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Friday, August 29, 2008

The New Nixon

by dday

There's quite a lot to say about Sarah Palin. There's actually quite more to say about Barack Obama's magnificent speech, but John McCain kicked the soccer ball and the media herd is chasing it. So we'll go with Palin for now and come back to Obama's speech on the weekend.

What's striking to me is what has happened in Alaska since Palin was swept into office as a reformer. In 2006, sitting governor Frank Murkowski finished third out of four in the primary due to corruption scandals. A good chunk of the Republicans in the state legislature are either under indictment or under suspicion. Ted Stevens will go to court in September. Palin offered a new direction from that culture of corruption.

And then she came into office and did the same thing as every other Republican in Alaska. The most prominent scandal, for which she is currently under an ethics review, concerns her trying to get her sister's ex-husband fired as a state trooper.

Gov. Sarah Palin, a rising young GOP star mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain, could see her clean-hands reputation damaged by a growing furor over whether she tried to get her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper.

A legislative panel has launched a $100,000 investigation to determine if Palin dismissed Alaska's public safety commissioner because he would not fire the trooper, Mike Wooten. Wooten went through a messy divorce from Palin's sister.

Palin has denied the commissioner's dismissal had anything to do with her former brother-in-law. And she denied orchestrating the dozens of telephone calls made by her husband and members of her administration to Wooten's bosses.

There's actually tape of a Palin aide pressuring the Public Safety Department to fire Wooten. And when the Public Safety Commissioner wouldn't, she fired him and replaced him with someone who would. Someone who had a history of sexual harrassment and is now the PUBLIC SAFETY commissioner.

That's shades of Archibald Cox and Elliot Richardson and William Ruckleshaus. I understand that the state trooper and her sister had a messy divorce, and he's been alleged to have done all sorts of terrible things to the sister and the kids, but firing people who refuse to carry out your wishes - well, that's good for Woodward and Bernstein's career, but not for the country.

And there's more.

Siun reports that Palin broke the law to ensure that Alaskan water would stay dirty:

It is against the law for the governor to officially advocate for or against a ballot measure; however, Palin took what she calls "personal privilege" to discuss one of this year's most contentious initiatives, which voters will decide Tuesday.

Along with taking a position on the big mine's side, Palin's administration apparently used state Department of Natural Resources resources to lobby for defeat of the Clean Water Initiative under the pretense of creating a state run website to "educate" citizens. The citizen group Alaskans for Clean Water responded by filing ā€œa complaint against DNR for a recently-launched state website meant to clarify the issue for voters. ā€œ

The complaint alleges that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) improperly attempted to influence the outcome of an election by publishing information against the initiative on its website. It also alleges that DNR failed to report to APOC the expenditures, including employee time, related to creation of the information.

ā€œIt has become clear to us that the Department of Natural Resources is working hand-in-hand with the industry, and that the state is inappropriately making efforts to influence voters on this ballot initiative,ā€ said Art Hackney, a co-sponsor of Ballot Measure #4.

Now, this reflects Nixon as much as it reflects our current White House resident. When the laws constrain you, use a "personal privilege" or make a signing statement. The point of similarity is contempt for the rule of law and a belief in the expansion of executive power.

There are a lot of ways to talk about Palin. She is a creationist-loving anti-choice, environment-despoiling gift to the fundie right who's resume is so thin that she doesn't really know what the Vice President does. It's clear that McCain, who has only met Palin a few times, sees the election as an uphill climb and tried to use the pick to command the news cycle with a surprise. Maybe that works for a day, but over time this could backfire heavily. Like Eagleton heavy.

Not to mention that she is completely in line with Fourthbranch Cheney and Spiro Agnew and the rest of the Corruptocrats on the issue of abuse of power. The Anchorage Daily News put it best:

She can look you in eye and tell you black is white.

Especially when there's oil involved.