Alaska: Caribou, Political Intrigue, Etc.

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Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the dark horse blogosphere choice for John McCain's running mate. Female! Easy on the eyes! From a state that Obama is actually competitive in somehow! Scandals bounce off her like pebbles off a Humvee!

Scratch that last one.

Alaska lawmakers on Monday approved an investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in firing a public safety commissioner. Lawmakers say they want to know whether Palin was mad at former commissioner Walt Monegan for not firing an Alaska State Trooper who went through a messy divorce and ongoing child custody battles with Palin's sister.

… The firing has dogged Palin since she dismissed Monegan July 11, saying she wanted the department to chart a different course. Palin replaced him with Kenai Police Chief Chuck Kopp, but that lasted just two weeks. He resigned Friday after an undisclosed reprimand that stemmed from a sexual harassment claim against him came to light.

Palin's response to the investigation (which will wrap up in, eh, February 2009) is "hold me accountable." The Draft Palin bloggers respond to the story by pointing out that it hasn't yet dinged her poll numbers. Is the corrupt state GOP, which runs the legislature, exploiting a phony scandal to hurt the governor? That, actually, would be great in the long run for Palin. But if it is phony, and her enemies' goal was to hobble Palin as a national figure, it will probably work. If you don't think unvetted VPs getting their first exposure to the national press have ever sunk a presidential ticket, two words: Eagleton, Ferraro. And a third word, if you want to count presidencies: Agnew.

It's all awfully depressing, as Palin's lieutenant governor Sean Parnell is running against Rep. Don Young (a fellow Republican) and providing the best chance since the late 1970s of knocking the guy off. You could hardly run a worse campaign than Young, but if this scandal sticks, the Alaska GOP's screwed in a massive way.

UPDATE: And not long after posting this, the news breaks: Sen. Ted Stevens (R) is being indicted on seven counts, the details to come at a Justice Department press conference at 1:20.

UPDATE 1:47: The press conference is on now. The seven counts pertain to Stevens's "gifts" from Veco.

NEXT: Ethanol Mandate: "Don't waste any more of our time or your time telling us it's a bad idea, because they're going to do it."

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  1. If you don’t think unvetted VPs getting their first exposure to the national press have ever sunk a presidential ticket, two words: Eagleton, Ferraro.

    Eagleton? Are you kidding me? You’re seriously claiming putting Eagleton on the ticket was what sunk McGovern? In 72 McGovern could have been running with Mahatma Gandhi, he was still going down.

  2. Ditto what Warren said about Eagleton for Ferraro. Mondale had 0.0000000000% chance with or without Ferraro.

  3. It’s great that the state GOP’s corruption is so legendary that it has to be taken into account in any unrelated scandal. Wonder how long it’ll take them to live THAT down??
    JMR

  4. McGovern and Mondale would have lost anyway, but not by as much. Go back and check out the polls around the Eagleton affair – Nixon built up a massive lead on which candidate you could “trust” thanks to McGovern’s flip-flop on his running mate.

  5. If she kills it, she’ll be even better-positioned for 2012.

  6. Sarah Palin? Cue Dondero in 5, 4, 3, 2…

  7. I don’t think it will stick. The scandal is that she fired the top law enforcement officer because he would not fire her ex-brother-in-law, a trooper named Michael (I think) Wooten. As this story has gained some legs, several interesting things have come out.

    First, Wooten is clearly not a good trooper. Complaints against him have substantiated that he has shot an illegal moose (a fairly big deal up here – its a charge that has resulted in other state employees being fired), he’s used a taser on an 11-year old (supposedly because the 11 year old wanted to know what it felt like), he has consumed alcohol on the job, and he told his father-in-law, Sarah’s dad, that he would get a fuckin’ bullet.

    Second, Monegan said nothing about Wooten until after the press picked this up. Third, while Monegan talks about ‘pressure’ to fire Wooten, this amounts to some discussions with some administration people and Sarah’s husband that they have concerns about Wooten. The most damaging aspect of this politically is that Wooten’s confidential personnel file wound up in the possession of the divorce attorney representing Sarah’s sister in her divorce from Wooten. So far, that has not been explained.

    The public opinion polls are still resolutely in favor of Sarah. She is really, really popular up here and that has created some hostility. This is coming from a couple of sources. One is Palin’s critics. Even though she is quite popular, she has some very fierce critics. Another place is from the legislature, which feels that she has used her popularity to bully them a bit. One state senator, Hollis French, is a former DA from Anchorage. In that capacity, he became good friends with Monegan, who used to be the police chief for Anchorage. The word up here is that French is irritated that his friend got fired and is pushing an investigation because of his friendship. Don’t know if that’s true or not, but that’s the rumor.

