Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sarah Palin Swats Fruit Flies

We here in Pittsburgh recently had the pleasure of being the venue for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's first major policy address, on "The McCain-Palin Commitment to Children with Special Needs." In her speech, Palin proposed that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) could be fully funded simply by eliminating that eternal McCain bugaboo, earmarks. After all, earmark money "goes to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good -- things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not." This was not an off-the-cuff remark by Palin; the gibe was part of her prepared text (except for the characteristically pseudo-sixpackish "I kid you not").

I suppose it was too much to hope that Sarah Palin would have been aware of the crucial role that research on fruit flies has played in biology, especially in the science of genetics. Still, someone on the McCain campaign should have known something about this subject; apparently, the urge to take yet another cheap shot against "elitist" science was too much to resist. Because anything can be ridiculed if you're dumb enough, or if you believe your audience is dumb enough, I look forward to the next set of Palin's policy pronouncements:
  • "Can you believe they're spending millions to try and look inside a buncha cells to find something called DMA or whatever? Letters of the alphabet!"
  • "Who came up with the idea of typing all kinds of numbers into some sort of electronic typewriter with a TV attached and hoping it'll tell us what the weather will be like in 10 years? They're stuffing Joe the Plumber's money down a rat hole!"
  • "These socialist liberal Democrats think we're too stupid to notice that they're taking our tax dollars and giving them to some nutty mad scientists who say they're building better windmills. Windmills! Like, are we Dutch?"

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