Red Herring


You can already see, in the McCain camp’s first statement on the Trooper-Gate report, that the McCain campaign will spin it as actually letting Gov. Palin off the hook for firing Monegan because it finds that she had the power to fire him.

That’s ridiculous. Monegan’s firing was just the tip of the iceberg.

The report details the extraordinary lengths that Gov. Palin, largely through her husband Todd, went to get her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired because of personal family reasons (namely, his nasty divorce from Palin’s sister). It was this effort, which led to pressure being improperly brought to bear on numerous state employees, that constituted an abuse of power by Palin. As it should be. State employees should not be subject to personal vendettas from elected officials.

While the report also finds that the governor in Alaska has the inherent power to fire her department heads for any reason or for no reason, it concludes that Monegan’s refusal to fire one of his state troopers at the insistence of the governor and her family was a contributing factor in his own firing.

So rather than the firing of Monegan itself being the abuse of power, the wide-ranging effort to retaliate against her sister’s ex-husband, of which Monegan’s firing was merely a part, was the real abuse. Monegan’s firing is evidence of the broader scheme, not the scheme itself. Cold comfort if you’re a McCain-Palin supporter.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.