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After the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapsed, leaving 13 people dead, much was said about our misplaced state and federal spending priorities. The mainstream media and the Democrats (which might seem like two separate entities, but are actually one and the same) mostly blamed Bush, citing the high cost of the Iraq war, or blamed poor Republican leadership in general, with statements like "Republicans are for less government, so of course infrastructure is going to deteriorate. Republicans favor tax cuts for the rich, so they don't care if your family members are killed by collapsing bridges as long as Halliburton stockholders can increase their bottom line". We will set aside for the moment that the Minneapolis bridge had been classified as 'structurally deficient' since 1991, or that there are many, many, many other bridges in the same deficient category all across the country, and have been for a long, long, long time. That stuff is politically inconvenient.
But you see, none of that matters now, because thar's a new sheriff in town. We elected new Democratic congressional leadership in 2006. They are LARGE AND IN CHARGE, and they had a spiffy new 100 day plan too (nearly the entire plan failed, but heck, at least they HAD one. That alone was a step forward, if only in a figurative sense). Anyway, now we have the good guys in government, the Democrats, and last week they passed the transportation bill, yippee, which........., CONTAINED 8 BILLION DOLLARS OF TOTAL EARMARKS, 2 BILLION DOLLARS OF NEW EARMARKS, AND ONLY 1 BILLION DOLLARS FOR BRIDGES. Read about it in this USA Today article. It's a pork-packed bill full of non-essential political pandering.
Now, I know it was a whole six weeks between the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the Senate passing that transportation bill, but I have to assume even politicians can't forget their promises THAT quickly.
It couldn't be that the Minneapolis bridge collapse was just used as political fodder for partisan purposes by politicians in order to garner votes and raise money, could it ? Naw, that can't be it. Politicians lie ? Especially Democrats ? Perish the thought. Let's call Moveon.org asap. Somehow, I bet Bush and those nasty neocons made them do it...Somehow.