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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No More Politics!

After this post! I promise!

Well, maybe.

And since I'm not planning on running for public office, I can say things like that.

I was listening to NPR today and they were talking about Palin and the now infamous "Bridge to Nowhere". The interview was with the guy who originated the phrase, I think. Though I was in the middle of dinner prep and kids were regularly passing through, so I could be mistaken. I'm not planning on running for public office, like I said, so I'm allowed to make a mistake.

Because the guy himself was against the bridge -- hence the catchy phrase, which he thought up one night while drinking a few beers, as he related...

You gotta love it, alcohol getting the creative juices flowing. Did you know that Ann Coulter has said she gets a lot of writing done staying up at night drinking red wine and smoking cigarettes? When I told my mom that, she said no wonder she stays so skinny. But I digress.

So this guy sounds like someone who should be on Palin's side, if anyone's, about her decision to not build this Bridge To Nowhere once she's in office despite her campaign previously saying she was for it, as I understand from all the dead horse beating going on in the press about it. And the guy did outline the reasons why the bridge was a bad idea -- what was it, a $240 million proposal? Like I said, there were a few distractions in this soccer mom life of mine (even though none of my kids play soccer) (but this is Middle America so it's soccer and not hockey) so I could be mistaken. DEAL WITH IT.

Anyhoo. So I'm listening about how Palin decided against it after looking at the budget and determining that earmarking is corrupt, etc. etc. But instead of returning the earmarked funds back to the federal government she used them for other things. If he said what things that must have been when Olivia was bugging me for a snack five minutes before dinnertime, because I don't recall what they were if he did.

Then he finished by stating that he believed Palin did the right thing not to build the bridge, but that it was incorrect (that was his word, I remember clearly, "incorrect") for her to say that not building it saved money.

Then I waited for the interviewer to say something in response, but she was apparently satisfied (or out of time) so that was that.

And I was left wondering, am I crazy? Am I the only one listening to this and wondering where has common sense gone? Because how could it not have saved money? I mean, what'd Alaska do -- bury the money in a glacier? Make it into confetti? Without even knowing where exactly the money was spent instead, it simply makes sense that, whatever it was spent on, was one less thing that then had to draw money from somewhere, or from someone (the federal government) else.

Like the kid who really wants this awesome new skateboard that costs a couple hundred dollars. His mom tells him, sure, I think we can swing that. Only when she actually sits down to look at the books she finds a bill she didn't know about that needs to be paid or the whole family will, I don't know, be cold come winter because the electric company will shut off their power. (I know there's a moratorium on shutting off people's heat in the winter, but bear with me, it's the first metaphor I could come up with.)(Maybe I should have a few drinks to get the creative juices flowing.)

So she tells her son that she was mistaken, they can't afford that new skateboard after all, even though it's the top of the line and would probably help him to forge ahead of the pack in that next competition he plans on entering. And he's a bit crushed, but he understands that other things are more important right now, and the family comes first.

The segment on NPR did include a short question and answer period with the mayor of Ketchikan, the destination of the proposed Nowhere Bridge. But he wasn't as forgiving as the kid who wanted a skateboard. I mean, come on, what do you expect? Of course he's going to slander Palin's politics. He's the one who lost out when she changed her position. (Based on new information.) (But I don't recall the interview getting to that part.)

I also heard a short segment today on NPR with Meghan McCain, about her new children's book, "My Dad, John McCain". While addressing one of the interviewer's questions, Megan mentions that she never read all of her dad's book, "Faith of My Fathers", because it made her too sad. Rather than following the flow of the conversation, the interviewer all but cuts her off and says, "But let's go back to what you just said earlier about 'Not finishing your father's book'". Megan then clearly elaborates by explaining that she had to skip whole sections, paragraphs, that dealt with her dad's torture as a prisoner because they were so painful they just made her cry. You could almost hear her tearing up on the air.

But I can see the headlines now. "McCain's daughter never bothered to finish dad's biography, yet authored children's book based on his life." You know, in the children's books circles, that is.

Meghan is young -- 23 -- and I imagine she is learning some hard lessons during this campaign about how your words can be twisted and misconstrued. She was extremely gracious and cordial at the end of the interview, thanking the interviewer profusely for her time and giving her the opportunity to talk. She understood what she was up against, though that doesn't guard against making mistakes.

For Pete's sake, even The Orator himself, Barack Obama, makes mistakes. That whole lipstick on a pig gaffe? Oops. Definitely not the most politically astute remark to make, in light of Palin's very popular reference at the RNC to lipstick on hockey moms. Of course people are going to make the connection. But sexist? I didn't think so. Poor guy. But politics and the media will pounce on anything, and do. Unfortunately it seems to lead the general public to ignore the headlines they don't like, and to focus on the ones they do -- depending on which way they lean.

It can be so hard to wade through the media bias.

I like to listen to NPR for a number of reasons. I love a lot of their music, first of all. Especially Saturday nights when the local station plays Bluegrass all evening, which I try to remember to listen to when John's not around, because bluegrass he no like.

I also like the human interest stories, like the World Cafe -- usually. And I like hearing the relatively few conservative interviewees they invite on the air, especially when they're intelligent and make the interview squirm and fight for her opinion. And then there's that little part about my tax dollars helping to pay for its airing: if I'm going to pay for it, I want to know a bit of what it's all about.

Sometimes I just have to turn it off, though. A few days ago Terry Gross was interviewing a couple of Times reporters about Sarah Palin. The interview questions were so leading and the tone was so mocking that I couldn't stomach it.

I do plan on watching the upcoming presidential debates. And the vice presidential ones as well. (I almost wonder, which will draw the most viewers? heh-heh.) I encourage all of you to, too. I don't know who is formulating the questions. I don't know who is facilitating the debate, if anyone will be ensuring the answers actually pertain to the questions asked...

But hearing it straight from the horse's mouth is the best way to be informed. Maybe we could all even try to find someone with a differing viewpoint to discuss the debate with afterwards...? Or maybe not. Either way, you're welcome to express it here. This soccer mom would love to hear what you think.


Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work! All of the conversations with my friends (and among my friends) are on politics these days. I cannot remember when there was so much excitment about an election.

I now have a very nice working TV (thanks to some good friends) and I anticipate watching the debates.
I would hope they will be more impartial than they were when Hillary and Obama debated. It was the media that got Obama the nomination.

You have a way with words!

Tam said...

I love NPR and use to listen to it everyday on my way to WORK in DC!

I will say that after MONTHS of NO POLITCAL talk at all at my SCRAPBOOKING nights...LAST FRIDAY NIGHT the women were FIRED UP NOW over the Elections..and finally said...HEY WE DO NOT TALK POLITICS HERE BUT LET'S PUT DOWN THE SCRAPBOOKS AND GET POLITICAL.

Tam said...

OK so I left you a small little bloggy SMILE!!!!

Mrs. Staff Sergeant said...

You know, I was a bit disturbed about the "bridge to nowhere" money not being returned (if that's even true- because I don't trust the media half the time anyway) until you described it here. You're absolutely right. It was probably used for other things that were necessary for the state's welfare. Well now it doesn't seem so scandalous does it??