Josh Marshall defends his reporting on Gov. Sarah Palin's alleged abuse of power involving her ex-brother in law, state trooper Mike Wooten:

I've noticed some people who should know better claiming that bringing up Gov. Palin's troopergate scandal is tantamount to making a victim of or defending her slimeball ex-brother-in-law who allegedly [BTD - makes you wonder how much Marshall knows about this story as Wooten admits to the tasering] once used a taser on his stepson. That's awfully foolish. So I thought I'd put together a post explaining why.

The person in question is state trooper Mike Wooten -- Palin's ex-brother-in-law who's embroiled in a bitter custody and divorce battle with Palin's sister. . . . Most people who are familiar with the ugliness that often spills out of custody and divorce cases know to take accusations arising out of the course of them with a grain of salt unless you know a lot about the people involved.

(Emphasis supplied.) More . . .

Would that Marshall did in fact take ALL of the accusations spilling out with a grain of salt. With regard to Palin herself, he is not. But let's leave that aside. Let's face it, Marshall's interest, and everybody's for that matter, is almost entirely based on the political implications of this story. And here is what Marshall is missing - the story is likely to have little political implications for Sarah Palin. And if there are any, they are likely to be positive.

Marshall writes:

The Palin family had a feud with Wooten prior to her becoming governor. They put together a list of 14 accusations which they took to the state police to investigate -- a list that ranged from the quite serious to the truly absurd. The state police did an investigation, decided that 5 of the charges had some merit and suspended Wooten for ten days -- a suspension later reduced to five days.

What were those five charges? The Anchorage Daily News tells us, because Marshall decided not to in his piece:

The accusations are detailed in two thick binders, the result of a nearly yearlong investigation by troopers. . . . Wooten recently gave his union permission to release the entire investigative file, all 482 pages and hours of recorded interviews. "The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession," Col. Julia Grimes, then head of Alaska State Troopers, wrote in March 1, 2006 . . .

. . .Troopers . . . investigated 13 issues and found four in which Wooten violated policy or broke the law or both:

Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.

He illegally shot a moose.

He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.

He told others his father-in-law would "eat a f'ing lead bullet" if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.

(Emphasis supplied.) Excuse me Josh Marshall, but POLITICALLY, the case is closed right now. Wooten used a TASER on his stepson! Wooten threatened to KILL his father in law (Sarah Palin's father) if he helped Wooten's ex-wife (Sarah Palin's sister) get an attorney for their divorce. Perhaps under Alaska state trooper guidelines, these are not firing offenses, but in the world of normal people, it is. Thus, when Sarah Palin is accused of taking action to get him fired, then most people are going to say, good for her.

So what are we left with? The story of the firing of Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The Anchorage paper reports:

Wooten's history spilled into public view after the July 11 firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The former commissioner has said he doesn't know why Palin wanted him out but wonders if Wooten's situation was part of it. He has said that members of Palin's administration, and the governor's husband, talked with him about the accusations against Wooten, which he considered improper. "Never put pressure on Walt Monegan to fire -- hire or fire -- anybody," Palin responded.

Did Palin fire Monegan for not firing Wooten? Monegan says he does not know. Palin denies it. But let's suppose it was a motivation, indeed the deciding factor - did Palin break any laws in doing so? I believe the answer is no, as Moneghan serves as a political appointee and at the pleasure of the Governor. Should she have fired him? Well, you can debate that, I do not know enough about the guy.

But I do know this, at the bottom, even the most damning accusation is, frankly, damn weak at best - it requires standing up for a state trooper who, by all lights, deserved to be fired. Whatever Palin's motivation, it seems to me foolish to believe that Palin can be politically damaged by this story. Josh Marshall should know better.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

< The Obama Bio Video | GOP Platform: No Abortions, No Exceptions >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Apparently there will be no "there" (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:15:21 AM EST
    there, but I guess they had to try...Unfortunately dems are going nutz and running scared at the threat of all things Palin, which is just ridiculous.

    Yeh, those pumping this story (5.00 / 9) (#11)
    by Cream City on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:30:26 AM EST
    are going to make it necessary for NOW to have to defend Palin next.

    Is that really where they want this to go?


    By the time... (5.00 / 6) (#21)
    by Far Leftie on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:43:12 AM EST
    By the time this is over, Palin is going to be a superhero to women if the Dems don't back off.

    I am a little afraid of that. (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Maria Garcia on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:45:57 AM EST
    Too bad Josh Marshall isn't - (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by blcc on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:56:55 AM EST
    I mean, is defending domestic violence and child abuse REALLY the hill he wants to die on?!

    Talk about tone deaf.  She'll be a cross between "Working Girl" and "Dirty Harry" if he keeps that up.

