This President visited the bridge because he was trying to make a point, partially to the voters but mostly to the Republican leadership. The Trent Spence Bridge rises above the Ohio River and spans John Boehner’s home state of Ohio and Mitch McConnel’s home state of Kentucky. Obama was trying to tell these Republicans that he could go over their heads and directly to their constituents at any time and through the power of the Presidential “Bully Pulpit” he can make their lives very difficult.
What Obama doesn’t understand is that he has used the “Bully Pulpit” so many times that, just like the Trent Spence Bridge, it is functionally obsolete. In the two states, his trip was seen as just another staged re-election event and a bit of a parody of itself.
The 50-year-old, 830-foot bridge is well past its prime and Obama supposedly used it as a way to showcase why Congress should back his “tax and spend” $450 billion dollar job plan which includes infrastructure spending.
But here is the part of the visit that really gives it the “Obama touch.” According to the Cincinnati Enquirer this bridge might not get any of the money from the infrastructure plan even in the unlikely event that the bill gets passed. But that may be a good thing because a project to modernize this bridge would not be shovel ready, even by the President’s standards.
The bill itself contains no mention of the Brent Spence bridge, or any other specific projects. Even if the bill is passed, it’s not clear funding included in the bill for stimulus or the creation of a national infrastructure bank would ever reach the bridge.
That’s because if the point of the jobs bill is to create jobs now, then the Brent Spence Bridge may make a nice backdrop for a speech, but it’s not the best example of a shovel-ready project.
According to highway officials in Ohio and Kentucky, the bridge is still in the preliminary engineering and environmental clearance phase. In a best case scenario, the earliest that workers would be hired would be in 2013, but more likely 2015.
This trip is just another Barack Obama political stunt. It’s what he has been doing non-stop since he became a candidate for the office he now holds.
If he was truly serious about creating jobs, he would be in Washington right now, rolling up his sleeves and sitting down with Congressional leaders. But that is not what this president does, he is the pitchman, he does not know how to be a leader or an executive, he only knows how to campaign. That is why he took a photo-op today, near a bridge that probably won’t get any money until at least 2015–a bridge trip to nowhere.
If he was trying to impress GOP leaders, he didn’t. If he was trying to impress voters, he didn’t. Perhaps the only person he impressed was DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Keep in mind though, impressing her is no big accomplishment, the DNC chair has proven many times over that she will buy any piece of political guano the President tosses her way.
Hopefully by the time this bridge is ready to begin its rehabilitation in 2015, the Republican jobs bill would be entering its third year. You know that bill, its the one where we create jobs by voting Barack Obama out of his.