Gobble Gobblegate

Pardon Palin Please.

Slaughter happens. I grew up with moose quarters hanging in my garage. I never thought much about bonking fish on the head with a rock. Palin's photo op in front of a turkey blood bin isn't really about the virtues of veganism. It's about timing, intent and subsequent reaction.

It was the first time Governor Palin pardoned a turkey. I spoke to her office and was informed other Alaska governors had done so, but they couldn't tell me which ones. They speculated that the other turkey pardoners had delivered their clemency without a press release. Really? Was it just out of a secret turkey fetish they didn't want their Alaskan Constituents to know? Sarah, in her stilettos and pantyhose, was trying to look presidential at 11 degrees. It's weird.

When I heard, "I Governor Sarah Palin, friend to all creatures great and small...." coffee came out my nose at a great rate of speed, providing alternative caffeination. I think she should have pardoned a wolf, being a friend and all. Can you imagine? She's flying in a Super Cub and pardons a lone wolf out of one side of the plane. On the other, a Viagra deprived, flannel draped "Joe the Shooter" mows down the rest of the pack with a machine gun. Dang it, if they'd only brought the helicopter they could have landed and pulled pups from their dens and put them in bleeding cones-paws kicking. Oh, now you're horrified? Well, it's already happened, minus the lone pardoned wolf and a few bloodied cones.

So, Sweet Sarah says she didn't know a slaughter was taking place behind her. She's lying. The reporter said she was given the opportunity to move; to redirect the shot. She said, "No worries." Now she's throwing the cameraman under the bus. For all the Alaskans she has done this to, that bus should be high centered and we ought to rename it The Scapegoat Express!

We also get another brilliant example of cronyism trumping competence. Palin's long time friend and "handler", Kris Perry, stood next to her during the Gobble Gate filming. I can tell you Mark Begich's right hand, Julie Hasquet, would have tackled the cameraman and torn the tape up.

The truth is, as Governor of Alaska and thanks to an unconscionable lame duck pardon by Frank Murkowski, she can only pardon turkeys. She signed House Bill 69 into law on February 20, 2007. That bill made it mandatory that the governor and the Board of Parole cooperate to ensure any decision on clemency is based on a thorough review of the case, and would include testimony of victims and their families.

In his final hours, Governor Murkowski granted an executive pardon to a company convicted of criminally negligent homicide. Whitewater Engineering Corporation pleaded no contest in 2001 to the charge in connection with the 1999 death of one of its employees. They knowingly forced backhoe operator Gary Stone to traverse dangerous snow conditions. He was killed by an avalanche.

Whitewater's pardon was granted on November 30, 2006. Mr. Stone's family first learned of it from the Anchorage Daily News. No one from the Murkowski Administration notified the victim's family of the request for clemency or that the pardon had been granted. It was a vulgar display of the corporate protectionism Frank Murkowski was known for.

Although Murkowski's arrogant and uncaring lame duck clemency occurred after he lost his incumbency to Palin in the 2006 Republican Primary, it was typical Frank. And yet another example of why Palin became so popular. Today, Alaskans know Sarah Palin infinitely better than we did just 3 months ago. Many have awakened to the irrefutable truth: the only difference between Frank Murkowski and Sarah Palin is-to coin her own words-lipstick. Put another way, Murkowski never promised to be open and transparent.

Obviously, there is no comparison to a real life criminal pardon and the publicity stunt pulled by Palin. However, it is the spirit of self-serving oblivion that links their clemency. It wasn't lost on many Alaskans that Sarah was completely AWOL during the Veteran's Day activities. Her son Track is in Iraq, thousands of Alaskans have served in a half dozen wars, and she couldn't manage a wreath laying ceremony?

Her brief appearance at the recent Resource Development Council's annual conference wasn't received as warmly as her "Joe the Plumber Tour." 600 Alaskans didn't fake enthusiasm and only offered polite applause. Alaska's financial health is precariously tied to the price per barrel of oil-down $100 since July. At the RDC Conference, the Producers laid out their scaled back investment strategy, based upon depressed prices and a higher tax rate.

The yellow buttons legislators wore in Juneau last spring asking "Where's Sarah?" would have been equally appropriate at the RDC Conference. Oil Investment. Revenue Projections. Budget Impact. B-O-R-I-N-G! After her opening remarks, Sarah, like Elvis, left the building. Alaska's economic future is in jeopardy. Sarah Palin's economic future is just fine courtesy of a lucrative book deal.

Earlier this month, statistics showed Alaskan Students had the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation. The State Education Summit was skipped by the Governor; traded in on interviews with Wolf Blitzer and Larry King. It's curious that the newest member of Palin's family, Levi Johnston, added to our shameful numbers. He dropped out to get a job on the North Slope and support his family.

I look forward to the day we have a leader who is accountable. I don't expect anyone to be perfect. However, Sarah Palin is never at fault. Troopergate was about a dangerous renegade brother-in-law; Walt Monegan was "insubordinate;" Charlie Gibson's interview was full of "gotcha" questions; Katie Couric was just mean and condescending; the shouts of "kill him" and "terrorist" at her rallies were the fault of Bill Ayers; Wardrobegate was the fault of the McCain Campaign ; losing the election wasn't her fault, it was George W. Bush and the economy. And now, Gobblegate is the fault of a cameraman.

I look forward to the day Alaska has a governor we don't have to say "Pardon me?" "Did I hear her right?" "Is she serious?" when we catch the 6 o'clock news.