    Don't think the GOP isn't going all-in on just that icon, btw.


    No snark intended (none / 0) (#103)
    by Pol C on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:03:48 PM EST
    ..but I don't think people are too big on alcoholic cops or indiscriminate moose killers, either.

    This guy Tasered a ten year old?!? I'd be raising hell over his not being fired, too.

    Only in the world of Whoever Kidnapped Josh Marshall, not to mention Rachel Maddow, would a cop like this be considered worthy of staying on the public payroll.

    The major liberal spokespeople have lost their minds.


    Troopergate plays into the narrative (none / 0) (#53)
    by myiq2xu on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:26:24 PM EST
    that Republicans will protect people and Democrats won't.

    It's a story best left alone.


    She already is. n/t (none / 0) (#105)
    by Cal on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:28:43 PM EST
    Story makes me like her better not worse (5.00 / 14) (#3)
    by davnee on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:21:50 AM EST
    Dems need to calm down and stop ripping the woman for all the wrong reasons.  Stick to issues.  Plenty of meat there.  No need to confirm that progressive men hate (and are scared of) women just as much as conservative men.

    A more interesting question (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:23:25 AM EST
    Why only a suspension? Tasering a step son, even at his own request to find out what it was like  (as apparently the case here) is child abuse. Why wasn't the brother-in-law prosecuted?

    It would have made more sense to me if Palin had used her position to secure a prosecution.  

    Hmm (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:28:24 AM EST
    Sounds like you do not agree with Marshall on this story then.

    I am between the both of you (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:45:59 AM EST
    I think coupled with the firing of the chief of police and head librarian for supporting her political opponents it smacks of Bush's ideas of a chief executive.

    It is easy to side with Palin with the brother-in-law with these facts (odd as they are) but I am less than thrilled with an executive who uses their power to be judge, jury and executioner in a case where they were personally involved. I agree the GOP will scream Wooten was a child abuser and no-one will consider all of the implications.

    Throw in her less than stellar replacement of Moneghan (who had to resign after 2 weeks - with 10k severance) and this does not in my opinion speak well of her judgment.


    I have no idea about the other firings (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:59:41 AM EST
    but those sound more promising than THIS one.

    I think the Alaska legislature investigating (none / 0) (#40)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:07:58 PM EST
    is the right thing to do, but politically it is a non-starter under these facts.

    I figured at the very least (none / 0) (#17)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:35:45 AM EST
    he'd be fired. But even with the 10 day suspension, the union dickered it down to 5.

    Child and Family Services (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:51:42 AM EST
    should definitely have investigated, and if the tasering is true, he should have been prosecuted for child abuse and assault. I don't see how the eleven year old's alleged consent gives him any legal cover.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#32)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:56:49 AM EST
    But (none / 0) (#39)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:01:53 PM EST
    I don't see how that can be blamed on Governor Palin. I doubt she have interfered in such an investigation on the trooper's behalf. Sounds like at the very least a lapse on the part of his supervisor[s], at worst a coverup, and isn't that the guy she's accused of firing?

    I think what happend... (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:09:19 PM EST
    is that they went through the process and made the complaints...some of them were investigated--sorta--and then the officer involved got a slap on the wrist punishment.

    Like many families who have abusive family members that happen to be cops, they expected the process to work...and ran smack into the Blue Wall.


    Not on his behalf (none / 0) (#44)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:12:39 PM EST
    more like inquiring of the prosecutor whose jurisdiction this occurred in, why aren't you prosecuting?

    If you are going to abuse your office to help out your family, I would think this would have been a better and more understandable route. Demanding his job is petty in comparison.

    My conclusion is that her judgment is not very good. She involved her personal affairs in her public office and she did it in a petty way. If he had been prosecuted, the firing would have taken care of itself. What were her priorities?


    We don't (none / 0) (#50)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:22:45 PM EST
    know if she enquired with the DA or CPS or not, nor if she tried other procedural remedies. The trooper got only a five day suspension for admitting to tasering a child. To me, that says their system had a serious problem of some kind.

    That's my problem with leaping into judgment before the facts have been established. If you try an attack that's not grounded in reality, you look really really bad if the other side gets proven out.


    Wouldn't that be the first defense? (none / 0) (#52)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:25:24 PM EST
    Your defense doesn't help her image as (none / 0) (#55)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:28:38 PM EST
    take charge governor. Couldn't get a prosecutor to go after a tasering child abuser?  Most prosecutors would salivate.

    I'm not trying (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:33:37 PM EST
    to help her image, 'cause I don't want her elected as VP. I'm saying that attacking her on this story without a thorough review of the facts first is damaging to Democrats.

