The Troopergate report highlights a distinction invisible to the Bush administration, to its further eternal shame, and kind of a challenge to a large part of the Republican party: a lot of things that are legal are Very Bad, and “not convicted [yet]” is not at all the same as “heckuva job”. An executive may legally fire anyone above the civil service level for almost anything except race, sex and the like. As the report makes clear, Palin was within her legal rights to fire Monegan because she didn’t like his face, or his accent, or his choice of ties – or his refusal to roll over for her hass on Wooten. Similarly, John McCain as president could legally appoint Phil Gramm to a cabinet position, and fire the second coming of Alexander Hamilton if he chose to. He had the legal right to try to foist an ignorant, vengeful, neanderthal on the nation as vice president to a 72-year-old cancer survivor.
But just because these decisions are legal doesn’t mean they are good ones, nor that the people who make them aren’t blameworthy, nor that they are qualified for office. Indeed, a drop-dead disqualification for high office is a history of bad decisions. Like these.
What Palin did that was illegal was to try to tilt the state pinball machine against Wooten for personal reasons, and that’s illegal because it is so toxic to fair and effective government. Diverting the attention and efforts of state employees from their proper duties to the people, which include managing Wooten’s performance as a trooper, to the private interest of the governor, is like having a state trooper (or a state painter) paint your house on state time. Or like stealing money from the public purse and spending it on, well, whatever Palin bought with the taxes she didn’t pay on her per diem. Yes, it’s patriotic to pay taxes, and yes, tax evasion is stealing.
Move along folks, nothing to see here you didn’t already know: small, mean, people way over their heads and way outside their moral capabilities, flailing around in a slough. It’s pathetic and disgusting, and it’s demeaning to us to be ogling it. Turn the dial to Jerry Springer and cleanse your mind.