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Thursday, September 11, 2008

McCain to Repossess Discovery Bridge and Oahe Dam?

I suggested in an earlier comment that if McCain came to South Dakota and said that his stand against earmarks meant he would shut down the Mni Wiconi and Lewis and Clark water projects and repossess the Discovery Bridge, he would lose the state.

But McCain isn't talking about doing anything like that... is he?

Take back earmark funds. The McCain Administration will reclaim billions of add-on spending from earmarks and add-ons in FY 2007 and 2008 ["Jobs for America: The McCain Economic Plan," (PDF alert!) McCain campaign briefing, JohnMcCain.com, p. 5].

Hmm... the Discovery Bridge may be safe, since John Thune says he got the first earmark for that project back in 1998 (maybe that's why McCain didn't pick him?). But the McCain administration could require South Dakota to pay back the following:
  • $500K for Small Business Administration support for rural tech-based economic development
  • $3.9M for wildlife and rec areas
  • $6.5M for alternative energy research
  • $2.3M for work on Highways 11 and 42 in Sioux Falls
  • $9.2M for continued operation of the Oahe Dam
...and other projects bringing South Dakota's earmark total for FY 2008 alone to $65M for FY2008 alone. Uff da.

So if the Straight Talk Express breezes through South Dakota again, will we hear McCain say, "Give us back that money"? And will Governor Rounds and Senator Thune lead the charge to hand that money back? I'm feeling skeptical....


  1. Comrade,

    If tough fiscal choice would've been made in the past, we would not have the mess we have now.

    Of course, we all burning money in Iraq every day. Compare that to the special earmarks SD gets.

    Your list is by far incomplete...What about the millions of dollars paid to Native American tribes? Just because the tribes were promised things by treaty (Laramie 1868) doesn't mean the federal gov't has to honor the treaty.

  2. Товарищ!

    Remind me not to appoint you Secretary of Interior... or State! ;-)

  3. Suggesting the money go back is unrealistic. How do you operate honorably in a corrupt system? When I first read of Palin's earmarks my first thought was Madison should get a few. Why are they getting what we ain't getting! Double slap. But any one person can only change things so much. Hasn't McCain operated the most honorably in this regard by never requesting earmarks? jh

  4. There's the tricky part, jh. Is never requesting an earmark an inherently honorable position? Was it somehow dishonorable for our congressional delegation to request earmarks for alternative energy research, the Discovery Bridge, and wildlife protection? Are our local Four for the Future boosters dishonorable for trying to obtain federal dollars to expand Highway 34? Maybe, maybe not? The answer lies not in a too-simple declaration that "earmarks are evil," but in a serious analysis of the costs and benefits (fiscal and social) of each program. And that discussion is awfully hard to do in soundbites that grab the temporary attention of inattentive swing voters.

  5. "So if the Straight Talk Express breezes through South Dakota again, will we hear McCain say, 'Give us back that money'? And will Governor Rounds and Senator Thune lead the charge to hand that money back? I'm feeling skeptical..."

    Don't worry, Cory. That would never happen, any more than Barack Obama, in the name of national service for all citizens, would reinstate a military draft of the sort we had during the Vietnam era...

    ...Unless we end up in a wasting war with multiple fronts. Alas, I see that as a real possibility.

    I think that politicians tend to paint hypotheticals with a brush that's too wide, the alternative being to befuddle the average citizen with minutiae. But we all know that "The devil is in the details." We'd better try mighty hard to resolve what's going through the candidates' heads (and our own heads, too!) before the election.

  6. The problem is earmarks. If a project is worthy, prove it, and give it funding. If not, it's gone. Just don't hide an authorization for someone's lollipop in a bill for an entirely different issue, and then said bill get's approved and there goes my taxpayer dollars for that lollipop. That's the issue.


  7. You're right, Nonnie. Now if McCain-Palin would pay us the respect of having that sort of detailed, intelligent conversation rather than playing with words and flat-out lying to us. For instance, I would respect Palin much more if she would simply tell us why she believes the Gravina Island bridge is worthy of federal funds.

  8. Is that the bridge to nowhere? Because she is NOT in favor of federal funds for that project. She stated if it was needed, her own state would pay for it. Period.

  9. semicolon: however, Palin used her support for that very bridge as a reason to vote for her in 2006. If she said anything about paying for it out of state money (link, please?), it was not a great moral stand, but an acknowledgment that "Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here." Palin also kept the money Congress had already sent for the postponed bridge and used it for other Alaska projects. See this comment or this news article.

  10. The McCain strategy is evidently to bog Obama supporters down in repeatedly rebutting the same lies so often that we don't have as much time to emphasize all the reasons Obama will be a better president than McCain. Oh well.


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