    My question about this story is why (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:55:47 AM EST
    she didn't use her political position to create a universal solution for all of the people of Alaska rather than just her family's issue with this one guy?

    Why not get a law passed saying that State Police using a taser in anything other than a professional police capacity - doing police business - will result in firing full stop?

    Elected officials and other government workers who use their professional position to solve personal problems make me nervous.  Of course I am a descendant of the south and I have views about using government power to address personal issues shaped by some pretty ugly stories.


    A good question (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:58:29 AM EST
    but not one likely to provide political fodder. Ergo, trying to make Wooten some type of victim, when, by all acounts, he should not be a cop.

    It does speak to Palin's judgment. (none / 0) (#48)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:20:25 PM EST
    I wouldn't make it the heart of my attack on her and I personally probably wouldn't bring it up to anyone in discussing Palin - but if someone raised it with me - that is the question I would pose and basically move on to other issues I have with her extreme policies and views.

    And I don't think a universal political remedy would have been hard for her to obtain quickly - making a law against using a taser on a kid for no official reason would be a no-brainer for any legislature - who would vote against that?


    I'd be really surprised if assault with (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:28:45 PM EST
    a dangerous weapon or force likely to cause serious bodily injury isn't already a crime in Alaska.

    Child abuse (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:38:47 PM EST
    is illegal nationwide under the "Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment  Act (CAPTA)(Jan. 1996 version), 42 U.S.C. 5101, et seq.. "

    Alaska's CPS says

    "CAPTA mandates  "minimum definitions" for child abuse and sexual abuse. Child abuse or neglect is any recent act or failure to act:

    • Resulting in imminent risk of serious harm, death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation
    • Of a child (usually a person under the age of 18, but a younger age may be specified in cases not involving sexual abuse)
    • By a parent or caretaker who is responsible for the child's welfare.

    And all law enforcement officers are mandated reporters.


    I really don't understand what (none / 0) (#63)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:38:17 PM EST
    went on - I too would assume that there is some sort of law that would apply - but it seems to me that a regulation at the very least in the police handbook of conduct wouldn't be hard to get people to agree to.  

    Because that stepping out (none / 0) (#38)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:00:55 PM EST
    and moving to do something bigger and better for the rest of Alaska's women takes time to process towards.

    When you're smack in the middle of it with your family, you aren't seeing the bigger picture related to everyone else.


    Your second paragraph speaks (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:11:49 PM EST
    to what I would call a lack of discipline and a poor temperment for a public servant.

    I really believe that unless the action taken serves all the people - rather than just the politician's family interests - there is a problem with that politician's basic understanding of what their job is.  Getting caught up in a personal emotional issue and starting to pull the levers of government to relieve that issue is undisciplined.


    Perhaps... (none / 0) (#46)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:19:30 PM EST
    but if my BIL tasered my nephew? It's entirely possible that they'd be sending my BIL to the hospital. :-)

    And I've got plenty of mental discipline and am generally even keeled patience wise.

    That she didn't process at lightning speed to see the big picture is not unusual in people unfamiliar with domestic abuse situations.


    Well - their dispute had been (none / 0) (#56)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:28:41 PM EST
    going on for some while before she got into office.  I have some experience with issues of abuse and I understand the emotions that are involved so I'm not trying to downplay the seriousness of the problem at all.  What I am saying though is that I prefer candidates whose instinct is to look at the greater good if they are bringing their personal challenges into their thinking in their professional capacity.  Further, it is such a serious issue and abuse is such a horrible problem that any politician who has seen its effects first hand should be motivated to solve the problems for all of the sisters, mothers, kids etc. - not just her own sister's problem and no one else's.  I think that is a fair expectation to have of a public servant who you entrust with great power.

    yeah... (none / 0) (#84)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:18:04 PM EST
    but once you've gotten out of the abuse situation, it takes a while to process the whole of what you and your family have just been through (including the whitewash the state troopers did with their "investigation"...come on...in MoCo, that guy would've been in jail) and move to that larger frame place.

    Given her length of time in office, for all we know, she could be headed in that direction...there's no way of knowing.


    The lack of an independent prosecution (none / 0) (#28)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:48:54 AM EST
    for child abuse  doesn't interest you? You only want to punish Wooten by taking his job?



    nope... (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:57:06 AM EST
    didn't say that.

    Look...I just found out yesterday that my aunt has gone through 18 years worth of verbal and psychological abuse...it only ended last year because she left after her youngest'd graduated and went to college.

    Me? I have many images in my head of what I'd like to see the husband go through. None of them are legal.

    As I said..."at the very least..." Frankly, I'd like to see him in jail for a very loooooong time.


