Bob Herbert tries to keep us focused:
Here’s the deal: Palin is the latest G.O.P. distraction. She’s meant to shift attention away from the real issue of this campaign — the awful state of the nation after eight years of Republican rule. The Republicans are brilliant at distractions. Willie Horton was a distraction. The chatter about gays, guns and God has been a long-running distraction. And we all remember the Swift-boat campaign.
If you want a real issue, forget all of the above and revisit Monday’s front page of The New York Times. Hundreds of families are being forced out of their homes each month in Louisville, Ky., because of mortgage foreclosures. With record numbers of poor and homeless students, the public schools are struggling.
The crisis has only been made worse by fiscal difficulties facing the schools. Higher energy and other costs, combined with a $43 million cut in state aid, have left the school system in a sorry state.
The reason this should be high on the presidential campaign agendas is that the problems in Louisville are widespread. As Sam Dillon of The Times reported: “As 50 million children return to classes across the nation, crippling increases in the price of fuel and food, coupled with the economic downturn, have left schools from California to Florida to Maine cutting costs.”
Even as these districts are cutting back, wrote Mr. Dillon, “the number of poor and homeless children is rising.”
That is the kind of substantive issue the Democrats should be focused on: how to educate America’s children and improve the quality of their lives; how to bring health care to those going without; how to put America back to work.