Monday, September 01, 2008

Getting Real About Palin

More on Sarah Palin's pressuring the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner to fire her brother-in-law. Josh Marshall writes:

The Palin family had a feud with Wooten prior to her becoming governor. They put together a list of 14 accusations which they took to the state police to investigate -- a list that ranged from the quite serious to the truly absurd. The state police did an investigation, decided that 5 of the charges had some merit and suspended Wooten for ten days -- a suspension later reduced to five days. The Palin's weren't satisfied but there wasn't much they could do.

When Palin became governor they went for another bite at the apple. Palin, her husband and several members of her staff began pressuring Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan -- a respected former Chief of the Anchorage police department -- to can Wooten. Monegan resisted, arguing that the official process regarding Wooten was closed. And there was nothing more that could be done. In fact, during one of the conversations in which Palin's husband Todd was putting on the squeeze, Monegan told Todd Palin, "You can't head hunt like this. What you need to do is back off, because if the trooper does make a mistake, and it is a terminable offense, it can look like political interference."

Eventually, Palin got fed up and fired Monegan from his job. (Palin claims, not credibly, that she fired Monegan over general differences in law enforcement priorities.) This is an important point. Wooten never got fired. To the best of my knowledge, he's is still on the job. The central bad act was firing the state's top police official because he refused to bend to political pressure from the governor and her family to fire a public employee against whom the governor was pursuing a vendetta -- whether the vendetta was justified or not.

Even if Wooten (the brother-in-law) did everything that Palin's family accuses him of, her actions - pressuring the Public Safety Commissioner to fire her brother-in-law, then firing him because he wasn't willing to fire the man - are an abuse of power. Is this someone we want, as they say, "a heartbeat away from the presidency"? And secondly, what is wrong with McCain and his campaign operation that they didn't take account of this story when she was being considered as a candidate?

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this has been the most overlooked aspect of her career, even in the few days that people have been talking about Palin. I wonder why.