    My understanding (none / 0) (#49)
    by Pianobuff on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:21:43 PM EST
    is that this all took place (tasering, et al) something like two years before she was elected Governor.  It was old news by the time she took office.

    Mine too (none / 0) (#75)
    by MichaelGale on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:38:20 PM EST
    I have been looking for it, think it was in an Alaskan paper.

    Look (none / 0) (#90)
    by Pianobuff on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:27:43 PM EST
    here for links to documents.

    Warning: This site is defending Palin so feel free to ignore the commentary.  Links to emails and other docs are there, though.


    it's in link btd gave us up top (none / 0) (#110)
    by skippybkroo on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 06:11:36 PM EST
    anchorage daily news 7/27/08

    on april 27, 2005, trooper sgt. ron wall began the internal investigation, interviewing and re-interviewing more than 15 people over a period of months


    one day -- maybe a year or two before the investigation -- wooten showed his stepson his taser. he had just been to taser instructor school. wooten told sgt. wall that the boy was fascinated and pleaded to be tased.

    "so we went in our living room and i had him get down on his knees so he wouldn't fall. and i taped the probes to him and turned the taser on for like a second, turned it off. he thought that was the greatest thing in the world, wanted to do it again," wooten told the investigator. the boy flinched but nothing more, he said. the boy was about 11 at the time.

    in his interview with troopers, the stepson said it hurt for about a second, according to wall's report. the boy said he wanted to be tased to show his cousin, palin's daughter bristol, that he wasn't a mama's boy. the probe left a welt on his arm, he said. his mother was upstairs yelling at them not to do it, the boy said.

    as bristol remembered it, the jolt knocked the boy backward, the trooper report says. she said she was afraid.

    the probes are attached by thin wires to the taser cartridge. in the field, an officer fires the probes into a suspect's skin or clothing and the suspect receives a jolt of electricity for five seconds, said steve tuttle, a spokesman for taser international, which makes the devices. they are only incapacitated during that time. in demos, the probes might be taped to a person so that they don't accidentally strike an eye or injure the volunteer, he said. if the taser is fired for just a second, it would feel like your funny bone was hit but the quick jolt wouldn't knock you over, tuttle said.

    the kid wanted to experience it, his step-dad, a cop, used the lowest setting for a second to accomodate the kid.

    not good judgement to be sure, but not child abuse worthy of firing after the man was already officially disciplined for it.

    btd conveniently overlooks marshall's initial premise...that wooten is very probably a scumbag, but the question is, did palin abuse her power as gov. by firing monegan after he refused to fire wooten at the insistence of palin, palin's husband and palin's staff.


    On the Sunday shows ... (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:23:54 AM EST
    the pundits seemed to be working up to a pretty big crush on Palin.  They even spent some time quoting her "colorful phrases."  And spoke of a bumpersticker seen in Alaska which reads:  "Coldest State.  Hottest Governor."

    No mention of the troopergate story.

    In addition, when McCain surrogates were asked about Palin's experience, they all used the opportunity to blast Obama's experience.

    So about as predicted.

    My6 favorite was (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:35:26 PM EST
    the bumpersticker in Alaska that said "Vegetarian:  old Indian word for bad hunter."

    Of, as Sweitzer sd. in an interview (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:22:00 PM EST
    recently:  where I come from, "gun control" is about how good your aim is.

    Did you see/hear his peech (none / 0) (#109)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 05:41:09 PM EST
    at the convention?

    Just great!  I hear he tossed away the approved verson and just winged it.



    Here's the link to (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 06:13:18 PM EST
    the phone interview NPR did after the Montana Governor's speech.  Pretty funny.



    as a former victim of abuse from an ex (5.00 / 7) (#6)
    by athyrio on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:24:31 AM EST
    I applaud her efforts to get this slimeball off the state trooper employment rolls...Noone with that personality should be allowed any law enforcement powers...Good for Sarah!!!

    Couldn't somebody just (5.00 / 11) (#9)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:30:04 AM EST
    pay the damn ransom and get Josh returned to his family (and laptop)?

    HAH! 10 points, oldpro! (none / 0) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:31:39 AM EST
    I wonder what little green men ... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:32:40 AM EST
    who now control his mind want as ransom?

    Maybe we can just buy them off with something shiny.


    Republican misdeeds (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:30:09 AM EST
    I think we've all become so accustomed over the last 8 years in particular to seeing Republican authorities misusing power for both personal and political reasons that it's hard to shake loose from the assumption that that's, of course, what's going on with Palin here.

    Republicans are guilty until proven innocent.

    I'm certainly not free of looking at this kind of thing from a Republican with immediate suspicion.

