Today in the Washington Post Opinions section Colbert King considers the REAL possibility of a Vice President Sarah Palin. Given what we know of Gov. Palin’s governing style in Alaska, imagine what she and her husband Todd Palin could do with access to the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon at her (and his!) beck and call?
It’s time to start taking Sarah Palin seriously.
Though the latest polls show the Obama-Biden ticket ahead, the Alaska governor is still uncomfortably close to becoming vice president of the United States. The thought should concentrate the mind of every American who remembers the abuse of executive power by the administration of Richard Nixon. Just look at what Palin has done, in a short time, with the authority delegated to her by Alaskans.
The “Troopergate” report, conducted by an independent investigator and released Friday by a bipartisan legislative committee, tells the tale. It documents the campaign that Palin and her husband Todd waged to get her former brother-in-law fired from the Alaska state troopers.
Palin did, indeed, have the authority to dismiss the state’s public safety commissioner, the report says. But she violated a state law, the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, which prohibits state officials from taking actions that benefit personal interest. According to the report: Palin abused her power as governor when she “knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired.”
I shudder to think of the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon at her beck and call.
The role played by Todd in carrying out his wife’s vendetta was highly unusual. He had no official duties in government. He acknowledged, however, that he made numerous calls to state officials to press his case against the governor’s ex-brother-in-law.
It’s been well reported that Todd Palin’s involvement in his wife’s official business unsettled some Alaskans. He has been known to sit in on the governor’s meetings, use her office for his own meetings and intervene in state business using his status as “First Gentleman.” Clearly, he’s a man with a lot of time on his hands.
What if he assumed the same role in Washington? Imagine Todd in a town that has no use for snow machines (which he loves to ride) or work for commercial fishermen (of which he is one, during the summer months). What would he do? Would he follow the vice president to her White House office? Join her meetings in the Situation Room? Sit in on her daily national security briefings?
Where does Todd Palin stand on America anyway? Neither he nor Sarah Palin ever explained his seven-year membership in the Alaska Independence Party, a group that seeks a vote on secession from America. “I’m an Alaskan, not an American” was the slogan of the party’s founder, Joe Vogler, who also said “I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions” and “I won’t be buried under their damned flag.” What made Todd Palin hitch his wagon to that anti-American train when Alaska offered the Democratic and Republican parties?
Troopergate shows the Palins to be small-bore people unable to distinguish selfish personal interests from official responsibilities. Imagine the power of the U.S. government at their disposal.
The prospect of Vice President Sarah Palin is no laughing matter.