That said, I came across a couple points I thought were worth conveying, first from my friends over at Purple State Blog, who posted the following insightful question during a liveblogging of the debate:
McCain keeps saying Palin's son has autism, but it's Down's Syndrome.Oops? Maybe. He did focus largely on autism, perhaps because autism is currently getting attention from a greater number of parents than Down's is. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan's blog this morning has an even broader and more nuanced critique of what we saw last night, provided by the parent with a 12-year old autistic daughter:
McCain’s most out of touch statement of the evening for me was his claim that Sarah Palin, with her four month old child with Downs Syndrome, knows more about special needs than anyone else he knows. My 12 year old daughter is autistic and I can tell you, at four months I knew next to nothing about the joys and heartbreak of raising a child with a disability.To close things out, NBC's First Read has a good set of questions that pull us back from what was said to what the McCain camp has actually proposed in relationship to research on autism, programs for special needs children and families (hint: it's very little). There has been much talk of Sarah Palin's empathy for and understanding of what it means to have a special needs child, but what would a McCain administration actually do. Domenico Montanaro at NBC asks:
At four months these kids are much like typical babies --- sweet, full of hope, and we related to them the same way relate to every other child we know. Ask parents of adults and teenagers with down syndrome or autism about what they know --- it is a different world.
But what does McCain-Palin specifically want to do about special education? Do they agree with IDEA? Do they want to expand rights for special-education students to private schools? Do they want to increase funding? Do they want more access, by way of funding, to special-ed advocates?
McCain also said they want to help find a cure. But how?
The NIH budget has been slashed in the past eight years. Does McCain-Palin propose additional funding, particularly for autism or Down's research?
We don't know. Nothing was or has been laid out.