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Archive for February, 2009

Friday Line: Ten Republicans to Watch

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 27, 2009

Party leaders and 2012 contenders will help give voice to the GOP as it looks to define itself. From left, Louisiana Go. Bobby Jindal, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Party leaders and 2012 contenders will help give voice to the GOP as it looks to define itself. From left, Louisiana Go. Bobby Jindal, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. 

The Fix:’s Politics Blog

By Chris Cillizza | February 27, 2009; 7:15 AM ET 

The Fix is still getting acquainted with our new arrival — Charlie Cillizza! — but we couldn’t let a Friday pass without giving our readers a new Line.

Given the focus on the Conservative Political Action Committee gathering this weekend — rightly interpreted as the first major event of the 2012 GOP nomination fight — we thought now would be the right time to revisit our list of the 10 Republicans to watch as the party seeks to redefine itself in the wake of the disastrous elections of 2006 and 2008.

This should not be taken purely as a handicapping of the 2012 field since some of the people on the list aren’t even politicians. Rather, it’s an attempt to rank the major voices in the GOP in terms of their ability to influence the direction of the party over the next two to four years.

The number one ranking is for the person with the most power over that direction. Agree or disagree? The comments section awaits.

10. Rush Limbaugh: The conservative talk radio host has seen his profile descend a bit from the heights of last month when he was in a daily back and forth with the Obama administration. But, that doesn’t mean Limbaugh is any less influential. Notice in all of the stories about Bobby Jindal’s Republican response on Tuesday night, Limbaugh is quoted speaking out in favor of the Louisiana governor. People within the party — at the professional and grassroots level — listen to and care about what Limbaugh thinks about any given issue or event. That’s why he stays on the Line this month. (Previous ranking: 8 )

9. Newt Gingrich: The former Speaker of the House remains one of the people Republicans fear/admire most. Why? Because, regardless of what you think of Gingrich, it’s hard to deny that he is a voice of innovation and ideas within the political realm. It’s not clear what Gingrich wants for his political future although sharp observers we talk to believe that the Georgia Republican knows he can’t run for president in 2012 but wants to be influential in the debate leading up to that election. It’s hard to imagine he won’t be. (Previous ranking: N/A)

8. Eric Cantor: The Virginia Republican proved during the stimulus debate that he was ready to fulfill the potential that many party strategists have long believed he possesses. While Cantor (and his office) were slightly unsteady, his strong defense of conservative principles and likable demeanor distinguished him in the debate. President Obama also did Cantor a favor earlier this week after the Fiscal Responsibility Summit — insisting from the podium that he would find a way to work with the House Minority Whip sometime soon. (Previous ranking: 9)

7. Bobby Jindal: Was Jindal’s response to the Obama congressional address earlier this week a stem winder of the sort that will catapult him into a mega-star in the national political firmament a la Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention? Definitely not. Was it an unmitigated disaster that either badly diminishes or disqualifies him in 2012? Definitely not. (Can you remember one minority party response to a State of the Union? Neither can we.) To our mind, Jindal’s biggest problem isn’t that he sounds like Kenneth from “30 Rock” but that if he runs for reelection as governor of Louisiana in 2011 (as he has pledged to do), he will struggle to lavish the kind of attention on Iowa and New Hampshire that voters in those states have come to expect and covet. (Previous ranking: 4)

6. Tim Pawlenty: T-Paw is the tortoise of the 2012 race — carefully picking his spots to speak out on the national stage, always wary of overexposure or a misstep. There are strengths and weaknesses to that strategy. On the positive side, Pawlenty avoids looking desperate or craven with three years before the election, and he has some time outside of the national spotlight to hone his message. On the negative, he seems resistant to putting together the sort of political structure — advisers who have been through this process before, a political action committee that allows him to donate to would-be supporters in places like Iowa and New Hampshire — that other candidates (Romney, Palin) are already building. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Mark Sanford: Of all the Republicans looking seriously at 2012, Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, is the one who has leaned the furthest forward. He has been everywhere of late — op-ed pages, television, state party gatherings — as a strident voice in opposition to the economic stimulus bill. Having watched Sanford all the way back to his years in Congress in the late 1990s, we can testify that while he can come across slightly didactic when discussing issues, he is also a VERY gifted communicator on television. His advisers know that fact very well so expect to see him on the national Sunday shows frequently in the coming months. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Haley Barbour: The Mississippi governor is staying under the radar at the moment but, privately, he is working any number of angles to ensure the party heads in his preferred direction. One example: he was one of handful of governors (and the only one NOT considering a run for president in 2012) to sign a letter urging Republican members of Congress to vote against the economic stimulus plan pushed by President Obama. (Previous ranking: 2)

3. Michael Steele: Steele’s victory in the Republican National Committee Chairman’s race last month ensured a top five ranking for the Maryland GOPer. While Steele has a tendency to choose hot rhetoric (his pledge to “knock over” those in his way) over a cohesive vision for the party, he is still one of Republicans’ most effective — and active — communicators on television.

