One of the weird aspects of McCain’s veep pick is that Sarah Palin is right in the middle of a potential scandal that hasn’t come close to working itself out.
This month, a bipartisan panel of state legislators appointed an independent investigator to look into whether Ms. Palin had fired a top law enforcement official in her administration because he had failed to dismiss a state trooper who was involved in a divorce with Ms. Palin’s sister.
The Anchorage Daily News has more. Walt Monegan, the Alaska official who Palin fired, has already disclosed that Palin repeatedly harassed him about her ex-brother in law, and he has a sheaf of emails that he plans to show to investigators. The guy who Palin appointed to replace Monegan, Chuck Kopp, had a touching the wimmen problem that Palin knew about when she hired him.
If I had to guess I would say that the investigator’s report will be embarrassing but not fatal. Even granting the worst possible interpretation Palin’s troopergate doesn’t get close to the kind of deep corruption that we expect from the GOP’s DC delegation. It’s the sort of thing that bubbles up during local politics in a small state, especially an isolated petrostate like Alaska. The guy she picked is a little shady but, look, with the population of Austin, Texas Alaska doesn’t have a very deep bench. Compare Kopp with Harriet Miers. Michael Brown. Bernie fucking Kerik.
At the most Palin comes across as flighty, careless with power and shows moderately bad character judgment. By itself that wouldn’t threaten, say, a popular sitting governor who would need to commit a murder to lose her seat. The problem is that Sarah Palin is now running for the Vice President of the United States. Given that she’s a political naif with no relevant experience to call on, those defects are fatal.