Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin Speech Fails to Impress

Fact checking Gov. Palin's speech on special needs, Igor Valsy at the Wonk Room says, "Palin is a confident and compelling spokesperson for special needs children. But what the campaign gains in charisma, it loses in credibility." For example, she talked about "reprioritizing" spending in order to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) -- ignoring the fact (or not knowing) that achieving that goal by redistributing the budget would require a 6.4 percent cut in ALL OTHER DOMESTIC PROGRAMS. That means Pell grants, Section 8 housing, low-income energy assistance, WIC, clean energy research, and "dozens and dozens of other programs." Not to mention the fact that McCain has opposed funding IDEA numerous times.

How did the speech go over with people who know about disability firsthand? Becky Blitch, who I've quoted here before and who lives with spinal muscular atrophy type II, says she was infuriated by Gov. Palin's speech. "By going off on impassioned tangents about earmarks and Obama's tax plan, Gov. Palin gave the impression that this speech was merely cover for stump-speech attacks, belittling the importance of the topic at hand....It's worth noting that absolutely no new territory regarding disability policy was covered in this speech....Let's face it: John McCain and Sarah Palin are losing this election. The governor could have used this moment to 'pull a Bullworth' and make some bold statements about where this country really needs to go in terms of disability policy. She didn't. She stuck to a couple politically safe proposals, she attacked Barack Obama, and she got misty-eyed over the special-ness of special needs kids. That, my friends, is called pandering. Nothing new about it."

In a post titled "The Fantasy of Palin's Plan for Special Needs Children," blogger "Writes Like She Talks" says Palin "either has no idea what she is talking about or is purposely presenting false impressions about what the federal government currently does for special needs kids, who is responsible for taking care of special needs kids, and what impact she, as VP, could possibly have on any of that....Either way, or both ways, nothing that she suggests as a promise for what she would do or be able to accomplish as VP is, in reality, achievable."

Over at Daily Kos, "Critical Dune" writes: "As a special needs parent and advocate, it's killing me to hear this garbage because she is fooling some of the people some of the time with this pander." His post includes a good link to a Wall Street Journal summary of what a special needs trust is.
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