2. Mitt Romney: Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has the highest work rate of any modern politician we have observed closely. During his run for president last year, Romney’s schedule would often be packed with six events a day, a stunning level of activity. He’s keeping up that breakneck pace so far in 2009 — using his Free and Strong America PAC to seed donations to up and coming politicians while penning editorials and providing counsel to congressional Republicans on economic issues. Another major advantage for Romney: much — though not all — of his political team has stayed in touch and intact , meaning that if and when he flicks the switch they will be ready to go from, well, day one. (Previous ranking: 3)

1. Sarah Palin: Even in absence, the governor of Alaska is big news. Her absence from the National Governors Association meeting and CPAC over the last week created quite a stir. Why isn’t she coming? Should she be? To our mind, Palin is doing the exact right thing. She doesn’t need any more publicity for a while. The best thing she can do is spend most of her time in Alaska — governing well there while also working to broaden her knowledge on national and international issues. The conservative base of the party isn’t going to forget her. (Previous ranking: 1)

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Bearing Up

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 22, 2009

Published: January 5, 2008
Juneau, Alaska

ABOUT the closest most Americans will ever get to a polar bear are those cute, cuddly animated images that smiled at us while dancing around, pitching soft drinks on TV and movie screens this holiday season.

This is unfortunate, because polar bears are magnificent animals, not cartoon characters. They are worthy of our utmost efforts to protect them and their Arctic habitat. But adding polar bears to the nation’s list of endangered species, as some are now proposing, should not be part of those efforts.

To help ensure that polar bears are around for centuries to come, Alaska (about a fifth of the world’s 25,000 polar bears roam in and around the state) has conducted research and worked closely with the federal government to protect them. We have a ban on most hunting — only Alaska Native subsistence families can hunt polar bears — and measures to protect denning areas and prevent harassment of the bears. We are also participating in international efforts aimed at preserving polar bear populations worldwide.

This month, the secretary of the interior is expected to rule on whether polar bears should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. I strongly believe that adding them to the list is the wrong move at this time. My decision is based on a comprehensive review by state wildlife officials of scientific information from a broad range of climate, ice and polar bear experts.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, has argued that global warming and the reduction of polar ice severely threatens the bears’ habitat and their existence. In fact, there is insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future — the trigger for protection under the Endangered Species Act. And there is no evidence that polar bears are being mismanaged through existing international agreements and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The state takes very seriously its job of protecting polar bears and their habitat and is well aware of the problems caused by climate change. But we know our efforts will take more than protecting what we have — we must also learn what we don’t know. That’s why state biologists are studying the health of polar bear populations and their habitat.

As a result of these efforts, polar bears are more numerous now than they were 40 years ago. The polar bear population in the southern Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s North Slope has been relatively stable for 20 years, according to a federal analysis.

We’re not against protecting plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act. Alaska has supported listings of other species, like the Aleutian Canada goose. The law worked as it should — under its protection the population of the geese rebounded so much that they were taken off the list of endangered and threatened species in 2001.

Listing the goose — then taking it off — was based on science. The possible listing of a healthy species like the polar bear would be based on uncertain modeling of possible effects. This is simply not justified.

What is justified is worldwide concern over the proven effects of climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned for the polar bear to be protected, wants the listing to force the government to either stop or severely limit any public or private action that produces, or even allows, the production of greenhouse gases. But the Endangered Species Act is not the correct tool to address climate change — the act itself actually prohibits any consideration of broader issues.

Such limits should be adopted through an open process in which environmental issues are weighed against economic and social needs, and where scientists debate and present information that policy makers need to make the best decisions.

Americans should become involved in the issue of climate change by offering suggestions for constructive action to their state governments. But listing the polar bear as threatened is the wrong way to get to the right answer.

Sarah Palin, a Republican, is the governor of Alaska.

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Posted in Alaskan Wildlife, Governor Sarah Palin, Media, Uncategorized, Wildlife | 1 Comment »

Sarah Palin Encourages Special Needs Families

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 22, 2009

Christian Examiner
Palin encourages special needs families
by Elizabeth Wood

December 12, 2008
WASHINGTON — One of the most valuable aspects of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s vice presidential candidacy was her focusing national attention on the strengths and value of special needs children, says a pro-life leader and mother of a special needs child.

“Her child, my child and every special needs child are not to be pitied,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, in a written statement. “What a salve to the soul that Palin understands and articulates this. It brings so many special people and their families out of the shadows and into the limelight. They have so much to be proud of, and she helps them recognize that.”

Palin’s fifth child, Trig, entered the world in April prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. Advocacy organizations, along with parents of special needs children, agree that Palin helped raise awareness and appreciation for children diagnosed with special needs.

What effect Trig Palin’s national profile — and his family’s loving care for him — will have on the abortion rate for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome remains to be seen. An estimated 90 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, as are a similar percentage of babies diagnosed with spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism, Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., has said.

While Palin was in the midst of campaigning this fall, Brownback and his allies were seeking passage of a bill to address the alarming abortion rate for special needs children. In late September, Congress approved Brownback’s legislation to require doctors to provide accurate information and data on support services for parents whose unborn children are diagnosed with special needs. President Bush signed the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act into law Oct. 8.

David Prentice, senior fellow of life sciences at the Family Research Council, said he hopes to see both Palin’s national example and the Brownback legislation help reduce abortion rates and change attitudes toward those with disabilities.

“Even if all this did was save one life, it would be well worth it,” Prentice said.

Dannenfelser believes it is too early to tell whether or not the Palin and Brownback factors will help reduce abortion rates. She said she hopes mothers will rise above the challenge when they have resources and support.

