After going crazy with spreading all sorts of deranged theories about Sarah Palin and her family (including "Trig-gate"), it looks like we are to look forward to a more sober (and perhaps, effective) approach and
push back against a continuous steady dripping of deceptive articles and headlines from now on till election day from a Press Corps seeking to falsify Sarah Palin's record in Alaska in a bid to prop up their man-god, Barack Obama.
The Wall Street Journal's liberal newsroom hacked up this hit job yesterday, titled "Palin's Project List Totals $453 Million". The implication is obvious from the lede ...
Last week, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, hadn't sought earmarks or special-interest spending from Congress, presenting her as a fiscal conservative. But state records show Gov. Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund $453 million in specific Alaska projects over the past two years.
The aim of this article is to plant the idea in the average reader's mind that Palin does not practice what she preaches - the hypocrisy brush that liberals love to wield with no sense of irony, despite the drastic reduction in earmarks since she entered the Governor's Mansion compared to her predecessors.
For Palin's view on earmarks for state projects, in her own words, click here.
Leaving aside whether or not the authors actually know what differentiates an normal congressional appropriation going to a state from an "earmark", it would appear that Ms. Laura Meckler and John R. Wilke did not do the bare minimum of research necessary to determine whether or not the federal funds asked for by Palin were justifiable on the grounds that they served a federal purpose.
For example, take this line ...
[Palin] also has sought $4.5 million to upgrade an airport on a Bering Sea island that has a year-round population of less than 100.
Damning, isn't it? Until you discover that the airport is on Adak Island and to quote Cuffy Meigs (who did the research) "Adak Island new home port of the newest sensor in the US ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, the one-of-a-kind Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) ... the SBX's crew of 85 will be frequently transiting through the island's airport. With Adak's harsh weather and usually socked-in conditions, it seems that $3.2 million is a small price to pay for the safe transport of this important crew."
Patterico researched even further (he actually read the document The Politico's Ben Smith linked to - but, apparently, did not read) and quotes some typical justification remarks for each appropriation (almost 40% down from her predecessor's last year) for Alaska as requested by the Palin Administration for this year;
- Meets the increased needs under the Magnuson-Stevens Act for developing regional fishery coordinated databases.
- This is an ongoing effort to collect data on the recreational hailbut fishery that is conducted by federal agencies though relying on the state for data.
- Provides state funding for management of federal fisheries, including Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands king crab and tanner crab, weathervane scallops and groundfish.
- To meet federal obligation to enhance Sockeye salmon production, the state operates an enhancement unit at an existing hatercy and conducts fish monitoring. The work is completed cooperatively with the Canadian government.
- Provides ongoing funding for programs that mitigate that impacts of harvest reductions imposed by the Pacific Salmon Treaty on Alaskan fisheries and coastal communities.
- Funds Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Northwest Treaty Indian Tribes in meeting federal obligations under Pacific Salmon Treaty.
- Funds monitoring of ice seal populations in Native Villages, research on species delineation and genetics of harbor seals to understand the declines in population and provide for population restoration, and continues research into Stellar Sea Lion population decline.
- Allows State of Alaska to monitor Yukon River salmon and provide information necessary to support negotiations between US and Canada under Yukon River Salmon Agreement.
- To continue necessary airport upgrading after transfer of the Naval Air Station (Adak) to the State. [see Cuffy Meigs ...]
- Continued funding to address the challenges of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) as it relates to teacher quality and student achievement. It provides trained, full-release mentors for beginning teachers and principals.
- Funds State of Alaska for implementation of federal obligations under Yukon River Treaty.
- To complete a communication facility to support the 168th Air Refueling Wing’s 8 PAA KC 135 aircraft.
In other words, the bulk of appropriation requests from the Palin Administration address federal concerns and obligations that the state of Alaska has to meet. There's a major difference between that and requesting funds for a Woodstock Museum or The Women's Sports Foundation’s Go Girl Go Chicago Initiative.
Meckler and Wilke continue ...
