One of my favorite Ronald Reagan quotes comes from my favorite Reagan speech. It is in his famous "A Time for Choosing" address where we find this memorable line:
The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.
Like so many other things our 40th president said, that one has been proven to be correct on a daily basis since 1964.
And so, over the past several days, we find that liberals know much about Sarah Palin that isn't so. According to the Wall Street Journal's John Fund:
Democrats have airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau and Mrs. Palin's hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background. My sources report the first wave arrived in Anchorage less than 24 hours after John McCain selected her on August 29.
Either the information which this crack commando unit has sent back to DNC headquarters, the Obama-Biden campaign and Daily Kos is disingenuous, or in their haste to dig up dirt on Gov. Palin, they have failed to properly vet their sources. In the interest of fairness, I'll grant them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they interviewed mostly Palin's political enemies, all of whom have axes to grind.
Where to begin? It's always best to start with the truth, and that can be found at Charles Martin's Explorations blog. Thanks to Martin's due diligence, his site has become a clearinghouse for vetting Palin rumors and the authoritative source for debunking the many myths, rumors, misrepresentations and blatant lies being spread about the GOP's vice presidential nominee.
I heard one particularly scurrilous rumor repeated just this morning when, after having dozed off on the couch in front of the TV, I was rudely awakened by the less-than-dulcet tones of the voice of Joy Behar, a panelist on an ABC daytime TV talk show. Larry King was asking her about Sarah Palin. I don't know exactly when Ms. Behar became an "expert" on the subject of Sarah Palin, but King obviously thought that her opinion mattered. I was struck by the irony of how someone named "Joy" always seems to be so angry. Anyway, she was going on about how cold-hearted the governor must be to cut special needs student funding in Alaska. The only problem with Ms. Behar's faux moral outrage is that Governor Palin did no such thing. In fact, she actually increased special needs funding by a robust 175 percent. The source cited for this information is Alaska's Department of Education and Early Development. They should know.
Also on the show were Karen Hughes and a couple of other women, supposedly two each of Palin supporters and detractors. But King didn't allow the Palin supporters to rebut the accusations put forth by her detractors. He moved on to a different guest with a new question after every response. So the lies about Palin, many spread from such reliable sources as Kos and HuffPo, were allowed to spread. You stay fair and balanced, Larry! Oh, wait. That's the other network.
Much was made of Sarah Palin's initial support, as a gubanatorial candidate, for the infamous "bridge to nowhere." Little was made of the fact that upon discovering the amount shown on the price tag of the final product to Alaska'a taxpayers, Palin decided that the benefits of such a bridge did not justify the costs and promptly cancelled the project. I don't recall any mention of the facts that (1) there is a ferry to transport vehicles and their occupants to and from the island, and (2) the population of the fabled isle consists of all of fifty human beings and an unspecified number of small, furry animals.
Behar said with a sneer (she says everything with a smear, it seems) that Sarah Palin actually believes in creationism and would force schools to teach it. Thanks to Martin's research, we know better:
48. yes, she apparently believes in some variant of Intelligent Design
49. no, she didn’t try to force the schools to teach it; she said if someone brought it up, it was an appropriate subject for debate.
After all, Palin is, as Behar said breathlessly, a Christian fundamentalist. I have yet to figure out why liberals are so threatened by Christians who actually believe the bibles they read and cling to, but threatened they are. I wish... no, make that pray our so-called progressive friends could manage to work up sufficient outrage to be equally concerned about radical Islamic facists of the sort who kidnap and behead hostages, fly airliners into buildings and kill and maim innocent men, women and children. But I digress... According to voice-of-sanity Martin, Sarah did attend a Penticostal church, but she left it because, as he puts it, they were getting too weird for her. Alaska's governor now attends a non-denominational bible church and has done so for the past eight years.
Also mentioned on the King show, but not on Martin's extensive list of over 71 items, was that Gov. Palin opposes stem cell research. Joe Biden and others have tried to make hay over this. According to a CNN story:
Palin, an evangelical Christian, opposes stem cell research because it involves the use of human embryos, but her running mate, GOP presidential nominee McCain, does support stem cell research.
Uh, hold the horses for a minute here, pilgrim...
This sweeping generalization that "Palin... opposes stem cell research because it involves the use of human embryos..." begs further examination.
There are two main types of stem cells used in research - adult stem cells and embyonic stem cells. Research with adult stem cells has already produced a number of successful treatments and cures, and this area of scientific investigation promises many more future medical benefits. Embryonic stem cell research has not produced a single treatment or cure. Lab mice tend to develop tumors when injected with embryonic cells, and other catastrophic effects have been observed. In addition, there are serious moral, ethical and religious questions about this type of research which will be debated for many years to come, and it's doutful that there will be general consensus anytime soon, if ever.
Adult cells do not have these kinds of issues associated with their use. As a result, there are very few, if any, who are opposed to using adult stem cells. For that reason it's probably safe to assume that Gov. Palin is opposed to stem cell research using only adult cells. However, we don't know that for a fact because there's no record of the governor ever discussing adult stem cells specifically. But I know of no one who opposes adult stem cell research. If indeed she does support the use of adult cells for stem cell research, then the statement, "Palin... opposes stem cell research because it involves the use of human embryos..." is a patently false one.
This is an old trick used by the Left whenever it wants to define someone as being so wrapped up in religion and superstition (synonymous, in their view) that they would willingly let innocent people needlesly die before they would allow stem cells to be used to save lives and ease human suffering. It's a gross generalization, and, as Reagan said, it's simply not so.
Perhpas we will get more clarity and insight into what Sarah Palin really believes about stem cells and their use in research when ABC's Charlie Gibson interviews the governor this week. We are sure to learn much more about her on a number of issues.
In the meantime, let's take everything Palin's opponents say about her with at least a grain of salt (a pound, in some cases), keep tuned, bookmark Charles Martin's excellent website and always remember what Reagan said.