There is no question Sarah and Trig Palin gave a boost to families with special needs children. Parents of children with Down syndrome and other conditions said Trig’s entry onto the national scene made them feel as if their voice had been heard for the first time.

“I was so happy when I heard about Sarah Palin,” said Kadi Coe, a Michigan mother of a child with Down syndrome. “When she was announced as [Sen. John McCain’s] running mate, I was so excited she would raise awareness about Down syndrome. I thought to myself, ‘Hey, if she can do it, so can I.'”

Robin Steele, adoption awareness program coordinator for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, sensed an atmosphere of excitement in the Down syndrome community when Palin gave birth to Trig, months before Palin was put on the Republican ticket. She said awareness of the scenario was publicized to the whole community.

Since giving birth to Trig, Palin has said she views children with special needs as a “joyful challenge” and “priority,” rather than a burden. In a letter addressed to family and friends after Trig’s birth, Palin referred to her son as an “absolutely perfect” baby.

Since Steele began working for the association 27 years ago, she has seen an increase in interest among families to adopt Down syndrome babies. She desires to see more.

“The first year I started my job, I got three calls [from families interested in adoption],” Steele said. “Now, we get three to five a week. I am very hopeful the number of adoptions will increase.”

Andrea Roberts also has a passion for helping parents adopt children with Down syndrome. She founded Reece’s Rainbow, an international adoption ministry for children with Down syndrome. It helped facilitate 120 international adoptions for families in the last two years.

The ministry is a volunteered-based organization that serves as a “vehicle” for people to make donations to families toward the adoption process, Roberts told BP.

“We saw a need to raise awareness overseas,” said Roberts, who lives in Maryland. “To see the way those children are lined up in cribs, American families just can’t relate. The problem is never ending…. Every child that we see has a voice now through Reece’s Rainbow and has a chance.”

The Christmas Tree Angel Project, which is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, lasts until Dec. 31. People have a chance to go to the organization’s website and sponsor a child.

“Every penny goes to save a child’s life,” Roberts said. “This is a way to really make a difference.”

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Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 9, 2009



November 8, 2008 —
Sarah Palin may be back in ice cold Alaska, but new polling data shows she’s red hot in the hearts of Republicans, as more than two-thirds want her to be the presidential nominee in 2012.

After getting the polling boost, Palin showed her pit-bull side yesterday by blasting her detractors as “cowards” and “jerks” who spread lies behind her back.

Palin’s angry words came in response to anonymous GOP insiders who claimed she’s blundering numbskull, unaware that Africa was a continent and ignorant of the countries that signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“I consider it cowardly” that they stayed anonymous, she said.

“If there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA, and about the continent vs. the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context,” she said.

“That’s cruel, It’s mean-spirited. It’s immature. It’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away with it, taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.”

She also slammed critics who ripped her allegedly diva-like behavior, including amassing a $150,000 wardrobe during the campaign with party money.

“I never asked for anything more than a Diet Dr. Pepper once in a while,” she said, returning to the Alaska Governor’s Office.

“Those are the RNC’s clothes. They’re not my clothes. I never forced anybody to buy anything.”

But the insults have apparently done little to harm her image with the party faithful.

A new Rasmussen Reports poll said 64 percent of GOP voters would support a White House run for Palin in 2012. Sixty-nine percent believe she helped the 2008 GOP White House ticket as John McCain’s running mate.

Only 20 percent said she hurt the ticket. Meanwhile, 71 percent said McCain made the right choice by choosing the 44-year-old governor as his running mate.

Palin obliterates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in a hypothetical 2012 matchup.

Moreover, 91 percent of Republicans have a positive view of Alaska’s governor. And 65 percent said they intensely like her.

While firing up the GOP base, she turned off other voters who believed she lacked experience to serve in the White House. For example, 57 percent of independents and 81 percent of Democrats had an unfavorable view of her.

“While Palin’s high favorables suggest she had a bright political future in the Republican Party,” pollster Scott Rasmussen said, “it is important to note that favorites four years out from a presidential election quite often do not get the nomination.”

Campaign insiders told The Post that some of the top decision makers around McCain – including those who recommended Palin for the ticket – are now trying to salvage their own reputations by scapegoating her for the defeat.

“There’s an element of ‘CYA’ – cover your ass – going on here,” said one source.

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Poll: 55% of Republicans think GOP should be more like Palin

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 9, 2009

6a010535e0eff3970c010536969d34970c-320wiHOT AIR.
posted at 6:40 pm on January 30, 2009 by Allahpundit

Versus just 24 percent who think it should be more like McCain. On whether the party has been too moderate or too conservative, it’s 43/17. No surprise there, but maybe one here:
Unaffiliated voters are much more closely divided. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say the party has been too conservative over the past eight years, while 34% think it’s been too moderate. For 14%, the party’s been about right, and 13% are undecided.
Regarding the future of the party, 46% of unaffiliated voters say follow Sarah Palin, while 26% like McCain…
For McCain, unaffiliateds break 10% Very Favorable and eight percent (8%) Very Unfavorable. But 35% of unaffiliated voters have a Very Favorable opinion of Palin, compared to 15% who have a Very Unfavorable view.
Conservatives might be overrepresented among unaffiliated/independents at the moment due to disaffection with Bush having driven them out of the tent. That would explain why Palin’s “very favorable” rating is so much higher than Maverick’s among a group normally thought of as centrist, which splits narrowly on whether the GOP’s been too conservative or too moderate. I figure nearly everyone who answered yes to the latter also gave Sarahcuda sky-high approval. Like, for example, the Nuge! Exit question one: Can we infer from this data that 55 percent of Republicans also think the GOP should be more like Huckabee? Exit question two: Time for a Democratic rethink on that Limbaugh strategy?

