Opportunity Squandered:

Conservatives missed a wonderful opportunity last week when the Senate considered a proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) that would have blocked $452 million in funding for two bridges in Alaska. One of the bridges, Coburn noted in Senate debate, would have connected the town of Ketchikan to Gravina Island, populated by 50 people??¢â???¬ ¦quot;at a cost of $4,460,000 per person.

The amendment inspired cantankerous, big-spending, moderate Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens to make two dramatic trips to the Senate floor. The first time, he said: ??¢â???¬?????The amendment may pass, but if it does, I will be taken out of here on a stretcher.??¢â???¬  The second time, he said: ??¢â???¬?????I will put the Senate on notice??¢â???¬ ¦quot;and I don??¢â???¬â???¢t kid people??¢â???¬ ¦quot;if the Senate decides to discriminate against our state and take money only from our state, I will resign from this body.??¢â???¬  The Senate passed up the chance to bid him good-bye, voting 82-15 against Coburn??¢â???¬â???¢s amendment.