Troopergate desperation

TROOPERGATE DESPERATION…. It’s a shame major media outlets never really sunk their teeth into Sarah Palin’s “Troopergate” scandal. I thought a candidate for national office in the midst of an ongoing abuse-of-power scandal, in which she’s changed her story and pretty clearly lied, would be a fairly big deal. For the most part, it’s considered a tangential footnote, which most voters have probably never heard of.

Indeed, when Palin broke her word about cooperating with the bipartisan investigation, her aides and husband refused to honor subpoenas, and Republicans filed a lawsuit to quash the investigation altogether, I foolishly assumed alarm bells would go off for campaign reporters. Alas, that didn’t happen, either.

This week, an Alaskan judge refused to block the rest of the bipartisan investigation, clearing the way for a release of a report on the probe on Friday.

As Josh Marshall noted, this has created some desperation among McCain campaign officials and their lackeys.

Republican state legislators, at the behest of the McCain campaign, have now filed an emergency appeal with the Alaska Supreme Court trying to shutdown the ‘Troopergate’ investigation. The plaintiffs (echoing the Bush v. Gore decision) claim “the plaintiffs and Alaskans will suffer irreparable harm” if the Branchflower report is released, as scheduled, next Friday, October 10th.

Bear in mind, the people in charge of the investigation moved the release date up so as not to have it released on the eve of the election. That was the original schedule long before Palin was chosen as veep nominee. And the GOP lawyers the McCain campaign sent to Alaska have succeeded in having almost all the parties connected to Palin refuse to cooperate with the investigation. So it’s not completely clear just what Branchflower is going to be able to come up with, either inculpating or exculpating.

But this is an opportunity to refocus our attention on something that has been lost in the nonstop coverage of Palin’s campaign trail lies and botched interviews: her record in Alaska strongly suggests she lacks the character to be trusted with high office. Though the troopergate scandal is tied narrowly to Palin’s firing of Alaska’s top cop, Walt Monegan, the heart of the story is about a private vendetta that Palin tried to settle using her new powers as the chief executive of the state of Alaska. Thwarted in doing so, all evidence suggests she fired the public official who refused to execute her plan.

Nor is it the only example. Both as mayor and governor, Palin has shown the tell-tale signs of a politician who hires cronies and fires or blackballs critics. This part of Palin’s record gets deep in the weeds. So it’s not as flashy as the boffo interviews or as irresistible as the straight-up lies she’s been caught in. But we need no closer example than the Bush administration to know that people like this are dangerous and corrosive to our public institutions.

For all of Palin’s ridiculous qualities, humiliating mistakes, and breathtaking lies, it’s worth pausing once in a while so as to not miss the forest for the trees.

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