John McCain's Bad Judgment--and Ross Douthat's Too
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John McCain's Awful Judgment, Part LXIII


George Bryson tells us that Sarah Palin has never issued an order to the Alaska National Guard asking it to do anything:

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 09/04/2008 | Official: Palin's never issued an order to Alaska Guard: When presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain introduced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate last Friday, the Arizona senator emphasized her role as the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. Later, when questions were raised about Palin's lack of experience in national and international affairs, the McCain campaign pointed again to her military command experience as governor. Some reporters have tried to follow up. "Can you tell me one decision that she made as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard?" CNN journalist Campbell Brown asked Monday while interviewing McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds. "Just one?" Bounds couldn't, because Palin has never personally ordered the state guard to do anything....

Occasions in which Palin retains command authority over the 4,200-member Alaska National Guard are whenever the Guard responds to in-state natural disasters and civic emergencies, said Campbell, who also serves as the commissioner of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.... Did Palin directly approve... those activities? No, Campbell said. The governor has granted him the authority to act on his own...

Courtesy of Andrew Halcro, photographic evidence that Sarah Palin did too support the "bridge to nowhere":

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Courtesy of Mike Willis, photographic evidence that Sarah Palin does too love earmarks:

Palin on Earmarks: ‘We Did Well!!!’: Digging through Wasilla’s municipal records is a lesson in the very essence of tedium. You’ve got pages of proposals to rename streets, assess sewers, build skateboard parks, buy lawnmowers, rent “pop” machines, carve snowmobile trails, congratulate high school football teams — the kind of stuff that makes small towns run, but leaves you glad that someone else is running them.

Every once in a while, though, something pops up and grabs your attention. Take, for example, Wasilla City Council Informational Memorandum 99-62, prepared on June 14, 1999. This little gem outlines some of the state-funded projects that Wasilla City secured that year, including $1.2 million for storm water treatment and $605,000 for pedestrian pathways. Then, slapped in the margin, former Mayor Sarah Palin — reformer extraordinaire — scribbled the following message:

FYI This does not include our nearly one million Dollars from the Feds for our Airport Paving Project.

We did well!!!

John McCain didn’t think so. Indeed, The LA Times reported that McCain was criticizing Palin’s earmarks at the time that his now-running mate was securing them...

The Washington Independent » Palin on Earmarks: 2018We Did Well!!!2019

The Anchorage Daily News:

Some of Palin's remarks stretch the truth: GAS PIPELINE: PALIN: "I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence. That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.

THE FACTS: Palin implies that construction has begun on a major natural gas pipeline from the top of Alaska into Canada. That is not correct. In fact, no building has begun.... This summer the Alaska Legislature, at Palin's request, passed a bill under which the state will issue a "license" to a Canadian energy company, TransCanada Corp., and pay it up to $500 million as an incentive to someday build this enormous project.... The license is not a construction contract....

EARMARKS: PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation, although she has cut, by more than half, the amount the state sought from Washington this year...

Yereth Rosen:

Palin "bridge to nowhere" line angers many Alaskans: ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - It garnered big applause in her first speech as Republican John McCain's vice presidential pick, but Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's assertion that she rejected Congressional funds for the so-called "bridge to nowhere" has upset many Alaskans. During her first speech after being named as McCain's surprise pick as a running mate, Palin said she had told Congress "'thanks but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere."

In the city Ketchikan, the planned site of the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere," political leaders of both parties said the claim was false and a betrayal of their community, because she had supported the bridge and the earmark for it secured by Alaska's Congressional delegation during her run for governor.... When she was running for governor in 2006, Palin said she was insulted by the term "bridge to nowhere," according to Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein... Mike Elerding... Palin's campaign coordinator in the southeast Alaska city. "People are learning that she pandered to us by saying, I'm for this' ... and then when she found it was politically advantageous for her nationally, abruptly she starts using the very term that she said was insulting," Weinstein said....

"She said 'thanks but no thanks,' but they kept the money," said Elerding about her applause line. Former state House Speaker Gail Phillips, a Republican who represented the Kenai Peninsula city of Homer, is also critical about Palin's reversal on the bridge issue. "You don't tell a group of Alaskans you support something and then go to someplace else and say you oppose it"...

Matthew Yglesias sums up:

Matthew Yglesias: I understand that Sarah Palin’s fans find her critics loathesome and our motives dubious, but I wonder how they feel about the fact that her two national appearances have been so packed full of lies. To site the most obvious example, the story she’s now told in both of her appearances before national audiences about how “I told the Congress ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ for that Bridge to Nowhere” is an enormously appealing story. But to me, the appeal wore off when I learned it wasn’t true. Similarly, this is a nice idea:

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.

But then you read:

However, a comment here notes that Palin actually slashed funding for schools for special needs kids by 62%. Budgets: FY 2007 (pre-Palin), 2008, 2009 (all pdfs).

Well that’s less appealing. Republicans who’ll cut social services for people in need are as common as politicians who favor pork for their home state.