Thursday, October 09, 2008

The plane truth about Palin: budget cuts as political theater

Sarah Palin really is a kindred spirit with John McCain. Like McCain, she makes political theater out of cutting trivial expenses in counterproductive ways.

In written testimony provided to the Troopergate investigation, Todd Palin claims that Sarah's sale of the plane that her predecessor Frank Murkowski bought for the executive branch's use became a source of "bad blood" between the governor and Walt Monegan, the public safety commissioner she fired. According to an account of Todd's testimony in the Anchorage Daily News, Sarah was rankled by "the unavailability of a state trooper airplane for the governor's use when traveling to the Bush":
"It seemed that whenever Sarah needed this plane, it was unavailable," Todd Palin said. "We were concerned that the Department of Public Safety was retaliating against Sarah for selling the Murkowski jet that Department of Public Safety officials enjoyed using." In 2007, the governor sold a jet her predecessor, Frank Murkowski, bought in a controversial defiance of the Legislature.
That sold jet, we've also learned from the ADN, was used mainly to transport prisoners to Arizona, where Alaska outsources much of its incarceration.

Todd's account of "two sources of bad blood" between his wife and Monegan (the other was a warning Monegan sent about a legislator's report that she'd failed to put Trig in an appropriate car seat) constitutes approximately the fifth reason for firing Monegan that the Palins have supplied - though to be fair, Todd cites these petty sources of conflict as just a secondary cause.

But petty's the word here. Palin's pique over a plane recalls Newt Gingrich's over being relegated to the back of Air Force One. If that bad blood really did feed the firing, it may prove as politically costly to her as Newt's government shutdown was to him.

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