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Meet the Truth-Challenged GOP Vice Presidential Candidate: Sure A. Pallin'

by Dave Lindorff
Thu, 09/04/2008
Politicians as a group have a propensity to embellish the truth—particularly when describing their opponents or themselves—and even to lie outright, but Palin does it so well, she’s like a George Bush with reading and pronunciation skills.

Now that we’ve had a chance to see Sarah Palin and to hear her speak—or at least read the big rolling white block letters on the teleprompter in front of her—we can see that she’s prone to telling whoppers.

Now we know politicians as a group have a propensity to embellish the truth—particularly when describing their opponents or themselves—and even to lie outright, but Palin does it so well, she’s like a George Bush with reading and pronunciation skills.

In her acceptance speech last night, Palin told a whole string of lies. My favorite was talking about little Trig, her latest offspring, who was born with Down syndrome. Looking right out into the camera, she told the parents of America with special needs children that if she and John McCain win in November, “You’ll have an advocate in Washington.”

Hard to square that with the truth, though, which is that as governor, Palin as proposed a reduction in funds for special needs grants to schools in both her budgets—this at a time that the state of Alaska has been benefiting from record oil tax revenues, which Palin is pushing to return to citizens as cash rebates.

Left unsaid by Palin was the fact that McCain himself, in Congress, has voted against funding for the Head Start program, an early childhood program particularly important to children of teen mothers, and that he has opposed bills to increase funding for special education. So in fact, parents of children with special needs like Trig not only won’t have an advocate in the vice president’s office; they won’t have an advocate in the White House either.

Palin has also tried to turn a family tragedy—her 17-year old daughter Bristol’s getting pregnant by a local self-described 18-year-old “redneck” athlete from the same high school—into a virtue by saying that she and her husband will be helping their daughter “keep the child” and raise it. To keep things cool in the eyes of god, she also announced that the two teen parents would be getting married. Both kids were prominently on display at the Republican National Convention during her speech.

What Palin didn’t tell convention-goers or the national viewing audience was that as governor she cut the funds for a program in the state to support single teen mothers and that as a PTA member, mayor and finally as governor of Alaska, she has opposed sex education in the schools—something that her daughter and future son-in-law clearly could have used. Less advantaged single mothers in Alaska and, should she be elected, in the rest of America, will not have a friend in Blair House. She also failed to mention that McCain has voted against funding of teen pregnancy prevention programs in Congress.

Palin continued, in her acceptance speech, to spout another lie which she had already been making in her first days on the stump since being picked by McCain as his choice for running mate: that she had said “No thank you” to the $439-million “Bridge to Nowhere” which, as perhaps the biggest single earmark in a year of record earmarks last year had become a national joke line. The truth: Palin backed that bridge, and was even ready to add state funding to get it built, until it became a national joke. Then she thought better, and killed the bridge, while still taking the money, which the state’s senior senator, Ted Stevens (now under indictment for taking bribes from contractors), had earmarked.

Palin went on to lie about her opponent, Barack Obama’s, tax plan, saying it would raise taxes on businesses and on all Americans. In fact, Obama’s plan calls for lowering the corporate profits tax, while increasing the tax on dividends and capital gains, both of which fall not on businesses but on investors, and for lowering taxes on most Americans, while raising them for people earning over $250,000.

John McCain likes to ride around in a bus he dubs the “Straight-Talk Express.”

Sarah Palin, in her debut on the national stage since being named as McCain’s Number Two, has lied enough times to deserve the sobriquet “Sure A. Pallin’.

Lindorff speakingAbout the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at

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This story was published on September 5, 2008.