WHY MCCAIN’S TROOPERGATE SPIN DOESN’T WORK…. Now that Sarah Palin has been found to have abused the powers of her office, the McCain campaign has two principal arguments: 1) the legislature’s independent investigation found that the governor could legally fire the public safety commissioner for any reason she chose; and 2) the independent investigation was a partisan, “politically motivated” exercise.

Both arguments are hopelessly misguided, for entirely different reasons.

The problem with the first argument is that it badly misses the point. Yes, Palin could fire former Alaskan Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan. He served at her pleasure. But the report found that she fired him, at least in part, because he refused to go along with her personal vendetta against her ex-brother-in-law.

Palin, in other words, violated state ethics laws and abused her powers. That’s not an exoneration; that’s a condemnation.

For that matter, the report shows that Palin lied, repeatedly, about her own conduct. She lied about Monegan’s firing, she even lied about “fearing” Mike Wooten. In this sense, it’s a double-whammy: Sarah Palin violated state ethics laws and abused her powers — and then got caught lying about it. The McCain campaign, this is practically unspinnable.

The problem with the second argument is that it’s just factually untrue. Alaskan officials of both parties voted to appoint the special counsel to investigate the scandal; Alaskan officials of both parties agreed publicly that the investigation was warranted; Alaskan officials of both parties approved of subpoenas as part of the probe; Alaskan officials of both parties resisted efforts to shut down the investigation; and Alaskan officials of both parties approved the release of the report.

I realize the McCain campaign likes to redefine words for its own purposes, but calling this a partisan, “politically motivated” exercise is ridiculous.

The Politico’s Kenneth Vogel summarized the report’s findings this way:

Sarah Palin violated the trust Alaskans placed in her as their governor in how she handled the events surrounding the firing of a state official who had refused to dismiss her ex-brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.

“Violated the public’s trust.” For McCain, that may not be important, but for those of us who take integrity in government seriously, it means a great deal.

And from a purely political perspective, it makes the notion that Palin is a “reformer” utterly ridiculous.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.