We did some debunking ourselves in an earlier post sent from the National Jewish Democratic Council, and now it’s the Republican Jewish Coalition’s turn! It’s quoted in its entirety, but with a little help in getting the facts straight.
Smears Debunked: The Truth About Gov. Sarah Palin
Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin supporting Pat Buchanan for President
Facts: Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Steve Forbes in 1996 and 2000, not George W. Bush or Pat Buchanan.
While Mayor of Wasilla, AK, Gov. Palin had a policy that if a candidate came to her city, she would wear that button on the day they were there. Pat Buchanan came to Wasilla so the day he came, she wore a button. On July 26, 1999, then-Mayor Palin wrote the Anchorage Daily News to clarify the record because a wire service story the paper had published nine days before “may have left your readers with the perception that I am endorsing” Buchanan because she had welcomed his visit to her town. “As mayor,” she explained, “I will welcome all the candidates in Wasilla.” (Anchorage Daily News, 7/26/99)
That the Democrats lie is a strong, if not misleading statement. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), who is a part of Obama’s campaign team, made that statement after the announcement of Palin as VP nominee. It seems credible that Wexler would not have seen the clarification before he went on the attack. Nonetheless, he has not propagated the statement since he initially said it, and the Obama campaign has backed away from it. Putting the “fact” in the present tense is unfactual.
Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin endorsing the views of a Jews for Jesus speaker that spoke once in her church.
Facts: Gov. Palin did not know this speaker would be at her church and emphatically rejects his views.
This is based on concerns about a sermon presented last month at the church she usually attends. The Jewish news agency JTA investigated and reported that 1) Palin would have had no way of knowing that this person would be speaking at church that day, 2) Palin rejects the Christian speaker’s offensive views, and 3) Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has seen “no evidence” that she shares those views. (JTA, 9/3/08)
Also, this speaker spoke once at Palin’s church. Democrats should be cautious when their candidate, Barack Obama, embraced an anti-American, anti-Semitic pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright who was both a personal friend and mentor for 20 years. Democrats are absolutely attempting to smear Gov. Palin with distorted facts. Democrats are doing a disservice to themselves if they think with one or two distorted facts that they can fool the Jewish community.
Some items are correct, some are untrue, some are unclear. So yes, JTA did investigate.
A spokesman for the McCain campaign, Michael Goldfarb, said Palin did not know Brickner would be speaking that day and did not share his views.
Church pastor Larry Kroon confirmed that Palin, the governor of Alaska who was chosen last week by U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to join his GOP presidential ticket, would have had no way of knowing that Brickner was slated to speak.
“Governor Palin does not share the views he expressed, and she and her family would not have been sitting in the pews of this church for the last seven years if his remarks were even remotely typical,” Goldfarb wrote in an e-mail.
But we didn’t hear Palin’s beliefs in the matter from Palin herself. As for the visit by Brickner, the RJC got the facts wrong. According to the transcript of Brickner’s sermon, which I got from the Wasilla Bible Church’s Web site (The 8/17/2008 sermon), Kroon says that Brickner had visited the church once before, four years ago (whether Palin attended that service we’ll likely never know), which means that she likely would have known who Brickner was. And Brickner was on the church’s calendar for three years, and I presume that any speaker of this stature would have been heavily promoted within the church.
The Lord put David Brickner on our calendar almost three years ago, put it in ink, said “David Brickner, August 17th, 2008, Wasilla Bible Church. He’s an international speaker—his schedule ends up being two to three years out. He’s a leader of Jews for Jesus, a ministry that is out on the leading edge in a pressing, demanding area of witnessing and evangelism.
In addition, the Wasilla Bible Church supported Jews for Jesus financially by taking an offering. We do not know if Palin participated by giving the organization money.
We’re gonna conclude our service in a little unusual way. First we’ll be taking the offering; we’ll be praying for this ministry when we do that. So I’ll ask the ushers to come forward, and we’ll be taking that offering for Jews for Jesus. And then we’re gonna close in kind of an adaption of our usual closing. You know our blessing song, right? Got it. David’s gonna sing it in Hebrew to us. Then we are going to sing it in return, in English, upon David and his ministry, ok? You guys got it? Alright. Let’s pray.
But they are right about Obama and Rev. Wright, and he has been fighting an uphill battle on that front, even after he severed ties with his former friend and pastor.
Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin censoring library books.
Facts: The Anchorage Daily News found that then-Mayor Palin never proposed to ban a single book. (Anchorage Daily News, 9/4/08) All other rumors and innuendo on this topic are outright smears.
Here’s the headline from the Democratic party’s Web site: “Wasilla: Sarah Palin Sought to Purge City Officials and Censor Public Library Books.” Yes, there are questions. No, they are not saying she did try to censor any books, at least not from the Obama campaign itself. Yes, there’s some ugly stuff going around on the viral e-mail circuit, with a list of books she had sought to ban, some of which had not yet been published when this list was purported to have been created, but there’s no evidence it came from the Democratic party (though it presumably and likely came from people who vote that way).
But, it is important to note that Palin did ask a town librarian whether she would support the banning of any books, and that librarian was later fired (as were several town officials but the two events may not be related. There were no books, as far any credible sites have stated, that were singled out, and none were banned. According to FactCheck.org:
Palin initially requested Emmons’ resignation, along with those of Wasilla’s other department heads, in October 1996. Palin described the requests as a loyalty test and allowed all of them (except one, whose department she was eliminating) to retain their positions. But in January 1997, Palin fired Emmons, along with the police chief. According to the Chicago Tribune, Palin did not list censorship as a reason for Emmons’ firing, but said she didn’t feel she had Emmons’ support.
The whole loyalty test thing makes me very uncomfortable, but I’m also not the executive of a relatively small town at the edge of the known world.
Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin seeking to have creationism taught in public schools.
Facts: Gov. Palin took no action to add creationism to the state’s curriculum throughout her term in office.
The Associated Press investigated and found that Gov. Palin “kept her campaign pledge not to “push the State Board of Education to add creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum or look for creationism activists when she appointed members.” The AP also quoted a political observer in the state who observed, “She has basically ignored social issues period.” (Associated Press, 9/3/08)
There’s no smear here, and the RJC is guilty of sins of omission. They’re right. Palin did not push to have creationism taught in schools. But — and here’s where there needs to be an important distinction — she isn’t against it. And she uses the playbook of the Discovery Institute in this matter, in saying that the evolution and creationism (or, in their case, intelligent design) are on an even plane. This from FactCheck.org, based on a debate on Oct. 25, 2006 when she was running for governor.
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. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject – creationism and evolution. It’s been a healthy foundation for me. But don’t be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.
The next day she added to that statement in the Anchorage Daily News, quoted here, noting that she wouldn’t require creationism being taught.
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.
And the RJC asks for more, if you got ‘em.
The RJC is determined to set the record straight in the face of frenzied attacks on Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain. Please let us know if you hear about a smear that needs to be addressed.