    Frankly, this is the least of the GOP’s worries up here. The feds have indicted 5 current and former Republican lawmakers for taking bribes related to various projects. The first wave included 4 indictments that got 3 convictions. 1 case is up on pre-trial appeal. They just handed down another indictment. Everybody is expecting Don Young and Ted Stevens to be indicted. Its just a matter of time.

  8. Her biggest scandal is her support for the Bridge to Nowhere.

  9. Alaska: How long will it take to go away, then?

  10. Katherine Harris in a pant suit.

    Oh, wait…

  11. An illegal moose? Is that one that enters from Canada without going through a border patrol station?

  12. I’m just here on a work visa, eh.

  13. UPDATE: And not long after posting this, the news breaks: Sen. Ted Stevens (R) is being indicted on seven counts, the details to come at a Justice Department press conference at 1:20.

    What?! There is a god after all?

  14. Ted Stevens just got indicted!

    What does “earmarking” mean in prison slang?

    Kevin

  15. They took ur lichens!

  16. And another one gone, and another one gone, another one bites the dust…

    Does Stevens have a primary opponent?

  17. UPDATE: And not long after posting this, the news breaks: Sen. Ted Stevens (R) is being indicted on seven counts, the details to come at a Justice Department press conference at 1:20.

    Two thoughts.

    #1 – Goody goody. I’ve long been convinced he’s crooked. “But hey, he brings home the bacon so let’s re-elct the scum” seems to be Alaskans attitude.

    #2 – I’m surprised, shocked even, that the Bush Justice department actually went after a sitting GOP senator.

    It should be a fun afternoon reading this unfold on the internet.

  18. It turns out he does have an opponent, though that guy appears to be a bit of a nut too: ADN

  19. It’s good to see that some state party is taking up the Ohio GOP’s challenge to try and knock them off the hill.

    I still don’t see any way to top “Coingate” short of putting the teacher’s retirement fund into Star Trek commemorative plates.

  20. This seems relatively minor, considering the presidential nominees’ pasts (Keating, Rezko). I have not understood why Palin seems to be so far down the list of possible McCain female VP choices. The main job of a VP is to get some good press during announcement week, stay out of trouble, and not blow the debate. Palin would probably do great in the debate.

  21. Remind me again, was Ted Stevens the Congressman who solicited gay sex in a bathroom? There are so many Republican Congressmen and Senators soliciting gay sex from gay men in illicit locations that I cannot remember one from the other.

    Or is Ted Stevens the guy who cried and moaned until Congress gave him $300 million to build a bridge to an island in Alaska with forty residents??

    Seems the GOP has a hang-up with massive erections and “back-door” politics!

  22. Incredibly coincidental timing. Makes it look like I can tell the future.

    Anyway, to answer two questions:

    Nigel Watt: I expect this to hang around for a few months. Enough to make sure that Sarah’s not the VP candidate for this election.

    Occam’s Toothbrush: As to an illegal moose, that is a moose that, for whatever reason, is not one that is a legal target for hunting. For example, in some instances, it is illegal to shoot a cow moose. In other instances, a bull moose must be young, having a spike or fork for horns. In other places, a bull moose must have horns at least 50″ wide with 3 brow tines on one side. Shooting a moose that does not meet the requirements is an illegal moose.

  23. Remind me again, was Ted Stevens the Congressman who solicited gay sex in a bathroom? There are so many Republican Congressmen and Senators soliciting gay sex from gay men in illicit locations that I cannot remember one from the other.

    No, that’s Larry Craig.

    Or is Ted Stevens the guy who cried and moaned until Congress gave him $300 million to build a bridge to an island in Alaska with forty residents??

    That’s the one.

    I tried to watch the press conference online, but unfortunately the intertubes were clogged. I blame internet gambling.

  24. I still don’t see any way to top “Coingate” short of putting the teacher’s retirement fund into Star Trek commemorative plates.

    This shrewd investment choice will be vindicated when the market explodes following the death of either Shatner or Nimoy.

    Many Shuvs and Zuuls will know what it is to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

  25. Andrew,

    I thought that “Bridge to Nowhere” thing was courtesy of Don Young, not Senator Intertubes.

  26. It couldn’t’ve happened to a nicer rat.

    His punishment should be that he must pay for his stupid bridge out of his own pocket.

  27. The Boston Globe’s site has a list of Senators who were indicted in the past couple of decades. I hadn’t heard of this:

    Sept. 27, 1993: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, indicted by a Travis County, Texas, grand jury on three counts of official misconduct while she was Texas state treasurer and two counts of tampering with evidence to impede an investigation. On Jan. 6, 1994, a new indictment accused her of misuse of Treasury employees, using computers for personal and political purposes and altering computer archives. On Feb. 11, 1994, a judge ordered her acquittal after the district attorney refused to present his case until the judge agreed to rule on the admissibility of certain key evidence.

