ID:47839
 
Keywords: politics
Every candidate is flawed and every candidate has things about them you are likely to dislike (and, be honest, they all stand for something you agree with, and if you don't think so, you probably haven't been giving them a fair look).

So there's plenty of real stuff to debate and no reason to make crap up, or believe in made up crap.

FactCheck.org is a respected site, near as I can tell, that attempts to investigate political myths and be a neutral source, ala Snopes.

I encourage you to check out their page for each candidate (I'll list the summaries; please check the site for detailed explanations). Also, when you hear someone in the mainstream media parroting one of these made-up stories, ask yourself why a "journalist" couldn't take two minutes to do a quick web search and learn the truth? Does this journalist want to know the truth?

False claims about Sarah Palin
Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didn?t cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.

She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a "What if?" question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term.

She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She?s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.

Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a "courtesy" when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state.

Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to "debate both sides" of the evolution question, but she also said creationism "doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."


False claims about Barack Obama
These are both false:

One [e-mail] claims that Obama is "certainly a racist" by virtue of belonging to Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which it says "will accept only black parishoners" and espouses a commitment to Africa. Actually, a white theology professor says he's been "welcomed enthusiastically" at the church, as have other non-blacks.

Another e-mail claims that Obama "is a Muslim," attended a "Wahabi" school in Indonesia, took his Senate oath on the Koran, refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and is part of an Islamic plot to take over the U.S. Each of these statements is false.


I'm mostly focused on the inexcusable myths here. They also investigate standard campaign claims (that's the fun and acceptable part of the political debate), which you can check out:

FactChecking McCain

FactChecking Obama

They also have pages on various other topics that have come up during the election -- I encourage you to check it out and keep yourself informed.
Factcheck is great. Do notice that one side tends to pop up more frequently than the other, though. Probably just more liberal media bias ;-)
Jmurph wrote:
Factcheck is great. Do notice that one side tends to pop up more frequently than the other, though. Probably just more liberal media bias ;-)

Or it may just be that said side has a particularly large amount of bogus statements against them.
The only thing there that I find outside the normal political rediric, and a little offensive, is the Muslim part. I don't understand why people label him that. Nearest I can figure is it's his name.

But the more offencive part is that it matters. People act like, just because he is a Muslim(and he's not, but people think he is) he is going to blow up The White House.

But lying about cutting special needs funding is rather mean to Palin. I don't like her as a politician, but playing on people's compassion for the weak to slam someone is just plain wrong, and rude.

However, her stance on creationism is still far off from the "evolution is as much of a fact as gravity, so it should be taught every bit as much as gravity, when there is a scientific debate based on science, it should be debated, but theology has no place in the science class" that her stance should be. There are no two sides to discuss. Evolution happened, we might have some of the small details wrong, but it happened, as much as the Earth is 4.54 billion years old, it doesn't matter what their books say, it's observable fact.

Sorry for the tangent, but I rather dislike the idea of theology getting muddled up with science.
Danial.Beta wrote:
However, her stance on creationism is still far off from the "evolution is as much of a fact as gravity, so it should be taught every bit as much as gravity, when there is a scientific debate based on science, it should be debated, but theology has no place in the science class" that her stance should be. There are no two sides to discuss. Evolution happened, we might have some of the small details wrong, but it happened, as much as the Earth is 4.54 billion years old, it doesn't matter what their books say, it's observable fact.

That's a good summary, and I certainly agree with all of it.

Where I can defend Palin is that her record appears to show that she does not let her beliefs on these things interfere with her job. There is no evidence I am aware of that she acted on her beliefs about creationism (she said she doesn't think it needs to be part of the curriculum, but if it comes up in class it's okay to talk about it -- seems reasonable) or her other evangelical beliefs.

Almost everyone (certainly in this country!) has some, um, interesting religious beliefs. Much more important to me than the wacky things they believe at home is how they act in the public space, and Palin is actually somewhat unusual (along with McCain) in leaving this stuff at home when she gets to work.