    But the lies and distortions of the Clintons' record and statements and behavior by other Democrats over the course of this campaign have certainly opened my eyes to the extent and depth of the "truthiness" that really has always prevailed at TPM and etc. that I never particularly questioned when it was directed at a enemy we all had in common.

    Maybe it's because I'm reflexively giving the benefit of the doubt to a funny, feisty woman politician with an unusual political trajectory, but it seems to me that she's far enough outside the typical Republican mold to give even WKJM reason to hesitate for just a second about that automatic assumption of guilt by party label.

    This woman looks like a very different kind of Republican politician at least on the surface than we've been used to seeing, and that ought to give any thinking person a bit of pause.  Sadly, WKJM no longer actually thinks much, if he ever did.

    Sometimes the blogs are not our friends (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by Redshoes on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:31:41 AM EST
    I think many of the "liberal" blogs have done more damage to party solidarity and "progressive" credibility than the other side ever could.  Some bloggers remind you of pols, don't they?

    It's always the coverup (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by thinkingfella on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:35:23 AM EST
    while I agree that Mr. Marshall is glossing over some salient facts, there is still a relevant political point: Palin denied pursuing  the firing of Wooten, by either herself or her aides. She has been forced to backtrack on her aides, and if the claims of emails are true, she may soon be revealed to be a liar (and did she testify under oath to the legislature?)
    The trooper is a piece of work, and deserves to be fired. And regardless of the legalities, Palin'd pursuit of his firing may have been appropiate, even  justified. But lying under oath is a completely separate matter. It's a question of trust, and I think it could have political ramifications.

    She has not testified (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by americanincanada on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:46:29 AM EST
    She has been open and helpful with the investigation even launching one of her own as well.

    There have been no charges against her and I saw a quote last night where Moneghan (sp?) is now walking some of the accusations back. I will try and find the link.

    Dems would do well to leave this alone, it reaks of a trap.


    Everyone conveniently forgets to mention (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by jtaylorr on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:12:03 PM EST
    that the new commissioner she appointed resigned after two weeks later after it became public that he had been reprimanded for sexual harassment.

    She traded an abuse sheriff for a creep commissioner.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#20)
    by DemForever on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:42:36 AM EST
    that's where the vulnerability is.  If the guy is a creep, and she wanted him gone, that's one thing.  If she lied about what she did and why she did it, that is a problem.

    I doubt it (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:45:10 AM EST
    Again, you are stuck arguing in favor of Wooten not being fired.

    These facts don't make Palin look good (none / 0) (#45)
    by nalo on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:13:09 PM EST
    By not following legal channels, she managed to use the full power of the governer's office to get the brother-in-law suspended for 5 whole days.  Then she fire someone else instead?  If things had been played above board, the facts look like the brother-in-law should be fired?  Sounds more like the "bungling maverick" cop who plants evidence on Law & Order crossed with George W. Bush.  Mavericky goodness is nice if you can get results.  Not always easy to that in the real world and it makes you look foolish.

    They do not make her look bad either (none / 0) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:32:52 PM EST
    Sorry, if you don't get that "process" (none / 0) (#77)
    by frankly0 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:53:49 PM EST
    arguments don't get you anywhere in electoral politics, when the effect of that supposedly "corrupted" process achieves an end absolutely found just and right by all reasonable parties, then let's just say politics isn't your game.

    Voters don't care if the process is 100% respected in such cases. In fact, they want the process to be leaned on as hard as it can be in order to achieve the just end.


    Most (5.00 / 9) (#18)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:36:38 AM EST
    of the left-wing blogosphere has become exactly like the right-wing PR machine that took power in the 90s-- jump head first into smearing and innuendo, find out the facts later. What were we fighting for, again?

    Can't say that the "progressive" (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Iphie on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:58:45 AM EST
    blogoshpere failed to learn from Rove. Instead of learning to fight the tactics, they have learned from the abuser how to abuse.

    Yup (none / 0) (#68)
    by ineedalife on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:21:20 PM EST
    When kids are abused they often grow to be abusers. The baby bogosphere has grown up. We need to break this cycle of violence.

    Yup again (none / 0) (#92)
    by Lowtideppm on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:56:48 PM EST
     My observations, exactly.  The language, the cadence, the sentence structure, the reasoning...they got it all!
      I couldn't believe what happened at TPM  and other "progressive" blogs during the primary. Even so, I wanted to believe it was an aberration symptomatic of CDS.  Nah.  It's the new language of the left.  
      THIS is the language of Hope and Change and New Politics?  This is one part of why I couldn't become an Obama believer.  The words  and actions of his "followers" gave lie to that bogus narrative.  As a Faith-Based Initiate might say,
    "By their fruits you shall know them."
     Unbelievable.  Thank you Jeralyn for your commitment to objectivity.  

