I feel like it's September 10th again.
You know, that time before the sh-t hit the fan.
(September 10th 2001, I was at a birthday party. I remember as I sat at the table looking around at my friends, I saw through the haze two waiters in stark clothes: They were working at the restaurant next door and the whiteness of their work gear was strange against the night. I saw them and I thought, not everyone's having a good time tonight. What I mean by this is that I was startled by the other realities going on, well around me. Something I would feel even more intensely when I woke up the next day.)
Like that hurricane hitting Texas now.
Except we knew the storm was coming and so we can't pretend anymore that we didn't know.
So how do you stop a storm?
It's not enough to be right, you have to be convincing. Maybe you have to de-electrify it somehow.
Because there are a lot of Sarah Palins out there. I spent my last years of high school in a Buffalo suburb. It's a conservative town. I never got into politics with my neighbors. People stay in their corners.
And now we know Palin isn't either.
I think it's not enough to be "right". For example, Kathy Phillips, News Director for Alaska's Progressive Voice, NewsTalk 1080 KUDO emailed me her latest findings on Palin, among them that,
"Palin agreed to take over $15-million more in federal funds to pay for state construction projects...one of which is the other bridge to nowhere."
"When she told the federal government, "Thanks, but no thanks," to the Bridge to Nowhere, she neglected to mention there is ANOTHER Bridge to Nowhere. It is called the Knik (kuh-NICK) Arm Bridge. Congressman Don Young secured $230-million in the Federal Highway bill in 2005 for it. It would be a two-mile span linking Anchorage to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MAT-an-OOS-kuh SUE-sit-nuh), and is touted as being an alternative route to the Valley (including Wasilla and Palmer). In reality it would cut no time from most people's commutes, but would open up huge tracts of undeveloped land in the Point MacKenzie area. Included among those land owners is Art Nelson, Don's son-in-law, who is part owner of 60 acres there. "
"While Sarah said she turned down the bridge money, you can look at the 2008 State Operating Budget and on page 41, line 23 you can see they appropriated $852,800 to the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA). In 2006, the last year Governor (and former U.S. Senator) Frank Murkowski was in office, they appropriated $544,300 (page 24 line 27) . If you look at how much money was appropriated in 2006 vs 2008 to the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Design, Engineering and Construction budget, you see the following: Total Appropriations 2006 $80,501,300...of that $1.677-million came from General (State) Funds, while $78.8-million came from "Other Funds" i.e. Federal. In 2008 that breakdown was $96,067,900...$2.3-million from General Funds, with nearly $93.8-million coming from Other Funds."
Other funds, federal funds, lying.
The question is this: Can the Dems be right and be persuasive?
A Bridge to Nowhere, some major gaps in education, what do these elements (or others) add up to?
Can Dems find a way to show why all these sorted facts matter?
Or, will people do as children do sometimes when they don't understand something, like on television, just turn away and disengage?
If Dems can continue to do what Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did today on "Meet the Press," then they're getting back on track. Schumer kept to his point that McCain/Palin have not proven they are reform candidates:
"There are so many questions she hasn't been asked... but she is campaigning on a basis of reform... she talks the talk but so far she hasn't walked the walk."
Referring to this weekend's NYT article on Palin's record Schumer highlighted three questions he has for Gov. Palin:
1. Is she going to support Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, who Schumer referred to as 'the king of earmarks') in the election campaign?
2. (Regarding the firing of an Alaskan state trooper) Will Palin let state employees in Alaska talk to the bi-partisan committee investigating "trooper gate" ?
3. Will she release her tax returns?
At moments looking straight into the camera as if he were talking to Palin himself, Schumer was clear, concise and solid.