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Palin’s Speech on Children with Special Needs (Pittsburgh)

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 9, 2009

October 24, 2008
Palin’s Speech on Children with Special Needs
By Sarah Palin

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Thank you all very much. I appreciate the hospitality of the people of Pittsburgh, and I’m grateful to all the groups who have joined us here today. The Woodlands Foundation, the Down Syndrome Center at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Autism-link, the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh: Thank you for coming today. And, above all, thank you for the great work you do for the light and love you bring into so many lives.

John McCain and I have talked about the missions he’d like me to focus on should I become vice president, and our nation’s energy independence and government reform are among them. But there is another mission that’s especially close to my heart, and that is to help families of children with special needs. And today, we’ll talk about three policy proposals that are going to help us fulfill our country’s commitment to these children: more choices for parents, fully funding IDEA, and efforts to reform and refocus.

Too often, even in our own day, children with special needs have been set apart and excluded. Too often, state and federal laws add to their challenges, instead of removing barriers and opening new paths of opportunity. Too often, they are made to feel that there is no place for them in the life of our country, that they don’t count or have nothing to contribute. This attitude is a grave disservice to these beautiful children, to their families, and to our country — and I will work to change it.

One of the most wonderful experiences in this campaign has been to see all the families of children with special needs who come out to rallies and events just like this. We have a bond there. We know that children with special needs inspire a special love. You bring your sons and daughters with you, because you are proud of them, as I am of my son.

My little fella sleeps during most of these rallies, even when they get pretty rowdy. He would be amazed to know how many folks come out to see him instead of me.

When I learned that Trig would have special needs, honestly, I had to prepare my heart. At first I was scared, and Todd and I had to ask for strength and understanding. I did a lot of praying for that understanding, and strength, and to see purpose.

And what’s been confirmed in me is every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. You know that there are the world’s standards of perfection, and then there are God’s, and these are the final measure. Every child is beautiful before God, and dear to Him for their own sake. And the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable.

As for our baby boy, Trig, for Todd and me he is only more precious because he is vulnerable. In some ways, I think we stand to learn more from him than he does from us. When we hold Trig and care for him, we don’t feel scared anymore. We feel blessed.

Of course, many other families are much further along a similar path — including my best friend who happens to be my sister, Heather, and her 13-year old son Karcher, who has autism. Heather and I have worked on this for over a decade. Heather is an advocate for children with autism in Alaska. And as governor, I’ve succeeded in securing additional funding and assistance for students with special needs. By 2011, I will have tripled the funding available to these students.

Heather and I have been blessed with a large, strong family network. Our family helps make sure that Trig and Karcher have what they need. But not everyone is lucky enough to have that strong network of support. And the experiences of those millions of Americans point the way to better policy in the care of children with special needs.

One of the most common experiences is the struggle of parents to find the best and earliest care for their children. The law requires our public schools to serve children with special needs, but often the results fall far short of the service they need. Even worse, parents are left with no other options, except for the few families that can afford private instruction or therapy.

Many of you parents here have been through the drill: You sit down with teachers and counselors to work out the IEP — an individual education plan for your child. The school may be trying its best, but they’re overstretched. They may keep telling you that your child is “progressing well,” and no extra services are required. They keep telling you that — but you know better.

You know that your children are not getting all of the help they need, at a time when they need it most. The parents of children with special needs ask themselves every day if they are doing enough, if they are doing right by their sons and daughters. And when our public school system fails to render help and equal opportunity — and even prevents parents from seeking it elsewhere that is unacceptable.

In a McCain-Palin administration, we will put the educational choices for special needs children in the right hands their parents’. Under reforms that I will lead as vice president, the parents and caretakers of children with physical or mental disabilities will be able to send that boy or girl to the school of their choice — public or private.

Under our reforms, federal funding for every special needs child will follow that child. Some states have begun to apply this principle already, as in Florida’s McKay Scholarship program. That program allows for choices and a quality of education that should be available to parents in every state, for every child with special needs. This process should be uncomplicated, quick, and effective — because early education can make all the difference. No barriers of bureaucracy should stand in the way of serving children with special needs.

That’s why John and I will direct the Department of Education to clarify the statute administratively. We’ll make explicit that when state funds are portable, federal funds are fully portable. We’re going to make sure parents have choices and children receive the education they deserve.

Even the best public school teacher or administrator cannot rightfully take the place of a parent in making these choices. The schools feel responsible for the education of many children, but a parent alone is responsible for the life of each child. And in the case of parents of children with disabilities, there are enough challenges as it is, and our children will face more than enough closed doors along the way. When our sons and daughters need better education, more specialized training, and more individual attention, the doors of opportunity should be open.

Like John McCain, I am a believer in providing more school choice for families. The responsibility for the welfare of children rests ultimately with mothers and fathers, and the power to choose should be theirs as well. But this larger debate of public policy should not be permitted to hinder the progress of special-needs students. Where their lives, futures, and happiness are at stake, we should have no agenda except to ease the path they are on. And the best way to do that is to give their parents options.

