Palin Watch V: Troopergate, Poopergate!
Confronted with a scathing indictment of abuse of power, Governor Palin thumbs her nose at the “Troopergate” report.
By Mary Beth Crain
On October 10, the Alaska state legislature finally released its report on “Troopergate.” The results? Governor Sarah Palin was found guilty of abuse of power and ethics violations.
Palin abused her power, said the legislative committee, by violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, which states that a public officer “holds office as a public trust and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest though official action is a violation of that trust."
Stephen Branchflower, the investigator appointed by Alaska legislators, concluded that Palin conducted a campaign to have her former brother-in-law Mike Wooten fired as a state trooper, or by failing to prevent her husband Todd from doing so—clearly motivated by "a personal interest" under the Ethics Act.
Because Palin was technically within her rights as Governor to dismiss a branch department head, the abuse of power charge does not apply to the actual sacking of Monegan, but rather to the pressuring of Monegan and other state employees to fire Wooten. However, noted the report, the Governor’s authority to hire and fire whomever she wishes is contingent upon “good faith”—something Palin, the committee found, did not exactly exhibit. Although Palin has maintained that she fired Monegan over a “budget dispute” and “insubordination,” the report concluded that the commissioner’s refusal to fire Wooten was “likely a contributing factor.” And while the Palins insisted that Wooten was a “threat to the first family,” and that they were only protecting themselves, the committee chose to disagree. There was absolutely no evidence to support those claims, it concluded.
Then there’s the matter of the “First Dude,” Todd Palin, who conducted a phone harassment campaign pressuring state employees to get Wooten fired. In an astonishing display of hubris, Sarah actually had the nerve to deny repeatedly that she knew anything about hubbie’s shenanigans—even though he made the calls from her office! Fortunately, the committee proved that it wasn’t born without a collective brain when it stated that the Governor “knowingly permitted Todd Palin to use the Governor's office and the resources of the Governor's office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired.”
Naturally, the McCain campaign responded by insisting that Palin acted responsibly and lawfully, and that the report was just one more example of partisan witch hunting. "I think the American people can tell the difference between the results of a politically motivated investigation and a legitimate finding of fact," campaign spokesman Taylor Griffin smugly observed—even though the commission was a bi-partisan aggregate of four Democrats and ten—count ‘em, ten—Republicans! As for Ms. Palin, she flashed her signature condescending smile and ruminated on how amazing it was that anyone could find fault with her and her husband for merely trying to “protect the First Family.”
And then, in an even more stunning display of blatant double-standardizing, the McCain forces dismissed the report as a basic “non-issue,” declaring that the American people were far more interested in the “real” issues affecting their lives.
Like Barack Obama palling around with terrorists?
The hypocrisy is mind-boggling. Dare we imagine what the Axis of Evil would be saying if such a report came out about Obama? Why, you’d be hearing the verbal volleys over on the moon! They’d never let up! The barrage would be non-stop all the way to November 4!
But Ms. Palin, the darling of the terminally intolerant, is another story entirely. Naturally, the media is off limits; the queen is not giving any interviews, or answering any questions. Naturally, Palin was perfectly within her rights to protect her family against the scurrilous Wooten. Naturally, the report is purely the result of partisan evildoers out to smear the Governor’s good name and distract the voters from the “real issues.”
Do we detect just a hint of projection here?
Time and again, McCain and Co. has accused the Obama campaign of committing the very crimes of which it is guilty. Obama is a friend of the enemies of this great country! But when Sarah and Todd Palin’s connections to the Alaskan Independence Party—a virulently anti-American secessionist group—came out, they were either ignored or downplayed. Obama’s integrity is suspect—the American people deserve the truth! But Palin, who has been outed in lie after lie, from the Bridge to Nowhere fiasco to Troopergate and beyond, is exempt from that charge. Barack Obama is in league with his anti-American black racist pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But what about the fact that Sarah Palin credited her winning of the Alaska governorship to her pastor, Thomas Muthee, who laid hands on her and protected her from “witches”—even though Muthee founded his ministry in Africa with a witch hunt against a Kenyan woman whom he accused of casting “demonic spells?” Oh, that’s OK. That’s “American” all the way!
How will “Troopergate” affect Palin’s image? To the intelligent, thoughtful sector of the population, it will merely confirm what they knew already—that she’s an egomaniacal opportunistic little demagogue who lies through her grinning teeth and mistakes might for right. To her adoring base, it will be just one more example of the Palin bashing in which the media and the Democrats, i.e. Satan, Inc., take such delight.
A truly creepy segment on the news the other night profiled a group of Christian housewives for Palin. They were seen holding hands in prayer in somebody’s living room, exhorting Jesus to help her win, and extolling the virtues of a woman they worshipfully referred to as a “rock star” and “one of us.” “When she got up there,” gushed one gal, describing her born again moment at the national Palin revival meeting, aka the RNC, “I was jumping up and down and screaming and…she was just awesome!”
These women, noted the report, are staunchly ultra-conservative—against stem cell research, abortion and women’s rights. They are not thinkers by any stretch of the imagination. They look at Sarah Palin and see, in her, everything they are and everything they would like to be. Thus, any condemnation of her is, in essence, a condemnation of them, and will not be tolerated. They are not interested in truth. They are only interested in confirming their own perfection.
At the moment, according to the polls, the only support Palin currently has left is the rabidly conservative Republican base. Before the Troopergate report even came out, she was already steadily sliding in popularity among the general voting public. And now, as the official “attack dog” for the McCain campaign, her hateful, incendiary anti-Obama rabble rousing has even less credibility in the face of the Troopergate scandal. “She’s made herself the moral voice of America without having the authority to do so,” noted more than one commentator. Fully exposed in lies and shady governmental dealings, she has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she, and not Barack Obama, is the one we have to fear.
Perhaps the most embarrassing thing to the embattled McCain campaign is the fact that this women who so blaringly trumpeted her contempt for good ol’ boy Washington politics and her reputation as a reforming “maverick” is, when all is said and done, just another old time fraudulent politico. Country first? Give me a break. It’s Palin first—you betcha.
Given her disdain for knowledge, one wonders if the Governor has ever heard of a certain personage named Joseph McCarthy—perhaps the most notorious Republican of all time. McCarthy was an undistinguished senator until he made the earth-shattering declaration, in 1950, that he possessed a list of State Department employees who were members of the Communist Party and a spy ring out to take down our great country. So began the infamous, shameful era of “McCarthyism,” during which scores of innocent Americans were blacklisted and imprisoned and our most basic freedoms of speech and belief were basically rescinded.
With her racist slurs and lies, paraded in the guise of patriotism, that have insulted not only Barack Obama but the very principles of tolerance on which this country is supposedly based, Sarah Palin is a frightening reminder of her predecessor. But the good news is that McCarthy was eventually exposed as the hypocrite and demagogue that he was, and censured by an overwhelming majority of the senate. He died three years later, at the age of only 48, the victim of alcoholism and his own tragic self-deception.
If there’s one immutable law of the universe, it is that what goes around eventually comes around. Listen well, Governor Palin.
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Senior editor Mary Beth Crain's last piece for SoMA was Palin Watch IV: Post-Debte Musings.
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