    But The One himself said, (none / 0) (#107)
    by ineedalife on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:41:57 PM EST
    "The Republicans are the Party of Ideas". What's a starry-eyed zealot to do but follow in the direction pointed out by the Messiah?

    Not a winner, (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:44:16 AM EST
    based on what we know. Best to leave it alone. Besides, the Republican legislature is reportedly conducting an investigation on this matter, to be released prior to the November election. While it might have involved an internecine battle earlier, the new stakes are likely to bring a clear-cut vindication. Democrats should not crawl up on that limb, with the Republicans holding a saw at the ready.

    I think on some level (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by frankly0 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:27:23 PM EST
    Josh Marshall realizes that his days of being regarded as a serious journalist are long behind him, and he need no longer operate in the plane of fact.

    He now spends his waking hours toiling to achieve the cachet of Keith Olbmermann: Histrionic Hack.

    "intellectual giant"?? (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by frankly0 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:35:26 PM EST
    Josh F'ing Marshall?

    Yeah -- an "intellectual giant" who couldn't get the simplest established facts straight on the very story he was encouraging outrage over.

    I mean, Marshall uses the word "allegedly", when it is established fact?

    I'm at my wits end with the "progressive" blogosphere. Jesus, maybe you should pass some KoolAid to us all. I'm willing to drink it, as long as you guarantee it will kill me like at Jonestown and not make me vote for Obama.

    Josh Marshall is a joke (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by shoephone on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:42:41 PM EST
    Whatever credibility he had was lost over the primary season.

    Well, not quite yet... (none / 0) (#97)
    by Oje on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 03:54:05 PM EST
    For Clinton Democrats, maybe. But, the formerly A-list bloggers will be roundly exposed as jokes if and when Barack Obama fails to win the presidency.

    They all hitched their fortunes to this candidate and these progressives will be seen as prescient if he wins. They will also be regarded as political players to contend with among the activist left (MoveOn joined the movement afterward). I wonder why they have gone over the bend on this VP selection? Hmmm...


    The compassion will be on her side (none / 0) (#2)
    by Saul on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:20:37 AM EST
    by the people and they will forgive her and maybe even give kudos to her if the trooper did do the allege misconduct.  She probably reacted first when she should have not but if she came to the rescue to someone then very few will care if she did not follow correct protocol.  She corrected an abuse but maybe not the correct way.  I say they will drop the investigation especially in the lime light she is now.

    it's foolish to go (none / 0) (#7)
    by ccpup on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:26:37 AM EST
    down this route with Palin.

    Seriously.  They'll throw one abusive, step-son tasering, I'll kill your father! ex-brother-in-law and the McCain camp will respond with a major fundraiser, buy a house with good friend of nearly 20 years and then call it a "boneheaded" decision, now convicted felon being sentenced a week or two before the Election.

    One is running for VP, the other is running for Pres.  One story is going to hurt more than the other in the end.

    This story needs to be old news already (none / 0) (#14)
    by zvs888 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:31:50 AM EST
    I agree that politically the story is dead; the reason her favorables are so high is because she's such a newcomer that people like her for that and are willing to give her a chance due to her whole "common woman with five children" story.

    Either way, I guess by the end of the RNC, no one will really be talking about it; the media is just overexposing as usual.

    PDS (none / 0) (#19)
    by mudlark on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:37:12 AM EST
    Looks like Josh's CDS may have metastasized to PDS.

    Enemies List (none / 0) (#26)
    by bbayer on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:46:13 AM EST
    Apparently the chief Wooten investigator found nothing proven. His finding was reversed (this was before she was elected, on the ground of "Do you want to call Sarah Palin a liar?"
    The report is that such findings have never previously been reversed.
    He received a short suspension on some of the fndings. The others were dismissed.

    When she became governor, she appointed the Anchorage Chief of Police, to be in charge of public safety (including the State Troopes) and then pressured him to fire Wooten. The appointee looked into the matter and decided that the allegations had been dealt with, and refused.  So she fired him, and has since denied that anyone had pressured him on Wooten.  That unraveled upon a light investigation --- facts are stubborn things --- and she says simply it was done without her knowledge.

    I don't know why she fired him.  She doesn't say. Just like she fired the police chief and the Library Director (now THERE's a political position) of Wasilla when she was Mayor.  Because she could.  

    Can you imagine what she will do to her enemies as VP and she starts talking to the IRS?  We're going back to the good old days when the White House had enemies lists.

    I don't know what she did --- although the Alaska Legislature thought enough of the problem to appropriate $100,000 to investigate.  But any democrat who doesn't think this has big potential, just isn't thinking.

    The findings were not reversed (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:56:38 AM EST
    Wooten never denied them.

