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Susan L. Travis Headshot

Peas In a Pod: Palin's Troopergate And Bush's Attorneygate

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As the Republicans unfolded their presentation of Governor Sarah Palin as candidate for Vice President, I immediately realized that political candidates are NOT "vetted" by a crack team of FBI investigators. Who knew? I had imagined a meticulous scrutiny of the contender's computers amid a flurry of file folders, personal finances, and childhood refrigerator art. Apparently, I watch too much television, for, at least in this instance, the "vetting" has been left to the people. I knew what I had to do.

I put on my lapel pin, and set about investigating. I discovered that "vetting," like the word "veterinarian," bears the common connotation of "examination." To that end, I began dissecting Sarah Palin's Troopergate troubles and discovered an eerie echo within the Bush Administration's Attorneygate scandals that continue to plague the integrity of our times.

Consider my findings from the public record. The known facts are these:

Palin: Troopergate, involves the 2008 firing of Alaska's Public Safety Commissioner by Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin.

Bush Administration: Eight United States Attorneys were dismissed in 2006 by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice.

Palin: claimed that she dismissed Commissioner Walt Monegan because of performance-related issues.

Bush Administration: claims dismissals of the attorneys was related to job-performance "related to policy, priorities and management."

Palin: Monegan believes his dismissal was related to his reluctance to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law Mike Wooten, an Alaska State Trooper.

Bush Administration: Many allege that the attorneys were targeted in order to stifle investigations of Republican politicians, or for failure to initiate investigations that would undermine Democratic politicians or hinder Democratic-leaning voters.

Palin: denied that there had been any pressure on Monegan to fire Wooten, either from herself or from anyone in her administration.

Bush Administration: Heather Wilson and Pete Domenici are alleged to have attempted to pressure Iglesias into accelerating the investigation; Wilson stated that her call was not about any particular case or person, nor was it "motivated by politics or partisanship."

Palin: Although subpoenaed, "First Dude," Todd Palin refuses to testify because he does not believe the investigation is legitimate.

Bush Administration: Joshua Bolten, Karl Rove, Sara Taylor, and J. Scott Jennings have refused to comply with their subpoenas.

Palin: It has been alleged that Governor Palin used personal email accounts to avoid public records laws.

Bush Administration: Over 5 million White House emails were unavailable, as they had been via a non-government domain hosted on an e-mail server not controlled by the federal government.

Palin: apologized to Alaskans for what she called "this distraction".

Bush Administration: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales described the affair as "an overblown personnel matter".

Both the Troopergate and the Attorneygate investigations have yet to play out before the public, though I suspect that the mirroring will continue. Why wouldn't it? We have entered the surreal world of Republicangate, where distortions of truth and contempt for the law saturate the Republican brand. Their spin machine would have us believe that these ethical allegations are misunderstood orphan kittens.

Yet, I wonder if my dissections and alignment of facts will inspire an epiphany for Republicans so deeply steeped in denial about the truths of their party. I doubt it. In the vetting of Sarah Palin, I'm one among thousands of lapel-pinned investigators whose ironclad evidentiary findings, logic and critical thinking skills of discernment, analysis, and evaluation, meet only the stone-cold blank stare of the Republican Party.

At last, I see why the people must do the vetting of Sarah Palin, and why our talking point is, "Do we really want more of the same?"