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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

McCain and Disability Policy

In recent posts I have referred to the blog Special Needs Truth 08. Although an obviously partisan site, the information and links provided are always interesting. I am in agreement with much of what I read at Special Needs Truth 08. The posts are direct and highlight the difference between what McCain says and what he actually does. Regardless of one's political viewpoint, I was stunned by the following post: McCain and Obama were invited to participate in a forum about disability in Athens, Ohio. Obama sent Kareem Dale, National Disability Vote Director to participate in the forum. Who did McCain send? No one, yes, you read that correctly, McCain sent no one! MCain did have Donna M. Jones, National Coordinator of the Americans with Disabilities for McCain Coalition, send an email. Special Needs Truth 08 quotes from Jones email:

"The McCain campaign does not have a vetted disability policy to release at this time. I also do not have any further information on when we might be releasing a platform discussing the senator's stance on issues that relate to people with disabilities. I understand that in this contentious political season, the needs of people with disabilities must be addressed as part of the policy conversation. It is my hope that we will be able to release a vetted policy from Senator McCain in the near future. That being said, I will not be able to send a surrogate to discuss a policy Senator McCain has not approved."

Even if I wanted to, I have no clue how to put a positive spin on the above statement. McCain has no vetted disability policy? This comes from the man whose running mate characterizes herself as an advocate for "special needs children"? How can one advocate for the needs of "special children" an disabled people in general if there is no disability policy? I did not need further reasons to know Obama is the clear choice for disabled voters. The total lack of a coherent disability policy only added to an already long list of reservations about McCain. But beyond my reservations I am increasingly convinced that there is a profound difference between what McCain says and reality. It is easy to say "I support special needs kids" or "Palin has a bond with special needs families". These are great sound bites but where is the substance and evidence these words will be turned into action? Now I know a plan for action does not exist. I did not state this, McCain's own people did! Gosh, don't you just love politics.

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