What a difference a week makes. On Friday July 11th, 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin jetted off to the Governor's Conference in Philadelphia at the height of her power, with a persistent 85 percent approval, and touted as a possible wild-card vice-presidential selection for Republican candidate John McCain.
On Friday July 18th, 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is being criticized statewide, her approval rating is sinking fast, her VP aspirations are in ashes, and her very administration itself may be in danger.
Two new stories from the Anchorage Daily News drive this home. The first one is entitled "Monegan says he was pressured to fire trooper", and the second one is entitled "Lawmakers may look into Monegan's dismissal". The sequence of events in summarized in this previous post.
Walt Monegan. Today (July 18th), Monegan uncovered the smoking gun. He told the media that the governor's husband Todd Palin, along with Director of Boards and Commissions Frank Bailey and Commissioner of Administration Annette Krietzer applied persistent and heavy pressure upon him to fire Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, who had been the subject of numerous complaints filed by Sarah Palin before she became governor. Blogger Andrew Halcro, who's been the lead dog on this case, saw the report on the KTUU 6:00 P.M. News Hour and posted the information HERE.
The problem is that Governor Palin gave a completely different statement to the world just two days ago. The full statement is posted on ADN's Alaska Politics blog. Here's the applicable excerpt:
"To allege that I, or any member of my family, requested, received or released confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper, or directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), is, quite simply, outrageous", according to the statement.
According to KTUU Channel 2, Todd Palin owned up to meeting with Monegan just one time, while Kreitzer cannot remember meeting with Monegan and Bailey flat denies ever meeting with him. But Monegan claims that the individuals contacted him on numerous occasions, and that he had to finally warn him off by stating that such meetings were inappropriate. KTUU 10 P.M. news video embedded below:
This leads to two questions. First, why the variance between the stories offered by the Palinistas and Walt Monegan, and second, was any of this interference run by the Palinistas done with the knowledge of Governor Palin herself, or not? KFQD's conservative radio host Dan Fagan earlier raised this question, acknowledging the possibility that all these Palinistas suddenly decided to "act" on behalf of Sarah Palin without letting her know or involving her. The remarks by Governor Palin herself on the latest KTUU report imply that she had knowledge.
Andrew Halcro seems to be pessimistic about the outcome; he opines that it could get ugly real fast. I'm a bit more optimistic; I have a difficult time thinking that Sarah Palin is actually a crook. I believe she just has incredibly flawed judgement on how to operate in a major-league political environment. You don't sic your spouse on your state commissioners just because you have a personal issue with a person. Todd Palin is not an official within the Palin Administration, and he shouldn't be running any quasi-official interference for the governor. If the governor honestly thinks it's O.K. to use her spouse that way, she's incredibly naive. Now we have state lawmakers calling for an independent investigation.
There will undoubtedly be more revelations, an investigation, and perhaps official censure. But I don't believe Sarah Palin will be impeached. But she'll be wounded, just like Frank Murkowski was during his last two years in office.