The McCain campaign has also come under fire for saying on the stump and in TV ads that Gov. Palin killed the controversial "Bridge to Nowhere," a $223 million earmark linking the mainland to a sparsely populated island. In fact, she supported the project initially and killed it after it was widely criticized and Congress allowed the state to use the funds for other projects.
Again, Palin had expressed support for the idea of a more reliable mode of transport between Gravina Island and the mainland, and tentatively supported the bridge project until the cost became apparent as not the most efficient use of $200 million when the state had other pressing transportation needs.
But it's the last few paragraphs that reveal a certain disingenuousness that doesn't speak well of the authors of this article.
On the campaign trail, Gov. Palin has repeatedly attacked Sen. Obama on earmarks. "Our opponent has requested nearly one billion dollars in earmarks in three years. That's about a million for every working day," she said at a rally in Albuquerque, N.M. ... Sen. Barack Obama requested a total of $860 million in earmarks in his Senate years, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. That doesn't include $78 million for projects that were national in scope and had been requested by many lawmakers. Sen. Obama halted all earmark requests in fiscal 2009.
Of course the last sentence highlights the difference between being an Executive and being a legislator - Governors (and even small-town Mayors) cannot just call "halts" with no consequences.
Otherwise, fair enough. But then they continue ...
It is difficult to compare Sen. Obama's earmark record with Gov. Palin's -- their states differ in size, for instance, and the two candidates play different roles in the process. But using the same calculation that the McCain campaign uses, the total amount of earmarked dollars divided by the number of working days while each held office (assuming a five-day workweek, every week, for both), Gov. Palin sought $980,000 per workday, compared with roughly $893,000 for Sen. Obama.
In other words, while they carefully strip out those appropriations from Obama that are "national in scope", they don't so kindly strip out those same appropriation requests from Palin that are intended to meet federal obligations imposed on the state of Alaska, and then compare.
That is just dishonest.
Are the days since Obama declared a "halt" on earmark requests (when was the last time he was at his post in Washington DC anyway? ) being included, or not? If he is out campaigning, is that a day at work? Last I checked, Presidents, Governors and Mayors can sign bills, issue Executive Orders, etc. while anywhere in the world, so they're always at work. Senators need to be on the Senate floor.
This is just the latest hit piece in the attempt to take her down by calling her integrity into question, and before that it was the Per Diem Scandal!!! the Washington Post tried to rustle up. The intention is to flood the zone with a constant stream of negative spin and context free stories until the average swing voter, never among the most knowledgeable of voting demographics is led to assume that where there is all this smoke, there must be fire.
I hope the McCain/Palin campaign is taking note of this and formulating an effective response strategy.
One of the most insightful posts I ever read in 2006 was this one posted by SubOne on instapunk - I may have even cited it before. My only quibble is that he failed to mention the immense role George W. Bush played in his own downfall by not only paying little or no attention to communicating with the American people - thus leaving the field entirely to a hostile Democratic Press Corps, he also fielded the most incompetent White House communications team in the history of the Presidency.
Nonetheless, SubOne is correct. The MSM inundated the American public with negative stories and headlines about the Bush Administration and effectively drove his numbers down through the basement.
... the MSM ocean [harnessed] its entire immensity on just one story, told an infinite number of times, in every possible inflection, from every direction, and with the deadly persistent accuracy of a dripping tap: George W. Bush is no good.It doesn't have to be true, it doesn't have to be fair, it doesn't have to be consistent in its terms. All that matters is that it is repeated with uniform constancy: drip, drip, drip. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. Change the headlines, seem to change the subject. Abu Ghraib. European disdain. Tom Delay. Katrina. Deficits. Valerie Plame. Gas prices. Karl Rove. Death in Iraq. Angry mothers. NSA wiretaps. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, the lede is always the same. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. Forget the good news, bury the accomplishments or ignore them altogether. Drip, drip, George W. Bush is no good, George W. Bush is no good, George W. Bush is no good.
Palin has taken the place of Bush - unlike McCain, who's a known quantity to an extent that it would take something extraordinary to redefine him, Palin is still in the midst of introducing herself to the American people. The MSM beginning a drum-beat of "Sarah Palin is no good" till November could still be effective.