Aesthetics are important in politics. When you stop in to an elementary school classroom to speak about the importance of education, for example, you should leave the teleprompters at home. Otherwise it ends up looking like this:
Or when you're on the road trying to sell your latest stimulus to a skeptical nation, it helps to position yourself in front of old rusty infrastructure projects in desperate need of public money for repair. What's not a good idea, however, is to use a rusty old bridge to sell your stimulus package that still won't get fixed even if your plan is approved.
This is what I call an aesthetics FAIL:
The 48-year-old Brent Spence Bridge spanning the Ohio River near Cincinnati isn't much to look at. But for President Obama, it's become a rallying cry for his $477 billion jobs plan.
He referred to it in his Sept. 8 speech to Congress, saying "there's a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that's on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America." And on Thursday he plans to use Brent Spence as the backdrop for another pitch for his jobs bill, which includes $27 billion in "immediate" highway spending.
But while local officials are delighted with Obama's attention, Brent Spence might not be eligible for that jobs bill money.
And if that weren't embarrassing enough, it turns out that this particular bridge doesn't even need fixing:
Although some press accounts have described Brent Spence as "crumbling," and the White House says it's an example of "ur gently needed" repairs, the bridge isn't falling apart. In fact, it's designed to last for decades more.