    That sounds a bit shady on the part of the judge. Anybody familiar with what this was all about?

  28. The Palin “scandal” seems so utterly trivial I can’t see any normal person caring about. Even if the press did pick it up, all she’d have to do is bring out the “he tasered an 11 year old” card and she wins.

  29. Native Alaskan Elk | July 29, 2008, 1:11pm | #
    They took ur lichens!

    Made all the more humorous by the fact that Elk are not indigenous to the state. Just like the white man.

  30. You know, I was going to vote for Begich this fall (and Parnell to oust Young) but I don’t know. Now I may just vote for the republican candidate if Steven’s doesn’t win the primary. Great timing this is!!!

  31. Even if the press did pick it up, all she’d have to do is bring out the “he tasered an 11 year old” card and she wins.

    No one cares if she can come out looking better than the fired cop. He’s not running for anything.

    You know who looked like absolute scumbags? The Swift Boat Vets. If it was John Kerry vs. the Swift Boat Vets, he would have routed them.

    But the Swift Boat Vets weren’t running for anything, so it didn’t matter how badly they looked, as long as they splashed some sewage onto Kerry, too.

  32. joe,

    Im not a lawyer or a judge, but I dont think the prosecutor gets to control the timing on that. They present their case first – if the D wants to object to evidence, they can and then the judge rules (I realize they can file a motion to supress evidence in advance, but I dont think they have to). It doesnt say what evidence is involved that they were wondering about, but if it was defensive evidence, that shouldnt interfere with the prosecutions case anyway.

    Present, establish guilt and then let the D hack away if they see fit to.

    Im sure someone who knows more can comment on this, but not knowing whether your evidence will be accepted or not doesnt seem a reason to refuse to proceed forward at all.

  33. It’s about time they indicted Stevens!

    Palin will come out of this “scandal” better than ever. It’s a joke, and by the time this is all over, she’ll be more popular than ever for taking on the corrupt legislators.

    Palin for President in 2012!!

  34. This bolsters Palin’s Veepship since she ran and won the Alaska Governorship on fighting corruption. Moreover, “troopergate” is utterly debunked. She’ll come out looking better, stronger and tougher than ever. She remains extremely popular, 80% approval.

    Q&A

    1. Which McCain Veep pick is SIMULTANEOUSLY the safest AND boldest?

    ANSWER: Sarah Palin

    2. How can McCain SIMULTANEOUSLY attract both Hillary AND Bob Barr voters?

    ANSWER: Sarah Palin

    * * *

    And then there’s this from the Conservative Voice:

    “Desperately seeking Sarah
    July 26, 2008

    By Stephan Andrew Brodhead

    Desperately seeking Sarah
    Americans need a little Palin Power

    Sarah Palin the current Governor of Alaska is John McCain’s ultimate choice for VP. I do believe a woman is next in line for the presidency. All Conservatives like her. She is popular in Alaska. Hillary supporters would relish her. She would solidify a 12 or possibly 16 year Republican executive.

    John McCain’s boring campaign is wearing thin. I need a little Palin Power to get me interested again. They would say ‘but she is only a half term Governor!’ And your point is?”

  35. You know, I thought there was no way I could ever vote Republican, but there is one: if McCain makes Palin his VP, and then promises to die within 30 days or so of taking office.

  36. if McCain makes Palin his VP, and then promises to die within 30 days or so of taking office.

    There are other ways. Just sayin’. Count on it on the other side if Hillary is Veep selection. You do not want to be the heartbeat standing between a Clinton and the presidency.

  37. I understand all of that, robc, and I’m fairly certain that the prosecutor assigned to prosecute a sitting U.S. Senator understands all of that, too.

    It sure looks funny, that a prosecutor would do that, and that a judge would throw out the case instead of telling the DA’s office to get its act together.

  38. You know who looked like absolute scumbags? The Swift Boat Vets.

    Wow. joe knows how to hold a grudge, man.

    We will be fortunate if the unaffiliateds in this campaign are as accurate as they are well-funded.

  39. You know, I thought there was no way I could ever vote Republican, but there is one: if McCain makes Palin his VP, and then promises to die within 30 days or so of taking office.

    Yeah, that would do it for me too. Palin seems like she might actually improve things, even though I’d prefer Barr.

  40. According to the Campaign Spot on NRO, the list is down to two: Pawlenty and Romney.

  41. Awesome, RC! Now do the Watergate break-in!

  42. Colin | July 29, 2008, 12:45pm | #

    Her biggest scandal is her support for the Bridge to Nowhere.

    She didn’t support the bridge, Young did. Palin sacked it.

    http://dwb.adn.com/news/alaska/story/9320482p-9235189c.html

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