Sarah has done me a big personal favor by smoking out David Brooks et al., “conservative” mainstreamers who can’t stand her. Why a favor? Because it’s given me a whole new reason for dismantling my respect for those hifalutin guys who have been elevated.
She has been the bird dog who flushed the pheasants — my man Krauthammer among them! — so as to relieve us peasants of our misplaced sense of allegiance, though I’m still a K-hammer fan, using the even-Homer-nods system.
Meanwhile, she’s on the pan in Alaska, though not yet baked, it appears. No crime but abuse of governor’s power is alleged by allegedly non-partisan commission. Why am I skeptical? Partly because I’m partisan and loathe to believe bad things about my candidate, but moreso because Chi Trib and Sun-Times both blasted it out yesterday as front-page items, which I knew they would when I saw the news on the ‘Net the night before.
From one of the lawyers at Powerline Blog:
The report does not convincingly show that the Palins were driven by the desire to obtain a personal benefit, as opposed to the desire to rid the police force of a bad apple about whom they had personal knowledge. However, Todd Palin’s persistence suggests that, at a minimum, there probably was a personal agenda in the mix.
In the end, it seems to me that Gov. Palin did not exercise particularly good judgment in this matter. But the case that she abused her power by violating the ethics statute and/or that she fired the public safety commissioner because he wouldn’t act against Wooten has not been made.
Nonetheless, the weakly reasoned “Troopergate” report may well represent another nail in the McCain-Palin coffin.
Calm reason here? Powerline people are very sharp and have had doubts about Sarah P. from the start. See also Wall Street J:
A long-awaited Alaska legislative report concluded that . . . Gov. Sarah Palin, abused her authority and broke state ethics law by trying to remove her former brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.
But the report also concluded that the Republican governor did not unlawfully fire her public-safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who said he had been pressured to oust the trooper, Mike Wooten. The report said other factors were involved in Mr. Monegan’s controversial dismissal.
New Criterion editor Roger Kimball goes further:
Surgeon General’s Warning: do not drive or attempt to operate machinery while contemplating the just-published 260-odd-page report orchestrated by Hollis French, Alaska legislator and supporter of Barack Obama. French had originally intended to release it October 31, for maximum effect on the campaign. Other legislators prevented that, but the report came out yesterday and guess what? It’s like Oakland according to Gertrude Stein, i.e., there’s no there there, Hollis, no smoking gun, no damning evidence, no nothing except 1) evidence of wasting the taxpayers’ money and 2) engaging in a clumsy smear campaign against Sarah. (Don’t you love the way Team Obama labels every criticism of The Dear One a “smear”: Google “Obama” and “smears”: 1,280,000 items in .13 seconds.)
French hired Steve Branchflower to do the investigating. It’s his report. Kimball cites another commentator:
The Branchflower Report is a series of guess and insupportable conclusions drawn by exactly one guy, and it hasn’t been approved or adopted or endorsed by so much as a single sub-committee of the Alaska Legislature, much less any kind of commission, court, jury, or other proper adjudicatory body.
It’s an “episode of political theater that would make Josef Stalin blush,” says this commentator, one Bill Dyer, “ethics violation alleged by partisan hacks,” says another, one Jules Crittenden.
I find these people on the ‘Net, of course, though I’ve been reading Kimball at least since his landmark study of higher-ed corruption, Tenured Radicals: How Politics has Corrupted our Higher Education. Like Kimball they are thoughtful and literate.
Then we have Chi Trib and Sun-Times, who are in the narrative here, part of it as always. NY Times and to lesser extent Wash Post and their imitators coast to coast have been alerting us to Palin problems for some time now, breathlessly awaiting “troopergate” news, as if to relive the days when Bill Clinton used his state troopers as procurers.
Breathlessly they waited, as they did for news dug up about Rep. Barney Frank’s sleeping figuratively and otherwise with Fannie Mae, your friendly government-created mortgage company, the enemy of all that’s fiscally sound, government-created and government-unregulated? Oh no, much more breathlessly than that.