This is why Huckabee so freaked me out -- I know basically nothing about the guy but his statement on changing the constitution to be like the Bible, but I need to know nothing more than that. If he had the exact same religious beliefs but made it clear in word and deed that he didn't intend to try and remake government in the image of his religion, then I wouldn't care about his beliefs and would find out what else he happens to stand for.
Obama certainly is a Muslim! Why else would Reverend (? Pastor? Whatever >_>) Jesse James want to rip his balls off?

(Before anyone jumps down my throat, it was a joke)
Jeff8500 wrote:
Why else would Reverend (? Pastor? Whatever >_>) Jesse James want to rip his balls off?

There's a bit of seriousness in that...one major benefit of Obama as President, major enough that some on the right (at least pre-Palin) were suggesting it would be worth having him in office for, is reducing racial tension and reducing or obliterating the role of the current black "leadership".

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton theoretically represent the black community, and they do so by pushing the victimhood angle. Obama as President, and as a black President with no particular debt to those fine folks, and with a mostly victim-free outlook (for himself anyway -- he still treats an awful lot of other people as victims) would represent a new more baggage-free future for the black community.

I recognize that and it's not enough to make the difference for me, but it can't be ignored.
Tangential, but FWIW, I pick up a very strong liberal bias from Snopes in its coverage of anything remotely political. Thankfully they don't get into politics much.

On topic, I believe the claim of Palin cutting funding was because she didn't increase it by the huge amount that was first planned, and scaled it back to a more reasonable increase. People picked up on that as a "cut", even though it was a net increase.

I'm not sure what to make of it one way or the other. Shrewd, intelligent spending; or reneging on fiscal policy -- it could go either way.
Liberal bias? How so? I think it indicates that the Republicans more consistently use distortions of fact or outright lies. But that is to be expected post Rove- attack and lies were his bread and butter. Spare no one and nothing. Even McCain got to be on the receiving end of that. With a largely uninformed electorate prone to emotionalism, it is highly effective.

I do think McCain's campaign has been cleaner than Bush's, though. Still, with outright lies like Palin saying she opposed the bridge (and says nothing about the road to nowhere), I am still not impressed. Obama's campaign has its own distortions, but tends to steer clear of the outright lying that the Repubs seem to so enjoy in campaigns anymore. Not that the Dem base always does, though. Sarah Palin is hardly a creationism pusher and I don't understand why they keep at this angle. It's just not very strong. Better to focus on her inconsistency between actions and words on things like earmarks. And point out that earmarks are also used for things like funding programs for the disabled. See if they want to cut those. Or even better, don't get suckered in to the McCain strategy of focusing on earmarks (which he has a strong record of fighting) because they are a tiny amount of federal spending. Look at the other 90% he hasn't fought to slow. And keep hammering that in 26 years, he hasn't done much to limit federal waste and supported the regime that got us here. Much more effective and hard to answer politically, I think.

On McCain's side, co-opting Obama's message of change was brilliant, but is risky. That is a Republican running against a Republican administration, after all. And McCain was right there voting with them. Good thing the Obama campaign never seems to hammer them on this stuff and seems content to take a break less than 60 days before a tight national election.

Regardless, they both need to excise this debate over experience because it doesn't benefit either camp (both have weak links).
Jmurph wrote:
Still, with outright lies like Palin saying she opposed the bridge

Like Obama and Biden, Palin was initially for the infamous bridge. Unlike Obama and Biden, when she got the authority and got a chance to review the situation after circumstances had changed, Palin stopped supporting it and cancelled the project, using the money for other things -- Obama and Biden voted to keep the bridge going.

So on the bridge itself, whatever you think about that, support for it is not a differentiator for Obama.

On the question of lying...here is McCain's full statement about it -- which part is a lie? Admittedly, any one sentence (or even one paragraph) statement about this stuff is going to be leaving out a lot -- you have to absorb the full history to have a complete opinion.

