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Special Needs

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What moved me above all else in Governor Palin's acceptance speech was her pledge to parents of special needs children: she will be their warrior in Washington. They can count on her, she says, to win for them the government support they require and deserve.

I'm an Obama supporter who agrees wholeheartedly with Sarah Palin that Washington should provide support for families with special needs kids.

What's notable is that previously the Alaskan governor had held -- as her party continues to hold -- precisely the opposite view. For special needs families, and for other families with a variety of needs, it's tough luck. Republican advice to them: cut back on your lavish lifestyle, get entrepreneurial, get night work, get a weekend job too.

What families should not do is whine to the government for handouts to help them handle their hardship.

Is it the government's fault that they didn't plan for a rainy day? Government can't be the people's nanny, they aver. Uncle Sam's your uncle, goes the right wing rant, not your sugar daddy.

Government programs that allot tax dollars to support those in need, Republicans assert, serve only to create costly, useless bureaucracies. Republicans denounce such programs as liberal scams designed to redistribute the people's hard-earned assets to the unwashed and undeserving. Indeed, they promise to shut down such programs.

Unconditionally and on principle, Republicans like Sarah Palin have opposed such spending of taxpayer money.

Naturally, the governor's private life should be just that: private. Senator Obama properly marked it as off limits.

Regarding young Trig Palin, however, it is impossible not to admire the healing, affirmative model the Palins present as a family meeting a difficult challenge with courage and love.

But in her pledge to champion special-needs families in Washington, it becomes all too clear that Sarah Palin's principles extend only as far as her own skin. She opposes programs except those that serve her own interests.

On Obama's proposal for universal health care she heaps ridicule and scorn.

Why is public support okay for special-needs kids but not for children -- grownups too -- with health issues and no insurance?

What does this tweaking of principle tell us about Sarah Palin's character?

The problem for progressives is not that Republicans know how to win elections, but that Democrats know how to lose them.

Republicans are always on the offensive regarding character issues. Democrats may well lose this election if they don't seize the issue for themselves and hammer on it and hammer hard.

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