Busting the Palin Caricature
The ProJo editors and From Harrop (perhaps one and the same–and Harrop’s piece is particularly nasty) are quite exorcised over GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin’s social stances. As Steven Hayward writes, “The left and the media are trying to force Palin into a rigid social-con box…” But C-Span ran video of Palin in the 2006 Republican debate during the Alaska governor’s race that shows she’s pretty pragmatic when it comes to sex education and birth control. Byron York has more details:
[T]here was a passage in the debate that will lay to rest all those reports we have seen that Palin supports abstinence-only education when it comes to sex. It seems Palin had written in a questionnaire that she opposed “explicit” sex-ed programs, so she was asked:
In a recent survey you said that you would support abstinence-until-marriage education but that you would not support explicit sex-ed programs. What are explicit sex-ed programs, and does that include talking about condoms in school?
No, I don’t think that it includes something that is relatively benign. Explicit means explicit. No, I am pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I’m not anti-contraception. But yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don’t have a problem with that. That doesn’t scare me, so it’s something that I would support also.
As for the charge that she would push “creationism”, well, that’s false, too. Here’s an AP account of Palin’s stance on teaching creationism and evolution in schools (via Jim Lindgren, who was initially critical of Palin on this issue):
As a candidate for governor, Sarah Palin called for teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools. But after Alaska voters elected her, Palin, now Republican John McCain’s presidential running mate, kept her campaign pledge to not push the idea in the schools.
As for her personal views on evolution, Palin has said, “I believe we have a creator.” But she has not made clear whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact.
“I’m not going to pretend I know how all this came to be,” she has been quoted as saying. . . .
When asked during a televised debate in 2006 about evolution and creationism, Palin said, according to the Anchorage Daily News: “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.”
In a subsequent interview with the Daily News, Palin said discussion of alternative views on the origins of life should be allowed in Alaska classrooms. “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum,” she said.
“It’s OK to let kids know that there are theories out there. They gain information just by being in a discussion.” . . .
Neither have Palin’s socially conservative personal views on issues like abortion and gay marriage been translated into policies during her 20 months as Alaska’s chief executive. It reflects a hands-off attitude toward mixing government and religion by most Alaskans.
“She has basically ignored social issues, period,” said Gregg Erickson, an economist and columnist for the Alaska Budget Report.
As Hayward observes:
…she’s much more about bread and butter issues and good government that [sic] a frothy social-con agenda. Sure, she has social-con views, but what people don’t recognize is that she exudes Alaska’s very libertarian, live-and-let-live attitude, such that her expressed policy views are much more moderate.
Is it too much to ask that the press not jump to conclusions? And they wonder why they are stereotyped as the “MSM” and “liberal media”? How about a little more digging before printing your assumptions? Here’s some help.