You knew it was too good to be true. Minnesota congresswoman Michelle "Crazy Train" Bachmann, who is positioning herself as a big critic of government spending to try and court the tea parties, is at the same time trying to drop a $690 million bridge on the people in her district. The four-lane bridge would connect Stillwater, a town of 20,000 with an unincorporated township just across the St. Croix River.
According to the state department of transportation, the bridge will cost $292 million, with the remainder to go towards upgrading infrastructure, scenic and recreation needs at the project site. Naturally, this would be paid for with a mix of state and federal dollars.
On CBS's Face the Nation earlier this month, Bachmann said the federal government should re-prioritize spending instead of adding to the debt load.
Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said there are more than one thousand bridges in the state of Minnesota that need repaired. Exactly, and that's the shell game Bachmann is running on the American public: Look at what I'm trying to accomplish now, even though it's too much for not enough, and it's a full month of Sundays past when something should have been done in the first place...
I mean, honest-to-God, somebody's going to make bank if Crazy Train's fiasco goes through, but $690 million? If Bachmann wants a bridge built so bad, then she could use the I-35W bridge as an example. It collapsed because nobody in our government can get their heads from their asses long enough to address those matters, but when it came to replacing the bridge, it was a modern miracle- under budget (a mere $234 million, at that) and ahead of schedule. For a major interstate bridge, mind you, not the Podunk Expressway Bridge connecting Middle of Nowhere to Unincorporated Middle of Nowhere.
If Bachmann wants to appear even halfway pretending to be serious about her own spiel, let's see her come up with a reasonable amount to build the bridge, and use the remainder to, I don't know, maybe fix one fucking bridge in the entire state before it falls down?
Even sadder still is the notion that this legislation has a bit of Democratic support. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has companion legislation out there, co-sponsored by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). Yeah, that Al Franken. Guess all his campaign spiel is different when it's in his state, huh? Not that I'm against bi-partisanship, whatever the hell that is anymore, but isn't amazing the only time it happens is when there's a huge amount of cash getting ready to spiral down the rabbit hole?
Sen. Klobuchar says the project is in her state's best interests. Why in hell would she say anything else? $690 million's a lotta pork, especially when you can remind your constituents about it come campaign time. Sen. Franken's involvement in this is rather disappointing to me, as well. Guess all his campaign spiel was meant more for stuff outside his state. At any rate, still better than Norm Coleman...
As for Congresswoman Bachmann, it's not a matter of re-prioritizing spending so much as it is reacquainting yourself with common damn sense. And no, telling the public to tighten its belts at the same time you demand a bigger cake is not common sense, no matter how many times you tell yourself it is. The day that light bulb finally goes off in her head might be the day I (and the rest of the unimpressed) start to try to take her seriously. Not presidential serious, not ever, but any start would be promising out of her...
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