Palin and the bridge to nowhere

PALIN AND THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE…. John McCain’s introduction of Sarah Palin as his running mate this afternoon was an interesting sight. If you watch the video carefully, and I hope you do, notice that in order to tell the audience his running mate’s name, he had to carefully read it from a script. That’s really not a good sign.

Palin’s speech was rather routine, but there was a paragraph that stood out for me:

“…I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we’d build it ourselves.”

The McCain campaign has been flagging this pretty aggressively this afternoon. It’s a shame, then, that Palin wasn’t exactly telling the truth. As TNR’s Brad Plumer explained, Palin actually supported the funding for the much-derided bridge project.

That’s not a good start for her very first public appearance as the Republicans’ VP candidate.

I’d add, by the way, that her reference to earmark spending is itself problematic. For all of McCain’s alleged disgust for pork, Palin’s Alaska receives more earmarks than any other state.

As for the rest of the event, I had a similar reaction to Jonathan Chait: “It sort of seemed like one of those regular person testimonials where somebody gets up and talks about their family and their blue-collar job — except then she says that she’s on the ticket. Maybe it will help McCain connect with blue-collar voters. Maybe she’ll come off as someone you can’t possibly imagine as president. I don’t know. It’s really different.”

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation