He’s a rebel…by Jason Pye
Let’s say you are a candidate for President in 2008 and you’ve been criticized by a leading pro-growth organization. I would think that you’d attempt to make some in-roads with a very disenfranchised group of voters.
But not Mike Huckabee, who is looking to Congressman Don Young to rally support in Congress:
At a time when congressional support is hard to come by, including support for candidates like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, Huckabee is surely eager to count on any support he can get within the halls of Congress. Is Young’s support worth it?
While Young praised Huckabee as a “hell of a speaker” and one who could lead a “reawakening of the conservative values that make our country a land of opportunity,” the House’s resident Alaskan has had trouble keeping his own conservative credentials intact.
Young, known for his handiwork as the former House Transportation Committee chairman, tried to stick U.S. taxpayers with a bill of almost $500 million back in 2005 to fund bridge projects in Alaska.
The project, known as the “bridge to nowhere,” would have connected Ketchikan, a town of 8,000, to the airport at Gravina Island, which had a population of 50. The other project was to link Point MacKenzie, which at the time had a population just over 100, with Anchorage.
(The Ketchikan/Gravina Island route has ferry service and Alaskan officials announced two weeks ago that within two years ferry service between Point MacKenzie and Anchorage will begin.)
Conservatives in Congress removed the earmarks for these tax-wasting projects, but they weren’t the only pork projects Young tried to steer to his state.
Stephen Spruiell, writing for the National Review, pointed out that Young, with help from other Alaskans in Congress, has “steered” numerous special projects to the northernmost state, which include: “$1.8 million for berry research; $1.8 million for sea-otter recovery; $10 million for a psychiatric-treatment facility; $48 million in subsidies for the timber industry; and $500,000 to paint a giant salmon on an Alaska Airlines jetliner.”
Young does not try to hide his love for pork; in fact, he openly brags about directing millions of taxpayers’ dollars to his state. He is neither the poster boy for fiscal restraint nor conservatism, yet Huckabee doesn’t appear to be worried about his newly established link to one of Congress’ big spenders.