By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

For the bridge before she was against it

As you may have heard, Alaska’s two largest daily newspapers have published editorials questioning the Sarah Palin choice. The more negative is the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, which says in part:

Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it.

The Anchorage Daily News isn’t quite so harsh, although this editorial does say “it’s stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be heartbeat away from the presidency.”

The Daily News also confirms that stories of Palin’s opposition to the “Bridge to Nowhere” are largely fictitious — and that when Palin herself said on Friday, “I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere,” she was, at the very least, leaving the most relevant facts unspoken.

“Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it,” the Daily News reports, telling us, among other things, that her support for the project was a key issue in her successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign. After federal funding was withdrawn, she changed her mind, leading to accusations that did it in a way to attract national attention.

Let’s get real: If federal funding had been withdrawn for the Big Dig, Michael Dukakis and Bill Weld would have been against it.

The Daily News also reports that Walt Monegan, the state commissioner of public safety, whom Palin fired, says both Palin and her husband, Todd Palin, contacted him about her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper involved in a nasty divorce with Gov. Palin’s sister. Monegan claims he was fired in large measure because of his refusal to get rid of the inconvenient trooper.

This would appear to contradict statements made by both Palins. And there may be e-mails.

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  1. mike_b1

    Has a vice presidential nomination ever been withdrawn in under a week? A new record may be coming.That’s what happens when you were hit in the head every day for five years and make decisions based on, well, nothing…

  2. O-FISH-L

    Mike, Marie St. Fleur (D-Delinquent Taxes and Loans) lasted for only a day back in 2006. Oops, that was for Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor. I’m sorry.

  3. O-FISH-L

    Dan you’re joking on Governor Weld, right? As early as 1994, when it was becoming clear that continued federal funding for the Big Dig was at best uncertain, Weld had his chance to stop the project before it reached the point of no return. Instead he ploughed forward on “faith” because he didn’t have the guts to stop the project.Conversely, when federal funding became uncertain for the Alaska project, Governor Palin courageously withdrew her support for Ketchikan’s Gravina Island bridge which would have cost a relative pittance compared to our monstrosity. With transportation deficits around here now being counted in the double digit billions, and both the Big Dig and the rest of the infrastructure crumbling around us, one only wishes we had a Governor Palin in the late 80’s / early 90’s. As John Kerry likes to say, “Would that it were, would that it were.” —Excerpt from the Boston Globe, 09/11/94At midpoint, rising scrutiny, soaring costs cloud fortunes of the Big DigBy Charles M. Sennott and Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff “Ten years after the start of a furious political fight that clinched funding for the project, and 10 years before any ribbon-cutting ceremony for completion is scheduled to take place, the Big Dig’s midpoint arrives unceremoniously — amid a growing sense by the project’s many supporters and its fewer detractors that it is at a critical juncture. As the costs continue to climb dramatically, a sobering question persists: Who is going to pay for it all?The funding formula — that the federal government would cover roughly 85 percent of the expenditures and the state the other 15 percent — is in question as costs escalate. Federal funding secured and earmarked by the state for the artery-tunnel project through 1996 amounts to $3.8 billion. That will leave a shortfall of at least $2.5 billion and perhaps close to $5 billion.With the expected awarding later this month of a $400 million contract for construction under Atlantic Avenue, the so-far almost invisible project will become a daily reality for commuters. According to those involved, this is where the Big Dig will pass the point of no return. Beginning excavation downtown in earnest, with all the disruption and detour that entails, will be both an act of faith that the remaining federal and state funding will follow and a recognition that hundreds of millions of dollars will have been wasted if it does not.”

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Your memory is better than mine. Weld should have killed it. Even without the cost, the Big Dig is a disaster, and we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.

  5. Steve

    Granted the Big Dig was and is an expensive boondoggle that we won’t finish paying for in interest, repairs, etc. for a long time. Recently I’ve been in the neighborhood of Atlantic Ave, Long Wharf and the North End for the first time in a long while and it’s incredible what a difference the absence of the Central Artery makes. It’s a real treat to be down there now without the eyesore and noise of the Green Monstrosity.When you’re looking at the cost of the Big Dig, don’t overlook the the improvement in the quality of the neighborhoods, and the costs of repairing and maintaining the Central Artery.

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