In the end, though, I think it's fair to say on this: Palin cancelled it, Obama/Biden kept voting for it, so trashing her on the issue is probably not the most honest thing in the world.


Obama's campaign has its own distortions, but tends to steer clear of the outright lying that the Repubs seem to so enjoy in campaigns anymore.

He's moving much more in this direction in the last few days. Both McCain and Obama tried for more positive campaigns to start. In Obama's case, he has had to quickly change that approach due to falling poll numbers. As soon as he wasn't getting a free ride, he began switching many of his positions (on NAFTA, Iraq, drilling, welfare reform, etc).

In addition, he's gone seriously negative against McCain on really stupid stuff and the distortions have cranked up. Unlike McCain, though, Obama attempts to hide his negative ads by not providing many of them to the press (it can be hard to know what a candidate is running in small regions of the country if you don't happen to live there).

In McCain's case, they've gone negative because when they tried running a positive campaign, no one paid attention:

"We ran a different kind of campaign and nobody cared about us. They didn't cover John McCain." -- McCain spokesman Brian Rogers


Not that the Dem base always does, though. Sarah Palin is hardly a creationism pusher and I don't understand why they keep at this angle.

This has been very disappointing and depressing to me. On the right, it is called Palin Derangement Syndrome...an inability to stop attacking Palin on stupid stuff that just drives people to support her. I have theories about this, but it's too much to cover right now...


Regardless, they both need to excise this debate over experience because it doesn't benefit either camp (both have weak links).

Experience was gone as a campaign issue, because it simply wasn't interesting to voters; they didn't care and didn't want to hear about it, so McCain was dropping it as a theme.

The bizarre thing is that Obama then decided to pick it back up again by going after Palin for her experience...which just boomeranged since Obama doesn't have much more than she does (and much less when it comes to actually running businesses or government).

But I think the experience thing will go away again and they'll stick to other stuff...like fanning panic over the economy and trying to talk Iraq into changing policy for the benefit of the campaign...

McCain didn't lie about the bridge- Palin did. In a 2006 gubernatorial debate in which she endorsed the bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina Island saying,
"I'm not going to stand in the way of progress that our congressional delegation and the position of strength that they have right now."
Brad Plumer, citing the Anchorage Dialy News via Nexis:
"5. Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?
Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."
While she did eventually shut down the bridge (after it became a political liability), the state kept the money. Yet she claims that she didn't support it and is against wasteful spending. Actually, like Kerry with Iraq, she was for it before she was against it. And apparently she still supported one bridge to nowhere- the Knick Arm Bridge. Indeed, credit should be given to McCain for his opposition to such expenditures, but not Palin. Even her history in Wasillia is one of wracking up debt and big spending complete with earmarks and federal lobbying- for a tiny town.

Obama and Biden are hardly pure here, no doubt. But they don't seem to be claiming they didn't vote for the Alaska bridge project or other earmarks.

The media didn't cover McCain's campaign previously because it was boring. Palin has brought energy in and people flock to see her, but people still don't seem to want to hear from just McCaine and his speaking events sans Palin seem to be sparsely attended. He seems to have figured that out, though and is rejoining for further campaigning.
Jmurph wrote:
Yet she claims that she didn't support it

Where has she ever said she never supported the bridge? Is there a single instance?


Actually, like Kerry with Iraq, she was for it before she was against it.

Yes, she changed her position for the better (Kerry changed his for the worse, but that's another debate) -- given how much flopping Obama has done in the last few weeks on key issues, this also seems like a non-starter.

Anyway, let's face it -- this is a bogus issue. She came down on the correct side in the end, Obama came down on the wrong side all the way through, but no one cares about either position. They only care about it as a way to oppose the opposition, and if the facts or the candidates were exactly flipped, they'd still be criticizing the other side.