In a McCain-Palin administration, we will also fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. To his great credit, it was President Gerald Ford who signed the legislation that became the IDEA — establishing new standards of respect and inclusion for young Americans with disabilities. From that day to this, however, the federal government’s obligations under the IDEA have not been adequately met. And portions of IDEA funding have actually decreased since 2005.

This is a matter of how we prioritize the money that we spend. We’ve got a three trillion dollar budget, and Congress spends some 18 billion dollars a year on earmarks for political pet projects. That’s more than the shortfall to fully fund the IDEA. And where does a lot of that earmark money end up? It goes to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good — things like fruit fly research in Paris, France, or a public policy center named for the guy who got the earmark. In our administration, we’re going to reform and refocus. We’re going to get our federal priorities straight, and fulfill our country’s commitment to give every child opportunity and hope in life.

For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference. That’s why we’re going to strengthen NIH. We’re going to work on long-term cures, and in the short-term, we’re going to work on giving these families better information.

Once a condition is known, parents need the best and latest information on what to expect and how to respond. This service is also provided for under the IDEA. And we will make sure that every family has a place to go for support and medical guidance. The existing programs and community centers focus on school-age children — overlooking the need for assistance before school-age.

But it would make a lot more sense for these centers to focus as well on infants and toddlers. This is not only a critical stage for diagnosis; it can also be a crucial time to prepare the family for all that may lie ahead. Families need to know what treatments are most effective, and where they are available, what costs they will face, and where aid can be found, and where they can turn for the advice and support of others in their situation. As Todd and I and Heather know, there’s no substitute for the friendship of those who have been where we are now.

The IDEA is also intended to serve teens and young adults with special needs. And here, too, there is an opportunity to reform and extend the reach of federal support under the IDEA. By modernizing a current law, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, we can better serve students with disabilities in our high schools and community colleges. This will require reform by the states as well. Just as the federal government expects proven results in the progress of other students, we must require results as well in the achievements of students with disabilities. And the result we will expect is simple: that every special-needs student be given a chance to learn the skills to work, and enjoy the freedom to live independently if that is their choice.

As families across America know, the care of special-needs children requires long-term planning, and especially financial planning. A common practice among these families is to establish financial trusts. These are known as special needs trusts, covering years of medical and other costs, and for parents they bring invaluable comfort.

Understandably, then, many families with special-needs children or dependent adults are concerned that our opponent in this election plans to raise taxes on precisely those kinds of financial arrangements. They fear that Senator Obama’s tax increase will have serious and harmful consequences — and they are right. The burden that his plan would impose upon these families is just one more example of how many plans can be disrupted, how many futures can be placed at risk, and how many people can suffer when the power to tax is misused.

Our opponent has an ideological commitment to higher taxes. And though he makes adjustments on his tax plan pronouncements seemingly by the day, his commitment to increase taxes remains the same. John McCain and I have just the opposite commitment. We intend to lower taxes, promote growth, and protect the earnings and savings of American families.

Not long ago, I spent some time at a place in Cleveland called the Michael T. George Center, a beautiful home for adults with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. I met Michael George, too, a boy of five with Down Syndrome. Michael is a healthy, sweet, joy-filled little man — and I saw in him all the things I wish for Trig in just a few years.

Michael’s parents, Tony and Kris George, are advocates for children with special needs in their community. They are thinking far ahead, in their own boy’s life and in the lives of others. They named the center after their son. It’s a public-private partnership. This welcoming place — and so many others like it — shows the good heart of America. They are places of hope. They are the works of people who believe that every life matters, everyone has something to contribute, and every child should have things to look forward to, and achievements to point to with pride and joy. As many of you know better than I, it can be a hard path, and yet all the more joyful and productive when the barriers are overcome.

John McCain and I have a vision in which every child is loved and cherished, and that is the spirit I want to bring to Washington. To the families and caregivers of special-needs children all across this country, I do have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, is the Republican vice presidential nominee.
Page Printed from: at February 08, 2009 – 11:11:34 AM PST

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Palin’s People Power

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 9, 2009

October 21, 2008
Palin’s People Power
By Ben Voth

One of the more awkward realities of this election is Governor Sarah Palin. Her selection as the Vice Presidential candidate for Senator John McCain’s bid to the White House has electrified America. By electrified, I mean it has torn the nation in half– those in euphoria over her populist appeal and those apoplectic about her alleged ignorance.

It is convenient to pretend that Palin’s rhetorical effects are easily divided as a partisan difference between Democrats and Republicans. The problem is not, however, so neat. Republican partisans have attacked and mocked Governor Palin in terms not unlike their Democratic counterparts. Kristol, Krauthammer, Parker, Powell and Noonan are but a few of the prominent Republican partisans taking shots at Governor Palin. Despite the broad agreement among the pundits– and perhaps because of it– Palin remains an intimidating political juggernaut.

Palin’s rallies continue to attract tens of thousands of people while Biden and Obama struggle to draw a thousand. Palin’s presence at the Vice Presidential debate garnered the largest viewing audience in history– more than 80 million people. The viewership surpassed all other audiences for the Presidential debates. When governor Palin appeared on Saturday Night Live this weekend– the ratings which had already been rising in response to parodies of her by Tina Fey– skyrocketed again to reach levels not seen in over a decade by the comedy TV show– 17 million viewers. In her appearance, viewers literally got to see her rock the house in the SNL studio. The audacity of her presence stood in stark contrast to Chevy Chase’s command a month ago for Tina Fey to ‘destroy this woman’ with her power of parody. Fey has dramatically promised to leave the planet if Palin succeeds.

