Sleazy chiselers

Well, if this isn’t the damndest piece of small-time larceny: Sarah Palin has been gouging the taxpayers of Alaska out of a per diem allowance for days she’s at home (about ten months worth). She also arranged that they pay to fly her husband and kids around on her junkets. The amounts involved total less than $100,000; I don’t know whether I’m more outraged by the venality of her behavior or the petty sums she’s nabbed; it reminds me of Ted Stevens, on sale for furniture, a dog, and some house remodeling. Honor sure comes cheap on the wild northern frontier.

The patches being slapped on below the waterline are only making things worse:

Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Monday that Palin’s expenses are not unusual and that, under state policy, the first family could have claimed per diem expenses for each child taken on official business but has not done so….The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor’s office from elaborate travel regulations.

….Leighow said many of the hundreds of invitations Palin receives include requests for her to bring her family, placing the definition of “state business” with the party extending the invitation.

So, exempt from elaborate regulations, she’s making up these rules herself, and we’re supposed to be grateful she didn’t steal more! The change meme is getting harder and harder to credit, if that’s possible: if there’s one unbending moral principle of the Bush years, it’s the despicable idea that the line between right and wrong exactly matches wherever the line between criminal and legal can be pushed, with the most shameless sophistry: if you aren’t indicted for it, you did the right thing. Um, convicted, and lost all your appeals, come to think of it, yeah, that’s the banner for the righteous to repair to.

What a parent, to set such an upstanding example for her kids. What a gonif. What a piker. What a fake. And what a liar.