Seeking protection from the ‘department of law’

SEEKING PROTECTION FROM THE ‘DEPARTMENT OF LAW’…. Sarah Palin, after avoiding public attention for a few days, spoke to quite a few news outlets today, and stuck to the line that she felt compelled to quit because the series of ethics allegations against her — all of which, she said, lack merit — were too big a burden and distraction.

It prompted ABC News’ Kate Snow to ask a reasonable question.

[W]hen I asked Palin if she ever decided to pursue national office again, as she did less than a year ago when she joined Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the race for the White House, wouldn’t she encounter the same political blood sport? Can such ugliness ever be avoided?

Palin said there is a difference between the White House and what she has experienced in Alaska. If she were in the White House the “department of law” would protect her from baseless ethical allegations.

“I think on a national level your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out,” she said.

There is no “Department of Law” at the White House.

It’s tempting to think Palin may have been referring to the Justice Department, but it’s not “in the White House,” and it doesn’t have the authority to “throw out” charges against the president. Maybe she’s thinking of the White House Counsel’s Office, but again, it has the ability to defend against allegations, not “look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out.”

Indeed, the very assumption that a president is somehow shielded or protected against allegations is itself misguided.

Palin continues to be hopelessly confused about the basics of government. Maybe now that she’ll have some free time on her hands, she can brush up on Civics 101.

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Steve Benen

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.