Take a few hours off, and see what happens? Apparently it’s not possible to blink these days without missing the latest bit of Palin drama. While I was out snapping photos of the governor’s home town of Wasilla and its environs, the state of Alaska was busy running an errand for Sarah – finding her a lawyer. Yes, she’s lawyered up. And the sparks are flying already.
It all goes back to Troopergate. If you need to consult the Troopergate Primer, go HERE. We’ll wait….
Now, we’d like to welcome our newest player to the growing cast of characters in our little drama – Thomas Van Flein. Mr. Van Flein (don’t you just have to say that with an accent?!) has been hired to represent Palin in the upcoming legislative investigation into the firing of Commissioner Walt Monegan.
“But wait!” you may be asking, “What about the state Attorney General? Why can’t he handle this?” Why not AG Talis Colberg? Well, he’s the one that Palin sent out to do a pre-emptive sleuthing campaign to see what the Legislature was going to find out when they investigated her. Just so she’d have a heads up. So now Colberg, who has already been talking to everybody and his uncle about the Trooper, including Walt Monegan, has now opened himself up to being called as a witness! So he’s out. (And incidentally, he’s also going to take over the role of Governor of Alaska should Palin end up as the VP, and her Lt. Governor Sean Parnell win his bid for Alaska’s sole House seat. My head hurts).
Now that John McCain has gotten his mits into this mess, the McCain/Palin campaign has put together a four-page statement saying that her husband Todd Palin and members of her administration had simply inquired “about the appropriate Department of Public Safety procedures for dealing with someone they considered a dangerous person and rogue trooper.” No pressure, just simple friendly inquiries. BUT, they say, keep in mind that Sarah Palin herself only became aware of her husband’s and all those other people’s ‘inquiries’ very recently, long after they were made. Because married people don’t talk about things like exacting vengeance on dastardly ex-brothers-in-law (on whom they’ve filed dozens of complaints) with each other. Todd did it all on his own. That rogue!
Here’s where the gloves come off. Van Flein, Palin’s new lawyer, says that the state legislature shouldn’t be handling the investigation at all. It would be much better, he says, if the state Personnel Board (a three person board appointed by Sarah Palin herself) did the investigation. And Van Flein also asked for all witness statements, documents and other materials collected in the course of the legislature’s investigation.
Hollis French, the state senator, and former state prosecutor who is heading up the investigation said, “No.” and “No.” French reminded Van Flein that Palin has been saying she has nothing to hide all along, and is Palin aware that Van Flein seems to be questioning the legislature’s legitimacy? (That was the first No.) Then he said that Palin had sent the Attorney General out to do the dirty work of talking to all the witnesses first anyway, so go get the information from him. And he told Stephen Branchflower, the real investigator, not to give any info to Van Flein. (Second No.)
Palin and Van Flein vs. French and Branchflower. Doesn’t that sound like some kind of epic medieval jousting match? Good analogy.
Van Flein saddles up. He says, “Our concern is that Hollis French turns into Ken Starr and uses public money to pursue a political vendetta rather than truly pursue an honest inquiry into an alleged ethics issue.”
OHHHHH. Name calling metamorphosis imagery and conservative hot button issue! FOUL for Van Flein!
And now French galloping at full speed…. “How does Van Flein explain the unanimous vote (to pursue the investigation of Palin) by the Republican-dominated Legislative Council?” OUCH! Van Flein is off the horse. Boy that had to hurt.
OK, now Branchflower is ready to take on Palin for some questioning. But…where is Palin? Is Palin in the house? (looking around) Ohh that’s right…busy with that Vice Presidential thing.
Van Flein, dusting himself off, pipes up: The investigation is “bad timing” in the middle of a presidential campaign!
Methinks the presidential campaign is “bad timing” in the middle of an investigation. But that’s just me.
BREAKING NEWS 9/2/08 4:35 LOCAL TIME:
Palin has just released documentation indicating that she will attempt to scuttle the investigation by the Legislature and steer it to the control of the State Personnel Board, a 3-member board that Palin herself appointed. The stall tactics begin. The McCain campaign does NOT want a Legislative investigation, and they don’t want the results of that investigation to come 5 days before the election as it is scheduled now. More shenanigans to come, I’m sure.