Friday, July 15, 2011

Michele's Bridge to Nowhere


Republicans like to say Obama is three years into his Presidency, so using their math, Michele Bachmann is one year into the new Congress -- the Create Jobs Congress. And thus far, she has sponsored seven bills in one year. Yep, seven. And none are titled "Job Creating Bill". From the way she talks, you'd think she has worked tirelessly (like the Founding Fathers on slavery) to create jobs. Nope. Seven bills. None of them job creators. Well, unless you think cutting taxes is a job creator and if you do, well, you don't need to be reading this. Or unless you think building a bridge is a job creator. (In fact, it is a job creator which is why I support federal infrastructure funding. More on that later.)

To be fair to her work ethic, she has co-sponsored 92 bills this year. But that's not really leadership, is it? I mean when you sponsor 7 and co-sponsor 92, ya look like a follower. In fact, she has only sponsored 38 bills ever. Heck, Obama sponsored 121 in only two years -- he sponsored at least one bill for every four bills he co-sponsored when he was in the Senate. In two years.

Now, about that one bill of hers, her one of her many, many (seven) bills that is a job creator. Its goal is

To facilitate a proposed project in the Lower St. Croix Wild and Scenic River, and for other purposes.
Sounds a little like earmarking to me. Hey, she did the proper thing by filing a bill and submitting it to committees. Heck, she even attached a Constitutional Authority Statement. But, still, when someone uses 1/7th of her bill-sponsoring time on a local district project, it's an earmark, because an earmark is an earmark is an earmark. Well, except when it's not. And this one is not.

This bill is not an earmark because there is no money attached to it. The bridge is estimated to cost between $334 and $373 million dollars. (Remember that other bridge that was going to cost the feds about that much?) But all THIS bill does it get permission to build it because it violates some environmental concerns. She's just asking for the green light from the federal government to be able to later ask for funding for it. So, because they can't build it, there's no need to ask for money and that means she can stick to her pledge to
not seek any earmarks this year [emphasis mine]
It seems rather easy to not seek earmarks when you're not really seeking much in general. I mean seven sponsored bills is an easy way to avoid asking for earmarks. Especially when the one you REALLY want earmarks for, isn't approved for funding yet.

Or IS it? I guess it depends on what your def... oops, sorry. Anyway, DID she avoid earmark requests for this bridge? Well, yes and no. She didn't ask for earmarks this year or even over the last two years. What she did do is send out letters requesting grant consideration for federal funding in 2009 in the ... wait for it ... stimulus!! Yes, the OBAMA stimulus. You know, the one she despises and said hasn't created jobs. She sent letters on behalf of her bridge to ask for funding from the very stimulus she spoke out against before, during and after the votes.

Is anyone really surprised? I mean the gal has a lot of "choots pa", after all.

Now, I was actually for the Bridge to Nowhere before I was still for it. It made sense to me considering the need. The problem was that it became a political football and people lost sight of the need. And, instead, they built a road to nowhere with the money. A bridge would have been the better use.

And I support more federal funding for bridges, light rail, broadband, alternate energy source conduits. I am a Democrat (although I was recently told I am not one because I don't agree with the Angry Left and I was told this by a woman threatening to vote third party so yep, I AM a Democrat). I love when the federal government employs people to make things people will use. I don't care where those things are as long as people work to make them and they make lives easier where they are.

So when a "Constitutional Conservative" who believes
that many of our problems result from the federal government's insatiable — and unconstitutional — grab for power and money
actually makes a money and power grab for a bridge in the middle of nowhere while condemning the very funding source she begs to be a part of, I think to myself, "How's that conservativey, hypocrisy thing workin for ya'?"

Oh, wrong Conservative hypocrite. It's hard to keep those two straight.

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