Saturday, October 11, 2008

More on the Palin Report

As noted, the media is going to be chanting "abuse of power" for the next little while regarding the "Troopergate" report.

A more accurate re-statement of the Palin report’s conclusions would be to say that Governor Palin acted well within her authority as governor, broke no laws, and the worse thing that could be said is that her efforts as governor to get rid of a state trooper happened to be based in part upon her personal knowledge of Wooten--personal knowledge she had because her sister had been married to him, and because Wooten Tasered her nephew. and had threatened to kill Palin’s father, among other things.

The only nefarious object ever identified in the report was Sarah and Todd’s desire to get Michael Wooten off the Trooper force. That is, they weren’t motivated by kickbacks, political ambition, loyalty by ACORN, a payoff to powerful interest groups, or anti-American instincts, which is to say, the panel didn’t find that Governor and Todd Palin went so far as to behave like Democrats.

After banging on for several paragraphs about what Todd did and Governor Palin “allowed” Todd to do, the most the Times has to say about just what it was about Wooten that had the Palins so concerned was that: “As a result of several complaints against Trooper Wooten, he was suspended from the state police force for five days.”

Doesn't sound so bad. But we can be more specific than that:

• Mike Wooten, 35, has been a trooper since 2001. He has been married and divorced four times. One of his marriages was to Palin's sister, Molly McCann, with whom he had two children. That marriage ended in 2006. His behavior leading up to the divorce led Palin's and McCann's father, Chuck Heath, to file a formal complaint about him to the state police.

• Heath and Sarah Palin, who was not yet governor, said that Wooten had threatened to kill Heath — telling McCann that Heath "would eat a f***ing lead bullet" if he hired a lawyer for her. They also charged that he had used a Taser on his own 11-year-old stepson, had drunk beer in his patrol car and had shot a cow moose without a license (the latter a crime in Alaska, where such licenses are not easy to come by).

• The state police investigated these charges and substantiated all of them. Col. Julia Grimes, then head of the Alaska State Troopers, suspended Wooten for 10 days. . . .
(“About That Trooper”).

When Palin became governor, she knew Wooten was still on the force. Apparently, the fact that she knew the bad guy personally meant she was supposed to recuse herself and leave the decision to her insubordinate Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan. Well, she did that, and he didn’t do his job. Which is why they make executives, like Palin, to do what needs doing. Which in this case meant getting rid of the commissioner, Monegan, who was serially insubordinate on other matters, as well. Wooten is still a state trooper. (Doesn't matter. Someone likee Whoopi Goldberg will still accuse Sarah of slamming Wooten into Gitmo).

The damning finding in this 263-page report reads this way:

“I find that, although Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety.”

Not the sole reason. That's it. That's what all the headlines are about.

But by tomorrow morning Democrats will be demanding her resignation and accusing her of "high crimes."

The condensed version of the New York Times story on this in this morning’s Detroit News is a hoot. “Panel: Palin abused authority in firing”.

The article leads off this way: “Gov. Sarah Palin abused the powers of her office by pressuring subordinates to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, an investigation by the Alaska Legislature has concluded.”

But within four paragraphs of this lead, announcing the new “abused her powers” Democrat talking point, the NYT reporter writes this:

The document concludes that Palin both acted upon her public interest in seeking the firing of Wooten and created a conflict of interest by forcing subordinate employees to choose between doing her bidding or not. [Ed. note: So having to do what your boss wants instead of what you want is now a "conflict of interest"? TR].

It says: "Gov. Palin's firing of Commissioner Walt Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads."

It cites the Alaska Constitution, which says "the governor may discharge department heads without cause" and that department heads "serve at the pleasure of the governor."

"In light of this constitutional and statutory authority, it is clear that Gov. Palin could fire Commissioner Walt Monegan at will, for almost any reason, or no reason at all."

Then after these four paragraphs, detailing how far within her rights the Governor actually was in doing what she did, what comes next?

"I feel vindicated," Monegan said.

So Governor Palin did nothing wrong, but Monegan is vindicated? And the report makes clear that Governor Palin could fire Monegan at will, and yet, the reason for this witchhunt was that she fired Monegan?

How do they get away with this stuff?

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