The debate surrounding the Bridge to Nowhere should serve as a teachable moment as they say:
STATEMENT OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMASENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON FEDERAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, GOVERNMENT INFORMATION, AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITYJULY 18, 2006
I'm still relatively new to Washington. But even during my short time in the Senate, I've been surprised and shocked by the examples of government waste, fraud, and abuse that we've seen, particularly at a time when this country's most vulnerable citizens need to see government at its best. In the aftermath of Katrina, we have not seen government at its best, and all Americans - but in particular, the people of the Gulf Coast - deserve better.
It's been embarrassing to hear about the government paying 15 times more than the market price for plastic tarps to cover damaged roofs in New Orleans, or paying 5 times too much for debris removal, or contracting with vendors for ice or transportation services who don't even have the relevant experience or equipment.
How can we expect the American people to have confidence in us when all they hear about is overcharging and overpayments, pork-barrel projects like the Bridge to Nowhere, and money being wasted on frivolous expenses? How can we expect them to have confidence when the Administration and Congress seem unwilling or unable really to hold people accountable?
Tough words, right? Here is Obama using his rhetoric to champion fiscal responsibility and getting tough on wasteful spending. This is the change we have been hearing so much about.
Only one small problem. How did Obama vote when given the chance to back up his words?