Palin Investigates Self in Innovative Winning Strategy.

13 08 2008

It’s good to start the day with a chuckle…and there are chuckles aplenty in the latest hilarious hijinks of our wacky governor Sarah Palin. We discovered last month that the Legislature would be conducting an investigation of the controversial firing of DPS chief Walt Monegan. That little debacle had everything – drama, revenge, infidelity, abuse of power, intimidation, drunk driving, child custody issues….and on and on. It was nice, frankly, to have a little respite from the slime; a time of cleansing; a mental sorbet. Now it’s time for the next course.

This one, although equally serious, has the feel of lighthearted satire. Here’s the deal:

After the Monegan debacle, Palin said she welcomed an investigation, had nothing to hide and was completely innocent. A few days later, backpedaling, said there really didn’t need to be an investigation and that she was willing to answer all questions she was asked. But the Legislature proceeded.

Retired state prosecutor Steven Branchflower was hired by the Legislature to investigate Palin and her administration regarding the Monegan firing. Here’s where we enter the land of the absurd.

Palin (aka ‘the accused’) decided that she didn’t want to wait for the investigation to begin. She’d rather know ahead of time what would be uncovered by the Legislature’s investigation. That would make things much nicer for her…. you know, eliminating the element of surprise, and having a heads up. What to do… (lightbulb goes off)

The solution? She directed the Alaska State Attorney General, Talis Colberg to investigate FIRST, and include interviews with Department of Public Safety employees. The accused’s ‘investigation of self’ apparently began in July, and interviews started on August 4th. The AG refused to say who was interviewed or how many interviews were conducted. Meanwhile, Branchflower has not even started the Legislature’s official investigation yet.

Go ahead, chuckle. I did.

Predictable reactions?

Jay Ramras (chair of the House Judiciary Committee:

“I think it is harmful to the credibility of the administration, harmful to the process and harmful to all the parties involved. It’s just the worst possible thing to be doing.”

John Cyr, executive director of the troopers union:

“It’s an abuse of her office” for Palin to involve the attorney general.

Legislators and Alaska citizens who have an ounce of common sense:

“Ummm. Witness intimidation? Witness tampering? Misuse of the Attorney General? Misuse of state resources? Are you kidding me???”

Governor’s spokeswoman Sharon Leighow:

No comment. Talk to the Attorney General.

The Attorney General Tallis Colberg:

“We’re commited to trying to cooperate as best we can…”

I just love that. This has become a catch phrase in the Palin administration…”committed to try”. Now that’s REAL commitment.

The governor’s justification for launching this preemptive investigation? Representative Hollis French told the Wall Street Journal that a worse-case scenario might be impeachment. Yeah….and? Apparently even acknowledging that this WAS the worst-case scenario had the administration in a tizzy. Palin and her hench-people figured that this was the winning strategy.

Time, once again, to sit back and watch the fallout.

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Palin’s VP Prospects Circling the Drain

21 07 2008

After much speculation about what Sarah Palin actually meant when she said the reason she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was to take the department “in a new direction”, the governor has finally given us an explanation. Unfortunately, the explanation is feeble at best.  At worst, disingenuous.

Apparently the ‘new direction’ involves increasing recruitment and dealing with alcohol and substance abuse problems in the bush. ……ohh kay….. how is this different? And how was Walt Monegan not doing this? Palin’s “new direction” is basically a carbon copy of material released by Walt Monegan and Colonel Audie Holloway at the beginning of the year.  In other words, the new direction is the old direction.

So, what does this mean?  Several things, potentially.

  1. The ‘new direction’ is a lame attempt to explain why Monegan got fired, when, in fact, his firing had nothing to do with direction, and everything to do with not firing Palin’s ex-brother-in-law and Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, despite being pressured to do so.
  2. The governor thinks we are not paying attention.
  3. The governor thinks we are not very bright.

So, what does the Legislature think of all this? Buckle your seatbelts Alaska, and prepare for…..another investigation.

Senate President Lyda Green (fellow Wasilla Republican and Palin arch-nemesis), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French  have said that an investigation is likely, and Senator Johnny Ellis stated this weekend, “There will be an inquiry. Any use of public position for personal use or gain is wrong. We will get to the bottom of it.”  Same story in the House.  And the House and Senate are talking about holding hearings regarding the Monegan firing.  It’s only a matter of time before the can is opened and the worms come out.

This investigation will have a slightly different flavor than the others to date. So far we’ve had investigations (with accompanying indictments and convictions) of state legislators, and of oil service execs. We’ve got investigations of our congressional delegation, and likely an ex-governor.  But now we’re going to have an investigation of not only a sitting governor, but a potential Vice Presidential candidate. Until now, Palin has been the darling of the right, and on McCain’s short list for VP running mate.   She’s cute, she’s tough, she wears red suits, she’s a social conservative, she’s pro-life, she’s a woman, she’s a hockey mom with 5 kids, and most of all she’s squeaky squeaky clean!  …  Uh oh.

Truth is, her reputation for sweeping the state clean of corruption, and restoring ethics and transparency to government was the foundation on which all those other things rested. Take that away, and  it all falls like a house of cards.  McCain isn’t considering her as a running-mate to secure Alaska’s three electoral votes, that’s for sure.  He wants her image. And now, that image is sullied, which means right about now her chances for the VP nod are circling the drain.  In this election, no one can afford to be linked to another corrupt Republican….least of all a corrupt Republican.

UPDATE:  The Anchorage Daily news has linked to an interview with Walt Monegan that aired today on KUDO 1080-AM.  More discussion on KUDO was promised for tomorrow.

UPDATE #2 8/29/08:

Let me be the first to say I was wrong.  The choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s VP running mate proves how foolish I was for imagining that the Republican’s weren’t that stupid!