Friday, March 20, 2009

Palin "Shocked"

Nearly everyone is familiar with this banter (video below) from the Thursday (3/19/09) episode of the Tonight Show:

MR. LENO: Now, are they going to put a basketball –- I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down.

MR. OBAMA: No, no. I have been practicing all –- (laughter.)

MR. LENO: Really? Really?

MR. OBAMA: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)

MR. LENO: No, that's very good. Yes. That's very good, Mr. President.

MR. OBAMA: It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something. (Laughter.)

MR. LENO: No, that's very good.

MR. OBAMA: No, listen, I'm making progress on the bowling, yes.

Reaction from some Repub heavyweights was swift. Republican Party chairman Rush Limbaugh, forgetting (we hope) his attack on Parkinson's victim Michael J Fox (video of Fox's response way below), criticized President Obama's decision to appear on Leno's show and argued

Now, the fact that he can make this joke about Special Olympics people, there's no question that's something very mean to say, and it's not the first time. He made a joke about Nancy Reagan and seances. I'm telling you, this man is angry and he has a chip on his shoulder, and his wife does, too. They are some angry people. They're really angry.

Sarah Palin, Republican vice-presidential nominee, one of the two leading candidates for her party's presidential nomination in 2012 and mother of a son afflicted with Down Syndrome, took the opportunity to comment

I was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics. This was a degrading remark about our world’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world....

These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will. By the way, these athletes can outperform many of us and we should be proud of them. I hope President Obama’s comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special needs community.

Oops! It seems that Governor Palin has decided to reject 31% of the stimulus money afforded the State of Alaska under terms of the jobs bill passed by Congress in February. The Anchorage Daily News reports today:

The biggest single chunk of money that Palin is turning down is about $170 million for education, including money that would go for programs to help economically disadvantaged and special needs students. Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau said she is "shocked and very disappointed" that Palin would reject the schools money. She said it could be used for job preservation, teacher training, and helping kids who need it.

Ms. Comeau need not be "shocked." Linking action to rhetoric has never been Governor Earmark's strong point. Still, one might hope that Sarah Palin would have some sense of integrity. Or not.

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