Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Will McCain Put His Money Where Palin's Mouth Is?


Gov. Palin has embellished her stump speech with a nice reference to the late Gov. Robert Casey (the pro-life Democratic governor of Pennsylvania), who, she says, "was asked once how society should treat the most vulnerable among us, such as children with special needs. He said it's simple. He said, you put them first in line."

That's a pretty good applause line. But what does she mean? And has she talked to her running mate about what it would take to "put them first in line"? In Friday night's debate, Sen. McCain proposed a spending freeze on every federal program except defense and veterans. The National Education Association quickly reacted by saying such a freeze "would create a No Child Left Behind funding gap of $15 billion and put a crunch on millions of special education students, low-income students, children living in poverty, and the hiring of future teachers."

So we know McCain's not going to put his money where her mouth is. But what about Gov. Casey, apparently Gov. Palin's new role model? He didn't just talk -- he backed up his words with government programs that helped people. As governor from 1987 to 1994, Casey created school-based child-care programs that provided full-day services and before- and after-school care programs for infants and preschoolers, including poor children. That meant that teen parents could stay in school and poor adults could work knowing their children were safe. He was a strong advocate for universal health care. He invested money in breast cancer awareness and screening and required HMOs to cover annual mammograms. Harvard University pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton called Casey's multidimensional health care programs for women and children "a model for the rest of the country."

As a footnote, Gov. Casey's son, Bob Casey, Jr., is now a senator representing Pennsylvania. And way back in March, he endorsed Sen. Obama for president.

So Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin, parents with children with special needs are STILL wondering: What will you DO to support families like ours? We can read Sen. Obama's plan for Americans with disabilities. When will you share YOUR plan to back up your words and promises?
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