big a lie?

I'm thinking IOKIYAR will be operative here. But a little bit chrome will come off the turd.

Posted by: PeakVT on September 13, 2008 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Steve I think you missed her true defense of the 3.2 million dollar seal DNA earmark. It wasn't that it came through "our research divisions and fish and game and our wildlife departments and our universities." Her real defense, which she said right after that, was that they were out in the open -- not earmarks that some lobbyist tried to slip in under the radar.

Apparently, these earmarks were so "out in the open" it took left-leaning bloggers two weeks to dig them up...

Posted by: chrisk on September 13, 2008 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Two weeks and Palin has still not held a press conference. The press should simply pull the plug on Palin coverage until she starts behaving like an actual candidate.

Posted by: msw on September 13, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Loyalty to her fellow lie makers before loyalty to honor and country.

You cannot clean up Washington if you ride into Washington with a baggage of fabrication and hypocrisy that mirrors everything we have grown to despise about DC politicians.

Posted by: lou on September 13, 2008 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone heard anything from that Ron McCain guy who used to be a candidate or something?

Posted by: Max Power on September 13, 2008 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

She is already a liar to dems and can never be a liar to the repubs. The only people for whom this might matter are the so-called independents or undecideds. The problem is that the repubs have so pu$$y-whipped the press about being unfair and biased to conservatives, that the undecideds will never get the story in its full glory. So the answer is likely no consequences unless biden does it directly in the debates.

Posted by: eric on September 13, 2008 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Steve,

You were right on in saying Palin's been railing against the very thing she says is OK - but it's even bigger than that. She said:

"It's not inappropriate for a mayor or for a governor to request and to work with their Congress and their congressmen, their congresswomen, to plug into the federal budget, along with every other state, a share of the federal budget for infrastructure," Palin said.

Requesting and working with Congressional representatives for infrastructure funding is a Webster's definition for one huge class of "pork Barrel" spending. McCain is the one who needs to answer why he chose a running mate who holds an opposite view from the centerpiece of his campaign.


Posted by: Bob on September 13, 2008 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Now that some members of the media have rediscovered their atrophied testicles, McCain and Palin can be counted upon to show up only on Faux News and other friendly venues. The excuse will be that the other outlets fail to show them the deference that they deserve.
One definition of deference:
"complaisance: a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others"

Posted by: Dennis - SGMM on September 13, 2008 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

The concession leads to two fairly straightforward questions. First, will Palin apologize for having misled voters? And second, are there consequences for a candidate seeking national office who gets caught in this big a lie?

The lying had reached a tipping point.
It was no longer sustainable. It needed to be walked back and recast.

At this point, given Palin's artful dodge (Me = infrastructure. Everybody else = pork), and media passivity, the answer to your two questions are NO and NO.

There will be a new glossy lies tomorrow to focus on. This culture rarely pauses for collective moral judgment. And we have no national arbiters of decency. No one of lasting fame to ask the two questions Benen has asked.

The Wurlitzer is loud...
The kool-aid strong, plentiful, and cheap...
The show must go on.


Posted by: koreyel on September 13, 2008 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Please join this Facebook group TELL THE TRUTH, MCCAIN/PALIN, if you want to help hold McCain/Palin accountable for their lies.

Posted by: Roger Travis on September 13, 2008 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

"The governor explained that those earmark requests came through "our research divisions and fish and game and our wildlife departments and our universities."

Harry Truman: "The buck stops here."
Sarah Palin: "The buck stops at the wildlife department." Then we shoot it.

Posted by: danimal on September 13, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

It's not "inappropriate" for Palin to ask for infrastructure money; it's inappropriate to lie about it.

Great point Steve. Too bad it will be lost on the masses...and the mass media.

Posted by: Homer on September 13, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

The governor explained that those earmark requests came through "our research divisions and fish and game and our wildlife departments and our universities."

This might be a weak defense if she wasn't running as an anti-pork crusader. Considering the persona she herself and the McCain campaign have created for her, this is like claiming you're an anti-drug crusader and then when pressed, saying you meant "I didn't inhale."

Posted by: Redshift on September 13, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

If you don't adhere to what I wrote at 8:59,
Check out USA today's whitewash:

Palin defends federal fund requests

Palin = Infrastucture
Everyone else = Pork

And of course, no mention of lies.

Conclusion:

You can win the American Presidency by lying.
You can't win the Presidency by pointing out the other guy's lies.

That's America baby!
Deal with it.

Posted by: koreyel on September 13, 2008 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

She was for earmarks before she was against them before she was for them.

Sarah "Ping Pong" Palin.

Posted by: Ping Pong Palin on September 13, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

First, will Palin apologize for having misled voters?

Why should she? They don't care. They adore her.

What's interesting is that Palin defends her earmark requests to Charlie Gibson on the same day that John McCain tells The View that Palin never requested earmarks as governor.

Posted by: Grumpy on September 13, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Docterine???

Very funny read my lips, I will not nation build so here we are eight years later rebuilding Iraq.

Reminds of that song "yes there is a mountain then theres not". America did not realize after we blow away that mountain we are obligated to replace it. Likely it will take two thousand years to do the job right.

Thats it, America the Bush docterine is 'gasp' sit done now, do the job right. Who is the judge of that of course the "decider".

And then there is spreading freedom. Would you like it creamy style or chuncky. Maybe a little jelly with your freedom sweet roll via the American tax dollar.

Posted by: on September 13, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

All research funding should be competitive, through the regular funding agencies, and not handled through earmarks.

Posted by: N.Wells on September 13, 2008 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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