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September 12, 2008

Snark attacks on Palin feed Palin-mania

Republicans have done a brilliant job of flipping the dynamics of this campaign. First, they took the Dems by surprise with their anointment of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate. Now they seize every opportunity, no matter how ridiculous, to swamp a news cycle with "defenses" of her against "sexist" attacks and false rumors, complete with a "Palin Truth Squad" led by another woman, former Mass. Gov. Jane Swift. Every time a false rumor goes viral on the web, it helps them, not Obama.

Hmm, kinda makes you wonder who is starting these rumors. now has a piece up on  "Sliming Palin" that corrects a number of the false accusations [please ignore typeface changes that follow - they seem stuck in the html]:

  • Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didn’t cut it at all. In fact, she increased funding and signed a bill that will triple per-pupil funding over three years for special needs students with high-cost requirements.
  • She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a "What if?" question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term. [NB - there may be more  to this; HT to Ann Bartow]
  • She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.

  • Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a "courtesy" when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state.

  • Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to "debate both sides" of the evolution question, but she also said creationism "doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."

Fact Check is essentially serving as an honest broker, correcting spin and filling in a gap that the MSM have not been able to fill. A friend who works there says that the web site has gotten 1.5 million hits so far this week, so hopefully it's working.

When you visit Fact Check, you'll discover that - surprise! - most of its posts refute misleading ads from the McCain-Palin campaign about Obama. But because Palin is the media obsession of the moment and because the Repubs have gotten off to a faster start with faux "correction" ads, the McCain campaign has had considerable success in its efforts to inscribe a script in which she is the victim of the lefty blogosphere or the liberal media - you pick. All of which serves the purpose of keeping their star in the spotlight.

Beware of viral e/mails that depict Palin as a cartoon monster, which she is not, rather than as a savvy right-wing politician, which she is. Don't leap with both feet onto every mistake she makes.  If someone had asked me yesterday what I thought of "the Bush doctrine," I wouldn't have known what it was either.  Hell, I didn't think that man had a doctrine.  And remember: people root for underdogs.

Meanwhile, here's an obscure-fact-of-the-week quiz: where is Joe Biden? 
Answer (according to the Times of London): American Legion Post 703 in Parma, Ohio.

Good luck, Joe! You're going to need it. 


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