As soon as Sarah Palin stepped into the spotlight, people rushed into the shadows to dig up what dirt they could find. At this point, the most important allegation is that Palin abused her power. The specific accusation is that she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan for refusing to fire her ex-brother in law Wooten.
Wooten’s record is less than exemplary and might well have justified his being fired. He apparently used a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson and allegedly consumed beer while driving an official vehicle. Disciplinary action was taken against him and he now claims that he is trying to be the best trooper and father he can be. Interestingly, he says that the choice of Palin as the Republican VP candidate is “absolutely wonderful for the state of Alaska.”
Of course, the important question is not whether Wooten deserved to be fired or not. The most important question is whether Palin abused her power. Clearly, she had a motive. The divorce between Wooten and her sister seems to have been a rather unpleasant affair and Palin has made it clear that she is quite big on family values. Palin also attempted to take action against Wooten in 2005 by writing to state investigators about Wooten’s actions. In light of this evidence, it seems reasonable to think that she had a strong motivation to act against Wooten. However, if the allegations about Wooten are true, then she would be quite right to try to have something done about him. After all, his alleged actions are not the sort of things that a responsible law enforcement officer should be doing.
If she pressured Monegan to fire Wooten and he did not, then she would have a reason to fire Monegan-to punish him for defying her wishes. Of course, she claims that he was fired for budgetary reasons and because she wanted the department to change directions. Both of these can be legitimate reasons to fire someone. Of course, they can be verified by seeing if someone was hired in his position for similar pay. If so, the budgetary claim would be countered. If not, then that claim would stand. Whether the department has been moving in a different direction can also be checked. If it is, then her claim would be supported. If not, then her claim would be less likely to be true. Of course, the phrase “different direction” is rather vague and this will make it harder to confirm or deny her claim.
If she did abuse her power, then she would be on par with most politicians. Naturally, such an abuse should not be tolerated, but the corrupt nature of politics would make such a transgression seem minor (most especially compared with the doings of Bush and the past doings of Bill Clinton). As such, if that is the worst that they can find on her, then she is quite clean by political standards. Some people might even approve of her alleged actions-after all, they might see her acting on behalf of her sister.