    Your comment is funny to me because if insisting on the firing of a trooper like Wooten amounts to having an enemies list, then we need more enemies lists.


    TalkLeft has been so adamant against (none / 0) (#51)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:23:20 PM EST
    law enforcement even having, much less using, Tasers.  But not when it is an Alaska state trooper using the Taser on his 11 year old son.  Interesting.  

    Based on what I've read here today, IMO the law enforcement agency had discretion to terminate the employment of the trooper.  It says quite a bit to me that the union agreed to 5 days suspension.  

    I do not know if the union contract (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:32:24 PM EST
    made termination impossible but if it does, something is wrong with that contract.

    Law enforcement unions in CA are (none / 0) (#71)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:34:53 PM EST
    extremely powerful, as you probably know.  But even they could not take away the Commissioner's discretion to terminate a law enforcement officer's employment for cause.  

    Everyone who abuses power (none / 0) (#54)
    by Christy1947 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:27:41 PM EST
    claims that they did it only because the abusee was a bad guy who deserved it.

    In this case, whatever charges were brought against wooten were resolved, and the problem was that the Palins were not satisfied with that, and after the entire matter was completed in accordance with State police procedure, they kept going and kept going and used the Governor's Office to do it. Had they not used the Governor's office, there would have been no problem.

    And the complaints in the current round appeared not in the original cycle but some time later when a custody litigation over the couple's children began. Is there a new state police proceeding? Of course not. It is probably governed by union rules which require due process, rather than political intervention. He still IS an Alaska state trooper, after all this nonsense.

     While there might be reason to appeal the original decision which suspended him for five days, that was the procedure that determined the proper result. Not an after the fact Gubernatorial attack using the power fo the office. It's using the power of the office that is the problem here. And 'but he's a BAD guy' absolutely does not mitigate any of that.

    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:31:35 PM EST
    The problem is Wooten was still on the force. It really was not resolved adequately.

    You know the Iraq War was authorized by the Congress. But that does not mean we should stop holding people accountable for it.


    Double jeopardy? (none / 0) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:17:38 PM EST
    My gawd.

    I stopped there.


    Excuse me... (none / 0) (#106)
    by Pol C on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:30:26 PM EST
    ...but in many cases,the perp does not get let off just because one gang of idiots or look-the-other-way bunch says so. O.J. stil had to deal with his civil trial, and the Rodney King cops still had to face federal charges.

    The Wooten Firing's Not the Issue (none / 0) (#58)
    by seand on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:30:08 PM EST
    According to TPM, Wooten wasn't even fired. So if there's an issue here, it's the Monegan firing.

    And it seems to me Dems can make an issue of that without defending Wooten. For one thing, even if getting Wooten fired was a good cause, getting involved so directly in a single case makes Palin look petty and small. For another, as was pointed out upthread, lots of people are already sensitive to and concerned about issues surrounding the abuse of executive power. If this adds to the perception that the GOP, even the new, 'maverick' GOP, is the part of authoritarianism, I don't think it does them much good.

    Properly played- meaning, played by people like Josh, and not the campaign itself, and played carefully- this could be a good political issue.

    Investigative journalism (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:35:22 PM EST
    now covers leaving out and ignoring the parts of the report that don't support your case? Interesting.

    I don't understand (none / 0) (#78)
    by flyerhawk on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:57:20 PM EST
    your point.

    Wooten isn't the issue.

    The issue is whether Palin fired Moneghan for not firing Wooten and whether she has repeatedly lied about it.  

    For the narrative that Palin was simply doing whatever she could to get rid of a bad cop to work she would have needed to admit her actions upfront rather than unequivocally deny them at every step.  


    That's a political winner (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:16:54 PM EST
    Sheesh. Read your own comment to see how absurd it is to think there is any political mileage here.

    Like you or Josh would care (none / 0) (#104)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:06:25 PM EST
    if Palin was not chosen as VP.

    Give me a break.

    Go back to Josh World please.

    I have seen enough of you in my threads for today.

    Come back tomorrow to offer your Josh worship. I have had my fill today.

    Do not comment any further in my threads today.


    My point (none / 0) (#87)
    by eleanora on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:25:07 PM EST
    is that burking your facts to support your thesis detracts from the issue you described. Remember TPM's great reporting on the Social Security battle? JMM didn't leave out half the R arguments and evidence, he addressed them and knocked them back with facts.

    I don't think this issue is a winner for us in the first place, but dishonorable framing makes it potentially quite damaging.


    Nooo (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:16:10 PM EST
    There is no proper play.

    BTW, I did not ignore the Monegan issue.
    Do any of you actually read what is written or just make sh*t up as a rule?


