Palin Leaves Campaign Trail. Flees North.

4 09 2008

Well this is interesting. Chuck Todd dropped a little bombshell this afternoon.

CHUCK TODD:Well Ron, We’ve been able to see that there are a few folks who are saying [Palin is] actually going to hole up in Alaska for a little, she’s got to see her son off who’s going to be deployed to Iraq, so we may not see her on the campaign trail for a little while.

RON ALLEN: Yes she hasn’t been home for a long time, and she’s obviously got some business to deal with there.

Hole up in Alaska? I was thinking to myself after her polished but snarky performance at the Republican National Convention, “I wonder who will get the first interview?” Because obviously, questions need to happen. Nobody even knows who she is. She read one prepared statement twice in a row, and then gave a speech written by Bush’s speechwriter. Unless you’re on the internet searching compulsively for YouTube videos of obscure Palin moments in churches and assembly meetings, or diving head first in to the blogosphere, you haven’t got a clue.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the desire to see your child off as he heads to Iraq. So do thousands of other parents who are shipping children off to Iraq. I mean, I hate to be rude, but don’t you have anything else you need to be doing?? You will potentially be one heartbeat away from being commander in chief of the armed forces. Shouldn’t you be out there telling people why you think you can do that job, and earning the trust of the nation that is turning over their own sons and daughters to fight this war? Can’t the hug good-bye happen now??

There are 60 days left before the election. Track ships out on September 11th. That’s one week from now. That’s more than 10% of the available time left, that she’ll be on hiatus “holed up” in Alaska, dealing with “things”. So what’s the real story?

First, and most obviously, fleeing from the media probably sounds pretty good right about now.

Second, remember when Palin told the Alaska State Legislature through her new attorney Thomas Van Flein that she wouldn’t be around to testify because she’d be too busy? And remember when Van Flein said that she shouldn’t even be investigated by the Legislature at all, but rather by a 3-person panel which she herself appointed? And remember when she filed ethics charges against herself to force this plan to happen?

Well…TPM Muckraker talked to former Alaska Attorney General John Havelock (I know him! Good guy.) who said basically that the Legislature can investigate whatever it likes. Van Flein knows this, undoubtedly, but is trying to stall things so the ruling comes after the election on November 4, instead of on the planned date of October 31st. In addition, Frank Bailey (the guy in Palin’s administration who was tape recorded by the Troopers applying pressure to axe the governor’s ex brother-in-law, Mike Wooten) has now refused to testify. So, he will have to be subpoenaed. And now that the governor is back in this neck of the woods, does that mean she will testify? Or will she refuse too, and need to be subpoenaed?

In addition, there are new developments just breaking that the Police Officers Union of Alaska has filed an ethics complaint on behalf of…you guessed it…Trooper Mike Wooten. NBC News says:

The complaint alleges that the governor or her staff may have have improperly disclosed information from Wooten’s personnel records. The complaint alleges “criminal penalties may apply.”

This all has to do with the aforementioned phone call. Bailey, while being recorded talking to Trooper Rodney Dial, dished all kinds of personal information about Wooten – shooting the moose, driving under the influence, etc. Wooten says the only way he could have known this is by accessing his personnel file improperly.

Palin…er…The McCain Palin campaign says that there was nothing illegal here because Wooten had signed a waiver allowing a divorce attorney to look through his records. So the info went down the line from file, to divorce attorney, to Molly McCann (Palin’s sister), to Todd Palin, to Frank Bailey, to Trooper Dial, and then back to Mike Wooten….who is now filing a complaint. And Bailey does say that Todd Palin was the source of the damaging information on Wooten that he passed along. And Sarah Palin knew NOTHING about this. That’s her story and she’s stickin’ with it. Hmph.

So, there you have it. Is it legal? We’ll find out. Criminal penalties may apply.

(And McCain knew all about this, right?)

Now that you’ve slogged through all that, sit back and enjoy this excellent summary of Troopergate (minus the new developments) from ABC News. Hat tip to Gryphen at The Immoral Minority, one of my favorite local blogs, for finding the clip.

UPDATE: Palin and McCain were at a rally in Cedarburg, WI today. No sign of her here yet. I’ll update when I know more.