OK, Pull the Plug on Palin

Hard to see how the Palin candidacy can survive the continuing drip-drip-drip of new revelations — and the press is only getting warmed up. The Alaska Independence Party is not exactly a “fringe” group — its standard-bearer was elected governor in 1990. But the party’s motto of “Alaska First — Alaska Always” stands in stark opposition to McCain’s “Country First.” This affiliation alone would be no big deal to spin away — she left the party years ago, had common ground on other issues but never supported secession, etc. But there is undoubtedly more to come.

I’ve tried all weekend to compartmentalize my feeling about the Palin selection: It was a bad choice, but maybe it will actually help the ticket, or at least not hurt it. But both compartments are flooding, and I’m worried that the ship is going down.

If she withdraws from the ticket promptly, maybe McCain can survive this by pointing out that Obama also has made bad choices in his associates, in relationships that have lasted for years (Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers). But this whole episode reflects badly on McCain’s judgment.

We need a new way of selecting a Vice President.

4 thoughts on “OK, Pull the Plug on Palin

  1. Hello, your brother-in-law here, the secular right-wing social conservative. From what I’ve seen on my favorite right-wing discussion forum (they do allow liberals/leftists, so it’s not an echo box), Palin has quite a bit of support, and almost all are enthusiastic about her. The social conservatives, Christian-based or not, say that McCain has redeemed himself. And those are the ones McCain needs to pick up, not the confirmed Obama voters. After all, when Obama picked Biden, the same people on the same forum said a collective “YES!” as Obama had picked someone who compensated for his inexperience, thus acknowledging his inexperience. That Biden is known for putting his foot in his mouth was seen as a bonus.

    The biggest thing I’ve seen volunteer armchair (office chair?) pundits on the left run up the flag pole is something they’re calling “Troopergate”. Their version is that Palin fired a commissioner for not firing an ex-brother-in-law who is in a custody battle with her sister and happens to be an Alaska State Trooper. The full version?

    From Wikipedia (I know, not the best source):

    On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Walter Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he subsequently turned down. Monegan alleged shortly after his dismissal that it may have been partly due to his reluctance to fire an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin’s sister, Molly McCann. In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was briefly suspended for ten days for threatening to kill McCann’s (and Palin’s) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson (at the stepson’s request), and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days. Palin asserted that her dismissal of Monegan was unrelated to the fact that he had not fired Wooten, and asserts that Monegan was instead dismissed for not adequately filling state trooper vacancies, and because he “did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues.” Palin acknowledged that a member of her administration, Frank Bailey, did contact the Department of Public Safety regarding Wooten, but both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan. Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions. Commissioner Monegan received no severance pay, though at the same time another dismissed Commissioner, Charles Kopp (who served only 11 days) received $10,000. In response to Palin’s statement that she had nothing to hide, in August 2008 the Alaska Legislature hired Steve Branchflower to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal, though lawmakers acknowledge that “Monegan and other commissioners serve at will, meaning they can be fired by Palin at any time.” The investigation is being overseen by Democratic State Senator Hollis French, who says that the Palin administration has been cooperating and thus subpoenas are unnecessary. The Palin administration itself was the first to release an audiotape of Bailey making inquiries about the status of the Wooten investigation.

    A more in-depth article can be found here:


    My concern over the Palin pick isn’t her inexperience (she has executive experience in a race dominated by senators, and she’s made the best of her time while Obama clearly squandered his), or her association with the Alaska Independence Party (as you said, she never supported secession, and it’s not like she had ties to the Klan or a domestic terrorist), but the same concern I had when Jindal was mentioned: That her work in her own state isn’t done yet.

    As we saw during Gustav, Louisiana is much better off with Jindal’s leadership. Perhaps Alaska will suffer if Palin makes it to the White House.

    Other than that, I’m happy with McCain’s choice. Palin is a populist, a fiscal and social conservative, a budget-balancer, and anti-corruption. She could shake up both the Democrat AND Republican parties. That she causes heads to explode on the far-left is a bonus.

    As for Romney, he said he didn’t want the offer, and made it clear to McCain’s team before they had a chance to ask him. I liked him too, but he wasn’t my top pick. Neither was McCain. And no, it wasn’t Thompson. Thomas Sowell would’ve been great, but the man is too smart to take the job.

  2. Hey Chris — we’re not going to agree on the social issues. I think she’s a bad choice for a lot of reasons, the only remaining issue is whether she helps the ticket with conservatives (who would not vote for Obama anyway) more than she hurts the ticket with moderates and fence-sitters. I doubt it.

    The Troopergate thing is bogus, he’s a political appointee, she clearly has an absolute right to fire him for any reason, or for no reason.

  3. Hey Kirk, I know we’re not going to agree on social issues. I was simply opening my first post by outlining my socio-political background, in case any of your other readers happened to read the comments section.

    I think Palin will probably help the ticket with votes McCain needed to recover. McCain’s campaign raised an additional $10 million after her announcement, so that’s probably a good indication. Also, keep in mind that Mary Cheney didn’t keep social conservatives from supporting the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2000 or 2004.

    I don’t expect Palin’s political critics to drop Troopergate. After all, Bush had the same rights with federal judges, and look how far that issue has been taken.

    By the way, you’ve got a great blog here, I’m enjoying it. Keep up the good work.

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