    Here is another line of attack best avoided (none / 0) (#66)
    by Manuel on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:18:19 PM EST
    From mydd.  Obama and Biden have their own conflict of interest issues.  Why open the door to such arguments?  It can only distract from the issues.

    so BTD, (none / 0) (#79)
    by cpinva on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:59:39 PM EST
    you have no problem with the gov. of a state clearly interfering in a matter involving her family personally? whatever happened to the concept of "conflict of interest"?

    even if we accept (based on what i've read, her ex brother-in-law is a pri*ck) that all the allegations against trooper wooten are true, that she was related to him, and had a personal interest in the outcome of the investigation, should have been sufficient reason for her to keep her nose out of it, period.

    no ordinary citizen is in the same position as she, it just smacks of poor judgment on her part. do we really want someone who exhibits that low a level of judgment in the possible position of being in control of nuclear weapons?

    i don't.

    In this case? (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:21:55 PM EST
    Generally? Is this a conflict of interest argument (see Biden Joe and his lobbyist son) or an abuse of power argument?

    Grains of salt? (none / 0) (#102)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:02:46 PM EST
    Heh (none / 0) (#80)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:14:40 PM EST

    You're Wrong (none / 0) (#89)
    by limama1956 on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:27:00 PM EST
    and missing the bigger picture. It's not that Palin tried to get the guy fired. We know she did. Maybe he did deserve to get fired. But the fact was her ex-brother in law was disciplined. The case was closed. But that wasn't enough for Palin. She wanted two bites from the same apple.

    The problem is she LIED about it. She said that she and her staff (and her hubby) didn't try to intimidate Monegan, but they clearly did. The tape recording proves that.

    Funny that you mention the cop "illegally hunting the moose" but neglect to point out that the guy was using his father-in-law's license, and said moose was then consumed by the FIL and the wife--the ones who then made the accusation years after the fact.

    The more I learn about Palin, the more I can't stand her.

    why are people (none / 0) (#91)
    by borisbor on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 02:32:50 PM EST
    defending palin because she's a woman?

    Freepergressives hit the keyboards. (none / 0) (#93)
    by Lowtideppm on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 03:14:07 PM EST
    Naw, imagine a stand-up no-bs frontier type Democratic governor like Schweizer in this situation. (Of course they are not the same people, I get that.)

     But I don't think people are defending Palin simply because she's a woman.  
       In part,people are defending against the selective reporting about the case, and the Freepering we already got sick of in years past.  Didn't we?


    The tropper is jerk enough... (none / 0) (#100)
    by 1980Ford on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:01:20 PM EST
    That abuses of power are justified to get him fired.

    That says to me that.... (none / 0) (#94)
    by Oje on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 03:47:02 PM EST
    JMM has lost a major contingent of his audience, the ones to which he sees himself supplying his talking point memos, the media. His getting lots of pushback it sounds like.

    That aside, if it has not been mentioned above, look again how a progressive frames a domestic violence incidence in terms that are, quite frankly, a cover for domestic abusers: "Palin's family" (so that the image of men can be invoked with the sister), "a feud" (Hatfields vs. McCoys, or Wootens vs. Heaths),   "bitter custody and divorce battle" (no domestic violence to see here, just a bitter woman who made 9 false accusations [and nevermind the 5 proven accusations!]).

    Politicking is trumping social justice in the faux progressive blogosphere. There are ways to go after Governor Palin that do not bring ridicule and cynicism (that most frequent of charges against John McCain) to progressives' issues. As BTD noted long ago, the formerly A-list bloggers have abandoned all issues, now even domestic violence can be "framed" so that Obama can score a political point.

    Heh (none / 0) (#101)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 04:02:08 PM EST
    To each his own.

    Trading politics for social justice... (none / 0) (#108)
    by andrelee on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 05:01:41 PM EST
    ...is what is hot now on the Left. Don't win with making people confident about your knowledge and concern for their issues, that's so Clinton-like. Personality, character, identity...that's what's important to the like-to-be power players. The RWing perfected it and LWing adopted it. Yay!!! All snark, mind you, all bitter, angry snark.

    That a story like this isn't (none / 0) (#99)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 03:58:30 PM EST
    worth pursuing for its political ramifications is a pretty sad statement on the state of the union.

    The whole thing is just another example of rule by the person instead of rule by law, something that would have horrified people all across the political spectrum not so long ago. The fact that the conservative movement has so successfully promoted their twisted version of small government to the point where people are having to struggle to find the proper scandal angle on this is the most disturbing thing about this whole story.

    Bush/Rove made it almost expected that the machinery of the state will be used for partisan advantage. Next are we supposed to get used to the idea that it's OK to use the machinery of the state for personal and family score settling?