Also, all this is a smoke screen for that fact that Palin did actually engage in reform and fought corruption and improved Alaska's approach to spending. By focussing on these nits, people manage to avoid discussing her complete record, or the fact that Obama has no actual record of reform beyond a couple of completely non-controversial bills that got 100% votes because they weren't risky or challenging in any way.

Say, seen any articles lately about Obama attempting to delay agreements on troop withdrawals in Iraq until after the election?
Deadron wrote:
Where has she ever said she never supported the bridge? Is there a single instance?

Repeatedly trotting out the line :I told Congress, "Thanks, but no thanks." seems pretty unequivocal. Maybe she meant thanks for the money? But no thanks to using it for *that* bridge? Combined with her claims of selling the Alaskan jet on EBay, etc. it shows a trend towards dishonesty. Not good since these are some of the first things the campaign chose to tell the public.

Likewise, I think McCain's record on earmarks is solid and his picking someone who was on the other side of these decisions shows some questionable fiscal judgment on his part. Great campaign judgment, though!

Yes, she changed her position for the better (Kerry changed his for the worse, but that's another debate) -- given how much flopping Obama has done in the last few weeks on key issues, this also seems like a non-starter.

Yeah, probably so. McCain has been flipping pretty well himself. Guess its a politician thing.

Anyway, let's face it -- this is a bogus issue. She came down on the correct side in the end, Obama came down on the wrong side all the way through, but no one cares about either position. They only care about it as a way to oppose the opposition, and if the facts or the candidates were exactly flipped, they'd still be criticizing the other side.

I disagree with your conclusion on Palin. She kept the money and built other unnecessary infrastructure projects. Not saying that Obama was right, but he didn't claim to be on this issue either. She's just not the anti-spender she claims (I would be all for her decision if she had sent the money back! Talk about fighting pork.). And the campaign is the one that keeps repeating this stuff about the Bridge, airplane, etc! It leads their speeches. So how can they be surprised when it is criticized?

But yes, opponents will always fight, even when it may not make sense.

Also, all this is a smoke screen for that fact that Palin did actually engage in reform and fought corruption and improved Alaska's approach to spending. By focussing on these nits, people manage to avoid discussing her complete record, or the fact that Obama has no actual record of reform beyond a couple of completely non-controversial bills that got 100% votes because they weren't risky or challenging in any way.

I agree that she did some good things. But when you come out claiming to be a spending slasher and you have been riding the hog, it looks bad. And has McCain been a big reformer in his 26 years? What about the last 8?

Say, seen any articles lately about Obama attempting to delay agreements on troop withdrawals in Iraq until after the election?

Wait, the gist seems to be that Obama urged foreign diplomats not to rush into an agreement that could bind into the next presidency. Not surprising given BOs opposition to Bush policy. But probably not a huge deal. For one thing, there seems to be a lack of substantiation of any particular negatives (the original story was by a pretty hardline writer and the best he could come up with is speculation that it might delay withdrawals). And even the McCain campaign doesn't seem too interested in following up (my guess is because they don't want to be bound up by the current administration's decisions, either).


Jmurph wrote:
Combined with her claims of selling the Alaskan jet on EBay, etc. it shows a trend towards dishonesty.

She did put the jet on Ebay. She didn't sell it there, but I'm not aware of her ever claiming she did.

If this degree of parsing were applied to a single week of Obama statements...or especially Biden statements (he does so many whoppers the press doesn't bother to report them anymore), oh boy.



Wait, the gist seems to be that Obama urged foreign diplomats not to rush into an agreement that could bind into the next presidency. Not surprising given BOs opposition to Bush policy. But probably not a huge deal. For one thing, there seems to be a lack of substantiation of any particular negatives (the original story was by a pretty hardline writer and the best he could come up with is speculation that it might delay withdrawals).

It is serious -- I don't have time now, but will point to the details later. You can tell it's serious because Obama has confirmed the story (there were too many witnesses to deny it), but in a specially worded way to try and avoid the idea that he crossed a legal line.