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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election Double Talk

As election day nears the Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin campaigns are in high gear. The rhetoric of the campaign has been building and has not yet reached its apex. In terms of disability related stories, exaggeration and falsehoods abound. If I had to pick a "winner" for misleading statements McCain and Palin are the clearly ahead of Obam/Biden. Two examples should suffice: 1. Special Needs Truth 08 pointed out an October 9 Sean Hannity interview with McCain and Palin. McCain said that many "special needs" families show up at campaign events and "Sarah Palin wants to take on that task of helping relieve the burden". Apparently in McCain's estimation Palin wants to discover the cause of autism and find a cure for it, a job she is "uniquely qualified to do". 2. According the at a town hall meeting in Milwaukee Palin boasted that she had increased funding for programs for children with disabilities in Alaska and would do the same nationally.

On example one: Palin's son Trig does not have autism. Trig has Down Syndrome. Palin is not the least bit qualified to find a cure for autism. McCain should know the difference between autism and Down Syndrome. McCain should also know that children with autism or Down Syndrome are not a "burden" on anyone. If McCain doubts this, he should listen to what Palin has to say about her son Trig.

On example two, Palin stated she will increase spending for special needs children. McCain has stated he will not increase spending programs. In fact he often states that he would "impose a spending freeze to stop the spending spree in Washington". This line garners applause but is at direct odds with what Palin has stated.

While I do not like McCain and Palin, I will admit that within a very narrow range Palin states many good things about "children with Special needs". The Palin interviews I have seen are either conducted by media cronies such Sean Hannity who asks powder puff questions or pointed interviews in which Palin refuses to state anything beyond memorized talking points. The result is I have no clue as to whether she has the inclination or power to become an advocate for children with special needs. This is particularly confusing to me in part because Palin generates such a strong response--people seem to either love or hate her. No such reaction is evident in the disability community. Savvy disability commentators are critical of Palin because of her far right-wing positions and distrust of Republican policies. Yet, like other disabled people, I hope she does indeed become an advocate for not just special needs children but the adults they become.


Terri said...

I agree, I do hope that one day she will become a strong advocate for people with disabilities. I am not sure she is there now--I really don't see how she could be, she just hasn't had time. It bothers me that many folks seem to believe that disability advocacy skills and beliefs get handed to you in the delivery room with your baby. It takes time.

She is not uniquely qualified, yet. But I do hope she will get there.

william Peace said...

I am not sure sure Palin will ever become an advocate for disability rights. The rhetoric coming out to the McCain campaign is shocking to me. Palin is front and center and calling Obama a terrorist. This caters to racist ideology and You Tube videos of Palin supporters are scary. The fact Pailin has spearheaded the worst of this Republican rhetoric makes me shudder and doubt she will ever question much less change accepted conservative positions on disability.

Mark Miller said...

I don't believe anything she says. The gap between her words and her record are enormous. The McCain-Palin ticket would be disastrous to families dealing with disabilities. See why at

william Peace said...

Mark, I don't disagree with you on what a McCain/Palin victory would mean in terms of disability rights. Your blog is a great resource and I encourage all those interested to read it. My point was that Palin says the right thing in a narrow range but know actions and words do not always go together.