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Gov. Palin has a bridge to sell you

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By The Staff

Reading Monday's (story on Republicans and GOP vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin), it was remarkable to see people gushing about the Alaska governor.

Knowing little about Palin, I had listened intently to her convention speech. In it were several inaccurate attacks on the Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama.

It is not surprising that Palin was so uninformed about Obama's legislative record, since she is apparently pretty uninformed about the government in general.

It was just back in July, when asked by CNBC's Larry Kudlow about the possibility that she could be nominated for the vice presidency, that she said, "As for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?"

She should, however, be better informed about her own brief political career. Sadly, she isn't. She claims that she is against "earmarks" - federal tax dollars grabbed up by politicians for local pet projects.

Yet, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town about the size of Tell City, she used the services of a Jack Abramoff-connected lobbyist to get $27 million in earmarks for her town.

As the governor of Alaska, she obtained approximately $300 per citizen in earmarks - about 10 times the average that other states received per capita. It turns out she's against earmarks like a fish is against water. In other words, she's lying about opposing earmarks.

Her biggest, most frequently told lie is that she was against the Bridge to Nowhere, a $398 million project to build a bridge to a small island with a few dozen residents. The truth is, while running for governor in October 2006, she said, "The window is now, while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." She even went to the island to reassure them of her support.

Then the press got wind of this outrageous piece of political pork, and outraged citizens (including me, in phone calls to Alaska Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens) told them that we didn't want our tax dollars spent on this project.

Eventually, the project was abandoned. But she didn't really say, "Thanks, but no thanks," like she keeps saying in repetitions of that speech the campaign wrote for her and she reads so well off a teleprompter.

Media critic Howard Kurtz summed up the sordid details: "She endorsed the remote project while running for governor in 2006, claimed to be an opponent only after Congress killed its funding the next year, and has used the $223 million provided for it for other state ventures." A week after she first told the "Thanks but no thanks" lie, she continues to tell it at each campaign stop.

There's a popular saying: "If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you." Palin will do you one better and sell you a lie about a bridge. We can debate her preparedness for the job of vice president, but she's already proven one thing: She'll be ready to lie on day one.

Once we peel away Palin's lies about being a reformer, and being against earmarks, what are we left with? Well, she's a moose hunter. That's pretty exciting, but not quite exciting enough to offset her lies and earn my vote.

Bailey lives in rural Cannelton.