Tuesday, September 16, 2008
McCain-Palin Campaign Dumps All Over Walt Monegan, Describing Him As Showing "Outright Insubordination" And Having A "Rogue Mentality"
On July 11th, when former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was fired, the Palin Administration explained that the Governor wanted to take DPS in a "new direction" with "new energy". [Ed. Note: Deepak Chopra, the international marketer of Hindu granny wisdom, would be proud of you, Guv!]
On August 13th, the Governor changed her tune, now asserting that she fired Monegan because he failed to meet recruitment goals for troopers and police departments, he did not do enough to combat alcoholism in rural Alaska, and he was not a team player on budget issues.
And on Monday September 15th, 2008, the story changed a THIRD time. The lawyer for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin filed papers with the state's Personnel Board which indicate that former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan lost his job because he resisted Gov. Sarah Palin's budget policies and showed "outright insubordination". They purport to show that Monegan engaged in "an escalating pattern of insubordination on budget and other key policy issues". Along with the papers were a slew of e-mails from the governor's office purporting to show Monegan's "rogue mentality" as a member of Palin's Cabinet. Full story published in the Anchorage Daily News and on KTUU Channel 2 (which includes two separate videos).
In addition, spokesmen for the McCain-Palin Republican national ticket held an Anchorage press conference touting the "important new information" they said cleared Palin of misconduct in what has come to be known as Troopergate. Ed O'Callaghan, one of the campaign spokesmen, also said that the governor is "unlikely to cooperate" with the investigation. This, of course, is 180 degrees different than the attitude expressed by Governor Palin before she became John McCain's running mate. Before the selection, Palin expressed a willingness to cooperate with the investigation. The papers filed on Monday are another attempt to snuff allegations she sacked Monegan because he refused to fire a state trooper involved in an ugly divorce with the governor's sister.
However, it's a post on the ADN's Alaska Politics blog which reveals the specific event triggering Monegan's firing. The "last straw" was a planned July visit to Washington, D.C. by Monegan to seek federal money for a multimillion dollar scheme for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases, a scheme that Governor Palin hadn't approved. In a July 7th e-mail, John Katz, the governor's special counsel, noted two problems with the trip; first, the governor hadn't agreed the money should be sought, and second, the request "is out of sequence with our other appropriations requests and could put a strain on the evolving relationship between the Governor and Sen. Stevens." Monegan was fired four days later on July 11th, although it is important to reminder readers at this point that Monegan was offered a substitute job as Alcoholic Beverage Control Board director, an offer he turned down.
The McCain campaign also attacked the investigation itself, citing what it calls "a web of connections to the Barack Obama campaign." Palin's attorney has considered the investigation biased all along. One of the reasons was an inopportune remark by Democratic State Senator Hollis French, who promised an October 10th wrapup, but who also implied that there might be an "October Surprise". In addition, there's been a loosely organized campaign by hard-left progressives (as opposed to mainstream liberals) to defame and smear Palin on false charges of racism and sexism; these tactics could backfire and drive more people into the McCain-Palin camp.
Now I begin to better understand why blogger Andrew Halcro was so frigging obsessed with these e-mails. You can read Halcro's assessment of this latest development HERE.
Walt Monegan reacted. Reached Monday at his Chugiak home, Monegan said he was dismayed at the attack on his record as Palin's public safety commissioner. "In my mind, I've always been a team player," he said. Monegan also said that the papers the governor's lawyer filed are selective and he's provided other documentation to the legislative investigator, Steve Branchflower, that will provide a more balanced portrayal of his time as commissioner.
As for why he was fired, Monegan said he still believes it was his failure to fire Trooper Mike Wooten. "Sadly, yes, I do," he said, citing a July 17th, 2007 e-mail as the sort of tacit pressure he said he received repeatedly from Palin and her husband. The July 17th e-mail in question was sent by Palin to Monegan, in which she complains that a proposal to ban gun sales to people who make death threats wouldn't stop her former brother-in-law, Wooten, from carrying a gun. Monegan was also interviewed at greater length by ABC News Blotter. Monegan also defends himself on MSNBC, as recorded in this five-minute YouTube video:
Index to all previous Anchorage Daily News stories on Troopergate HERE.
Commentary: What I can't understand is how this governor still has an approval rating at least in the '70s. This controversy has gone on for over two months now. Governor Palin has changed the story three different times. She has alternately pledged full cooperation, then started a parallel inquiry within the Personnel Division, then turned it off, and now apparently will not cooperate. And let's not forget about the Charles Kopp fiasco. Can we handle someone so indecisive a heartbeat away from the Presidency? It seems like she listens to the person who talked to her last.
I don't expect perfection, but this is just too much imperfection to suit me.