Did you notice that Sen. McCain referred to Gov. Palin having a special needs child and then started talking about autism? Trig Palin has Down Syndrome. I thought it might be a senior moment, like when Ronald Reagan would answer questions no one asked. But maybe not. Parents of children with autism are a much bigger voting bloc than parents of children with Down.
The Huffington Post has a good analysis here, with some background on the rise in autism and the burden on parents.
Then there was Sen. McCainâ€™s rather scary promise to go at the federal budget–
OK, what — what would I cut? I would have, first of all, across-the-board spending freeze, OK? Some people say that’s a hatchet. That’s a hatchet, and then I would get out a scalpel, OK?
I wouldnâ€™t go to a surgeon who operated like that. Consider that the government is complicated, and some programs take a lot of time, money and energy to start. For example, Dexter Manor elderly housing had a full time nurse in the 1960’s and the program was a success. Then it was cut. Never started again. The costs of medical care are dispersed, so no one knows how much could have been saved, or how many tenants kept out of Rhode Island Hospital ER.
Sen. McCain said this about his running mate.
She’ll be my partner. She understands reform. And, by the way, she also understands special-needs families. She understands that autism is on the rise, that we’ve got to find out what’s causing it, and we’ve got to reach out to these families, and help them, and give them the help they need as they raise these very special needs children.
She understands that better than almost any American that I know. I’m proud of her.
Sen. McCain seemed stumped for a moment when Sen. Obama answered–
And I think it’s very commendable the work she’s done on behalf of special needs. I agree with that, John.
I do want to just point out that autism, for example, or other special needs will require some additional funding, if we’re going to get serious in terms of research. That is something that every family that advocates on behalf of disabled children talk about.
And if we have an across-the-board spending freeze, we’re not going to be able to do it. That’s an example of, I think, the kind of use of the scalpel that we want to make sure that we’re funding some of those programs.
An antiabortion writer described Trig Palin as a civil rights leader. Thatâ€™s a lot to ask of a six month old baby. Itâ€™s actually a babyâ€™s job to be taken care of and a parentâ€™s job to lead. Putting a halo on the little guy dodges the question of who is responsible for his well-being, in his family and in his community.
The Palin family is fortunate enough to have wealth and political connections, but they will still need help from the state. The McCain/Palin ticket is saying they will slash programs, shrink government, cut taxes and provide generously for special-needs children. Weâ€™re coming off eight years of the promise of prosperity without sacrifice, and thereâ€™s going to be a lot less money for good as well as wasteful programs.
What will Trig Palin do when heâ€™s thirty, forty, fifty years old? When heâ€™s in his forties, his parents will be in their eighties. Will he have a good place to live, a job, competent professionals who look out for his interests? If so, it will be a collective effort, and that includes taxes. Thatâ€™s just how it is.