Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin denied Saturday that she had abused her power as Alaska's governor, a conclusion reached by a state investigator in a report released the day before. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin boards her campaign bus Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.I'd like to believe that she knows she's spinning the truth, but I doubt that's the case. The crux of the findings was that she abused her power by pressuring subordinates, both directly and through her husband, to fire her ex-brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, from the state police force. Whether or not she had the legal right to fire Public Safety Commissioner Monegan, one of the officials she pressured, was not the point. The point was that she violated the Ethics Act, which prohibits action or inaction in furtherance of personal interest, by repeatedly exerting pressure on her subordinates to "do something" about Trooper Wooten.
"If you read the report, you will see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member," Palin said as boarded her campaign bus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You got to read the report."
Now maybe all she really cares about is not getting impeached or even censured by the legislature. But the fact that her punishment may be light does not mean she's done nothing wrong. Ironically, that was the whole point she and her husband were trying to make about Wooten -- that he got off too light with a 10-day suspension and, despite laws protecting his right to keep his job, he really was wholly unqualified from serving as a state trooper.
Throughout her political career, Palin has showed that she sees nothing wrong with using political office to reward her friends, punish her enemies, transport her husband and children, and pretty much do whatever she pleases. This apparently is not only a failure of character, but also one of knowledge and understanding about checks and balances in government and the way ethics laws are supposed to work to ensure that officials do not skirt around them. As far as Palin is concerned, if she thinks her motives are pure and right, she should be able to break any rules or procedures that may be designed to check arbitrary power and protect the innocent. In other words, ethic laws only apply to the unethical -- therefore, if she is ethical in her own mind, they simply do not apply to her.
As mentioned below, a recent story in The New Republic revealed how Palin expressed a similar disdain for and lack of understanding of conflict of interest rules back in Wasilla. Funny thing, the people who tried to call her on it then just got fired or dismissed. Let's hope we can return the favor by seeing that she is fired before she is hired as Vice President.
Mudflats has nailed it in "Through the Looking Glass with Sarah Palin."
"I’ve been struggling to find the right terminology for this. She has jumped the shark. She has landed on Fantasy Island. She has slipped through the looking glass. She’s Queen of Denial. She has become the Head of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth… choose whichever metaphor works for you."
What follows is a transcript of Palin's press conference on the Troopergate report, which more than proves the point, and, for those who do not recall the details, the parts that clearly contradict the truth of both what was said in the report and the underlying facts, which Palin does not dispute.
In addition to the Mudflats piece, there is Time Magazine's new article, "What the Troopergate Report Really Says" by By Nathan Thornburgh. An excerpt:
A harsh verdict? Consider the report's findings. Not only did people at almost every level of the Palin administration engage in repeated inappropriate contact with Walt Monegan and other high-ranking officials at the Department of Public Safety, but Monegan and his peers constantly warned these Palin disciples that the contact was inappropriate and probably unlawful. Still, the emails and calls continued — in at least one instance on recorded state trooper phone lines.And this just in:
The state's head of personnel, Annette Kreitzer, called Monegan and had to be warned that personnel issues were confidential. The state's attorney general, Talis Colberg, called Monegan and had to be reminded that the call was putting both men in legal jeopardy, should Wooten decide to sue. The governor's chief of staff met with Monegan and had to be reminded by Monegan that, "This conversation is discoverable ... You don't want Wooten to own your house, do you?"
Monegan consistently emerges as the adult in these conversations, while the Palin camp displays a childish impetuousness and sense of entitlement.
What shocks me about the McCain-Palin campaign’s reaction to this report is how illogical they have been in their response. On the one hand, they claim that the report shows she did nothing wrong; therefore, they argue, she is totally off the hook. But on the other hand, they claim that the report’s conclusions are invalid because the investigation was too tainted by partisanship. One wants to stand on top of a tall object with a megaphone, yelling, “What the hell are you talking about!? THIS MAKES NO SENSE!”Comment quoted in Glenn Grenwald's piece on Rick Davis in Salon.