Joining this Greek chorus, the pundits have spoken with bipartisan unity that Palin is not fit for high office. So what gives? It seems that no matter how many Katie Couric and Gwen Ifil questions she evades, the more endeared she is to the swarming public. Why does Palin’s rhetorical power continue to grow in the face of these establishment denouements?

The cruel reality for America’s epistemological establishment– composed of journalists, political leaders, political pundits, academics, and the entertainment industry– is that the average American is disgusted by what passes for acceptable among politicians. The demolition of Joe the plumber reminds the public of how they are not free to ask questions of politicians — even when directly solicited by Presidential candidates. The absurdity of the public relationship with its epistemological counterparts is so intense that the public resorts to a fantasy theme wherein a common individual overcomes the political establishment and despite having to carry out the mundane task of buying diapers at Walmart, is able to look Tina Fey in the eye and laugh. That heroic persona has a zeal conventional pundits are loath to consider in the character that has become Sarah Palin.

Political pundits, and certainly the Obama campaign, are beginning to awaken to the cruel misstep of belittling this woman and people like her bitterly clinging to guns, religion . . . and now plumbing. The foundations of this phenomenon are not new, and are discernible in political movements surrounding Ronald Reagan, Ross Perot, and George W. Bush. Bush’s character was impugned like many republicans as a dim bulb foisted on the establishment through his folksy appeal.

The public rightly suspects that to be “educated” in this country is becoming less about the central tasks of critical thinking and more about fluency in the insidious lingo of political correctness. A recent Pew research poll asking people to identify answers to three basic current event questions found that of the major news organizations that the test takers relied upon, Hannity and Colmes viewers did the best — far surpassing their counterparts at NPR and with CNN viewers finishing last. The results fly in the face of the avalanche of criticism falling upon supporters of Governor Palin. Conservatives, who like her, are stereotyped as dangerous Neanderthals on the verge of vigilanteeism. The results of the survey are roundly ignored by the pundits as ‘inconvenient truths.’

Partisans continue to decry, “Should we not desire educated intelligent leaders for governance?” There is no self reflection among these pundits as to what counts for ‘smarts.’ The public is mired in an education system more interested in promoting global warming consensus than reading mastery. And while ice packs and snowfalls increase in Alaska, the governor of the state is denounced as an idiot on climate change. The public knows that ‘smarts’ on these issues is little more than a demand to stop thinking critically about the political power associated with these conclusions.

The alleged ignorance of the American public — continually derided by pundits in every election cycle — has reached a fever pitch. The cliché has now been topped with the ultimate rhetorical cherry of American political life. Anyone who draws the wrong conclusion this fall is a racist. I remember advocating for African American gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell in the fall of 2006 and asking my friends in academia if their reluctance to support him was due to their personal issues with racism.

That joke did not go ever well because it touched on a nerve that the establishment well understands. Terms such as racism and sexism are exclusively reserved to the Democratic Party in scolding its opponents when substantive debate is failing. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are victims of sexism and racism. Sarah Palin is not. Ken Blackwell, Alan Keyes, Lynn Swann, Clarence Thomas and Michael Steele cannot be victims of racism– they are Republicans.

The establishment may be ‘misunderestimating’ public frustration with this long reliable rhetorical arrangement. It is a sad day for argumentation, debate and civic practice when such accusations substitute for good public discourse. It can hardly be a positive indication of a potential world judged on the content of character rather than the color of someone’s skin.

Pundits ought not wonder any longer why the public rallies to Palin and seems to refuse to answer the pollsters according to the socially provided script. The eerie accumulation of undecideds in the opinion polls is making for more than a scary Halloween in the Obama campaign. Undecideds now make up twice as large of a population as is usually expected two weeks prior to a Presidential election.

There is growing concern among the establishment that the effort to back the public into a rhetorical corner may be backfiring, but the campaign seems to have little choice but to press forward with the case for racism. Despite this rhetorical bullying, the public has shown for decades a persistent imagination for leadership that falls outside the beltway and closer to the experiences of the everyday American. Governor Sarah Palin continues to embody that frustrated public sensation. On this basis, the Pitbull in Lipstick may drag the stunned political corpus of the McCain campaign across the electoral finish line ahead of Obama and Biden.

Ben Voth is an associate professor of Communication and director of speech and debate programs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

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Palin’s former deputy mayor creates calendar of 2012 GOP ‘front runner’

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 9, 2009

Palin’s former deputy mayor creates calendar of 2012 GOP ‘front runner’
12/18/2008 @ 6:11 pm
Filed by Mike Sheehan

Calendars have long been popular gifts for the winter holidays, with swimsuit models, pop stars and cute animals as reliable subjects.

Now Republicans still abuzz over the November presidential election can look forward to a new favorite for 2009: Gov. Sarah Palin.

The erstwhile vice presidential nominee who ran with Sen. John McCain on the Republican ticket before eventually losing in a landslide to Barack Obama is featured in a calendar being promoted by Human Events. The conservative magazine’s Web site has sent around an email on behalf of one of its advertisers, Judy Patrick Photography.

