Friday, June 06, 2008

WSJ Opinion: Don Young Embodies What's Wrong With the GOP

By Pat Toomey (emphasis added):
Today, the Club for Growth Political Action Committee endorses Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell in his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Don Young in the state's August primary.

The reason for the endorsement is simple. Mr. Parnell is a solid conservative who led the fight for lower taxes and spending in the state legislature, and joined Gov. Sarah Palin in pushing for reform in the state. The man he is hoping to replace isn't economically conservative in the least. Mr. Young is actually a poster child for what has gone wrong with the Republican Party in Washington.

Over his 35 years in Congress, Mr. Young made himself into the most powerful Republican on the House Transportation Committee. But instead of using his power to steer Republicans down a principled, conservative track, he helped derail the GOP train in 2006.

Mr. Young spends taxpayer money so wastefully he could make a liberal Democrat blush. As chairman of the Transportation Committee (from 2001 to 2007), Mr. Young was directly responsible for one of the biggest boondoggles of the Republican majority – the 2005 highway bill. With a price tag of $296 billion, the highway bill contained a record 6,371 pork projects.

One of those projects was the $223 million Bridge to Nowhere, inserted by Mr. Young. The notorious bridge was meant to connect the city of Ketchikan, Alaska – population 8,000 – to an airport on Gravina Island – population 50. Instead, it came to symbolize Republican excess, and helped cost the GOP its majority.

But the bridge isn't Mr. Young's only earmark to draw negative attention. It seems the veteran lawmaker inserted a $10 million earmark into the 2006 transportation bill for a road project in Florida.

Of course, Florida is not exactly next door to Alaska, so more than a few people have wondered why Mr. Young pushed to fund the pork-barrel project. Among those inquiring into the matter is the Justice Department, which is looking at the fact that a Florida real estate developer, Daniel J. Aronoff, who stands to benefit from the federal earmark, has raised some $40,000 for Mr. Young's campaign coffers...


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