Despite the McCain camp’s best efforts at shutting down the Troopergate scandal — which alleges that Governor Sarah Palin abused the power of her office to have her sister’s ex-husband fired from the Alaska State Police — the show is going on. Now, "First Dude" Todd Palin has decided to fall on his sword and take the blame for the brouhaha. According to CBS News:
Palin’s husband and top aides said in affidavits provided to The
Associated Press that the governor remained in the dark while Todd
Palin repeatedly asked top state officials to help get his former
brother-in-law kicked off the state police force.
Todd Palin said he never pressured anyone — including his wife. In
fact, he says that after talking about the matter with her repeatedly,
she finally told him to "drop it."
It’s clear they think that this gives Palin a certain degree of cover. To me, it signals a couple of possibilities. One, they’re trying to put some distance between Sarah Palin and the issue because she grossly abused the power of her office to settle a personal grudge. Two, Alaska is being secretly run by a snowmobile racer while his wife looks pretty for the voters. Either way, it doesn’t look good for the Palins.
As expected form a national GOP candidate, Caribou Barbie decided that she didn’t want the Alaska Legislature conducting their own investigation, despite promising to cooperate previously. (I believe the actual quote was "hold me accountable.") She did, however, agree to a State Personnel Board investigation comprised of people she CAN fire. Lo and behold, the day before the results of the investigation were to be announced, that same probe found that Sarah Palin should be exonerated from any charges of wrongdoing. I don’t know about you, but I feel better now that she’s essentially cleared herself. Guess there’s no need to pay attention to that pesky actual investigation.
In an effort to reframe the story as a scandal about how trooper Mike Wooten used a low-charge to zap his stepson, Palin has, since Tuesday, begun referring to the investigation as "Tasergate." Wooten probably wouldn’t win any father of the year awards, but his ex-wife apparently had no problem with the alleged behavior until she got herself lawyered up for a divorce, some 9 months later. As far as we know, Sarah Palin is the only person calling it "Tasergate" thus far, but nice try! She gets points for effort.
Letting Todd take all the heat for this one is an interesting strategy. I’m not sure it’ll do her much good though. If Todd was calling the shots and hiring and firing state employees without the actual Governor’s knowledge, it doesn’t speak well of The Moosiah’s "executive experience." The other facepalm that we’re seeing is this patently sham "state personnel board" releasing their "findings" the day before the real investigation is scheduled to serve up their report.
What will the afternoon bring us? A nice juicy political scandal that could ultimately bring the plummeting McCain/Palin ticket to rest on the sea floor, or a boring report that proves this really is a non-story and we should really find something better to do with our time? Stay tuned!