Commentary Magazine


Obama’s Got a Bridge to Sell You

I called President Obama’s speech last week among the most dishonest and dishonorable presidential speeches in generations. This week, it appears he’s eager to build on that reputation.

In a town hall event in Annandale, Obama evoked the August 2007 St. Anthony Falls bridge collapse as a justification for higher taxes. “Remember when that bridge in Minnesota collapsed with all those people on it?,” Obama asked. “And there was a big hue and cry, ‘How can this happen in America?’ Well, the National Society of Engineers — they looked around and they give us a D when it comes to infrastructure.” Obama added, “We cut transportation by another third and what’s going to happen to America? We’re just going to have potholes everywhere? We’re just gonna have bridges collapsing everywhere?”

But as both Ed Morrissey and CBS News point out, the bridge collapse in Minnesota, which killed 13 people, was found to have been caused primarily by a design flaw, not aging infrastructure. It had nothing to do with lack of maintenance. 

So the president is using a dishonest recounting of an event, in which more than a dozen people died, in order to support a bad policy. And one suspects that Obama is only warming up, that as we get nearer the election, the more this kind of dishonesty will occur. To see Obama employ these techniques underscores just how weak his case is and how cynical and (literally) unbelievable his claims have become. It isn’t quite what we were told to expect, is it?