Patrick was deputy mayor to Palin during the governor’s time running the small town of Wasilla, Alaska, just a few years before the nod from McCain made her a media sensation and a breath of fresh air to jaded conservatives across the country.

In the emailed version of the advertisement, Palin is descibed as a “front runner in [sic] the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination” who is “showing America that she is willing to reform her own party and politics as usual.”

The calendar features over fifty photos of Palin and her family, including many “never before seen” shots. The cover features a picture of Palin, a shotgun on her shoulder pointing down, placed on a backdrop of a large American flag.

Palin has made no secret of her love of hunting (warning, graphic photos), but gained notoriety among wildlife activists for her vigorous defense of a state program that allows hunters to shoot wolves from airplanes to “keep them in check.”

She also once competed in beauty pageants that included swimsuit competitions, but there’s no indication that the 2009 calendar will contain any cheeky shots of the 44-year-old governor.

The calendar–produced and printed in the US, according to the ad–is marked off 15 percent, in a likely push to get the merchandise out before the end of the year. No word on how much of a cut of the profits, if any, the governor will receive.

The ad for the Palin calendar can be seen at Patrick’s AtlasBooks site.

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Palin: PAC To Help Others, Not Boost Self

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 9, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:02 PM

By: Rick Pedraza Article Font Size

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says her new political action committee, SarahPAC, is not intended to enhance her profile as a major Republican player on the national stage or to signal that she is running for president in 2012, but rather so she can help raise money for other GOP candidates.

“No, not at all,” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News when asked about her presidential aspirations. “It’s helpful to have a PAC so that, when I’m invited to things, like to speak at the Lincoln Day dinner in Fairbanks — to have a PAC pay for that instead of have the state pay for that because that could be considered quasi-political.”

Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s running mate when he ran for president in November, models her PAC after HillPAC, the committee Hillary Clinton formed during her presidential run in 2008, as did President Barack Obama and other candidates from both parties.

“Other governors in the past, they all had a fund to be able to travel for things like” a trip to Washington, D.C., this weekend to attend a dinner with Obama, Palin told The Daily News.

“How often will I have an opportunity to have dinner with the president? I will take up that offer to do so, yeah,” Palin said. During her visit, she also will meet with Mitch McConnell and other senators and congressional lawmakers who are making decisions for Alaska in the stimulus package.

“Now we’ll have an available source of funds so that we’re not coming close to any ethical line to be crossed in terms of travel or participation in events that will help Alaska but could be seen perhaps as not worthy of state funding,” Palin said.

“Advocating tough, too, for an exemption that Alaska needs in terms of timelines for some of these shovel-ready projects,” Palin said. “Congress is saying the projects involved in the infrastructure aspect of the stimulus package have to be shovel-ready, have to get them out the door, whether it be 90 days or 120 days. Well, we’re Alaska, and we need an exemption so that we’re not left out in the cold in terms of some of the projects that will take a northern climate a longer period of time to make sure that we have our projects ready to go.”

Palin’s PAC is registered in Virginia and will support her “plans to build a better, stronger, and safer America in the 21st century,” according to the Web site (

“It is pretty common for PACs to be registered in states different” from politicians’ home states, an official with the organization told the Huffington Post, adding that its proximity to D.C. will allow the organization easier communication with various federal agencies.

However, concerns among some Alaskans that her focus might be elsewhere, including the presidential election of 2012, still exist.

“I’m sure legislators know that I’m the governor of Alaska, and this is first and foremost on my mind and my agenda,” Palin said. “Any travel or meeting or participation in anything that I will have to do with anything outside of Alaska will only be if it’s good for Alaska.”

Palin also told The Daily News she is unaware of any book deal, and laughed off reports it could be worth $11 million.

“I heard that! I can’t wait to see that! No, I haven’t seen that. If there were an opportunity in the future to, again, do something to promote Alaska, I will do it. But I will only do it if it’s in Alaska’s best interest and it doesn’t harm my family,” she said.

“I don’t have a publisher, but I will let you know if ever there is an offer,” Palin said. “But that $11 million figure that I read about is laughable. That’s out of anybody’s realm of possibility of consideration.”,%20Not%20Boost%20Self

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Palin gets as close to Washington insiders as Alaska is to, well, Russia

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 9, 2009

Monday, Feb 9, 2009
Posted on Sat, Jan. 31, 2009
Palin gets as close to Washington insiders as Alaska is to, well, Russia

McClatchy Newspapers
Mere months ago, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was introduced to the world as a hockey mom who hunts and fishes, remains grounded in small-town values, and is married to her blue-collar, snow-machine-loving high school sweetheart.
Saturday night, Palin was whisked into the governors-and-cabinet-members-only section of one of the nation’s capital’s most exclusive parties: the Alfalfa Club dinner. Wearing an elegant black satin evening gown and a matching wrap, hair loose to her shoulders, Palin was about as far away as anyone can get from field-dressing a moose, let alone Joe the Plumber.

Held in the heart of Washington, D.C., at the Capital Hilton, within sight of the White House, the Alfalfa Club dinner was “a coup” for Palin, said Letitia Baldrige, who served as the White House social secretary and chief of staff to Jacqueline Kennedy.

“It’s something that everybody who’s anybody in politics wants to be invited to,” Baldrige said.

If a roasting by the most powerful people in America is a sign you’ve made it, then Palin had clearly arrived. Or, at the very least, had been acknowledged as one of the most interesting women in American politics.

The outgoing president of the Alfalfa Club, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, teased Palin in a way allowable only for a fellow veteran of the vice presidential campaign trail.

“I was seriously being considered to be McCain’s pick for vice president,” said Lieberman, Al Gore’s 2000 running mate and a former Democrat who campaigned for Sen. John McCain this year.

“But then John called me,” Lieberman said. “As he always does, he got right to the point. He said, ‘Joe, I can’t do it. I need more than just a pretty face.’ “

“I was so close. As close as Alaska is to Russia. You could almost say that from my doorstep I could see the Vice President’s mansion,” he said.

The club’s roots are deep in Washington, although not very serious. And while it has a prestigious guest list these days, it was a drinking club first and foremost when it was founded in 1913, said Donald Ritchie, the associate historian of the U.S. Senate. That’s where Alfalfa comes from – the alfalfa plant “put down deep roots and could always get a drink,” Ritchie said. The plant would “persevere to get a drink, and so would they.”

In fact, Ritchie said, the Alfalfa Club appears to be modeled after another popular stag club of the era, Philadelphia’s Clover Club. The Alfalfa Club was so prestigious that in the 1920s and ’30s, Washington newspapers would print the names of the attendees, Ritchie said. Even though Washington is now something of a Tuesday-through-Thursday town for many elected officials, Ritchie said, the Alfalfa Club dinner remains an enduring tradition that few besides insiders are allowed to glimpse.

Because its founders were Southerners – and in 1913, Washington was a Southern town – they chose Gen. Robert E. Lee’s birthday for the day of their annual celebration. The annual dinner continues to be around Lee’s birthday, Jan. 19, although the club’s origins appear to have little other connection to the Civil War general.

The dinner’s guest list is the embodiment of the old question: If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone, who would be on your guest list? Did we mention that President Barack Obama was there, telling jokes?

“I know that many you are aware that this dinner began almost one hundred years ago as a way to celebrate the birthday of General Robert E. Lee,” Obama said. “If he were here with us tonight, the General would be 202 years old. And very confused.”

The governor’s office wouldn’t say who invited Palin to the Alfalfa dinner, but by tradition, each member is allowed two guests.

Her host could be any number of famous, powerful (or once-powerful) members, including Palin’s fellow Alaskan, former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, convicted last year on corruption charges in federal court. (Unlike Palin, Stevens entered through the metal detectors with the ordinary guests, such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.) Palin’s presidential running mate, Sen. John McCain, also is a member. So is the man whose job she wanted: Vice President Joe Lieberman.

Typically, the club’s members pick an honorary “president” each year – and do little else. The inductees – known as “sprouts” – are few each year. Many people wait a lifetime to be tapped for the club, and that was obvious Saturday night. Palin, although a grandmother herself, appeared to be one of the youngest guests, other than the 47-year-old president.

Another tradition? Although journalists are not allowed inside the dinner, details of the professionally written jokes generally leak out. That was the case again this year, but not to the extent it has been in previous years. Palin’s presence drew more cameras than usual, forcing reporters and photographers into a small, penned-off area as guests arrived.

According to accounts of the dinners of the past decade, the event retains the air of a 1950s fraternity banquet. In 2003, the Washington Post’s account of the evening reported that Stevens accepted the Alfalfans’ presidential nomination wearing a fur hat, sealskin vest, mukluk moccasin boots, and brandishing an oosik, which is a walrus penis bone. Stevens laid out his health-care platform, which according to the Post, was to find a cure for frostbite. “When it comes to frostbite,” said Stevens, then 79, “what you have to worry about is nose, toes and something that at my age may as well be froze.”

Former First Lady Barbara Bush had this comeback, according to the Post: “Ted, this is the third time you’ve brought one of those walrus things to this dinner. I hate to think what went on here before women were admitted.”

The Alfalfa Club did not allow women as members until 1993, but has made up for that oversight. Saturday night, dozens of powerful women streamed in, some members, some guests: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, on the arm of her husband, Alan Greenspan. And Palin.

The governor’s weekend itinerary wasn’t limited to the Alfalfa Club. It included a Friday night dinner at the home of Fred Malek, who headed up McCain’s finance committee. She also was scheduled to meet with her Alaska staff in Washington and attend a luncheon at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Palin’s limited travel outside of her home state – and the country – was the subject of much criticism when she was a vice presidential candidate. But now, it’s Alaskans who are a little testy about the governor’s absence, even as the state’s legislative session opens. Their suspicions that Palin has ambitions beyond Alaska were only confirmed this week, when the governor announced the formation of her own political action committee.

The committee, called SarahPAC, is not a 2012 presidential exploratory committee, spokeswoman Pam Pryor insisted last week. It’s a way for her to raise money for like-minded candidates as well as pay for travel connected to fundraising or her political activity unconnected to her official duties as the governor of Alaska.

Perhaps because of the scrutiny at home, Palin has kept a low profile on the trip to the nation’s capital. She turned down all requests for interviews, including the other invitations that indicate one’s arrival in Washington: an appearance on the Sunday morning talk shows.

She also didn’t attend any events that could be perceived as partisan, including the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee, also held over the weekend.

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