How Palin could have avoided all those ethics probes


Here at Attytood I try to swim upstream as much as I can -- some stories are simply unavoidable but I also don't want to be the 1.397th blogger doing a live blog of the Michael Jackson funeral, for example. Likewise, when Sarah Palin resigns at the start of the weekend, it was pretty much impossible to say much that was original after a two-day frenzy. But nearly a week later, she remains hard to ignore.

Of the million or so blog posts launched by Palin so far, I agree with those who say that a) the bottom line is that Sarah Palin has been, is, and will be a petulant quitter anywhere she goes, and so the country is a lot better off without her in the vice presidency, backing up a man who would have been our oldest president and 2) is she capable of running for president in 2012?...You betcha. Just the undying interest in Palin in the pundosphere shows that she has the No. 1 quality that you need to run, if not win, in our new millennium -- and that is simply that America remains fascinated by her. Qualifications? We can hash that out later.

Having said it all that, it is interesting now to see the rising pro-Palin argument, that -- in full Nixonland mode -- she was unfairly hounded out of office. So states the Wall Street Journal's John Fund:

Contrary to most reports, her decision had been in the works for months, accelerating recently as it became clear that controversies and endless ethics investigations were threatening to overshadow her legislative agenda. "Attacks inside Alaska and largely invisible to the national media had paralyzed her administration," someone close to the governor told me. "She was fully aware she would be branded a 'quitter.' She did not want to disappoint her constituents, but she was no longer able to do the job she had been elected to do. Essentially, the taxpayers were paying for Sarah to go to work every day and defend herself."

Perhaps, but the bottom line is that there's only one person to blame for so many ethics investigations of Palin, quite possibly more than any governor. It's not her enemies, and it's not the media.

It's Sarah Palin.

It was Sarah Palin -- and not her enemies -- who initiated the scandal known as Troopergate by firing Alaska's public safety commissioner when he refused to fire Palin's brother-in-law enmeshed in an ugly family feud (and this scandal predated her run for vice president, back when virtually no one in the national media or politics knew or cared who Palin was.)

It was Sarah Palin -- and not her enemies -- who thought it was a good idea to bill Alaska's taxpayers for the nights that she spent at her home and for her family members to travel with her on what was supposedly state business.

It was Sarah Palin -- and not her enemies -- who also thought it was a good idea to spend $150,000 in campaign contributions on an upscale shopping spree, actions that were ruled legal by the Federal Election Commission but understandably irked GOP officials and some donors.

The list is longer, but you get the idea. Other governors don't have a laundry list of ethics probes because other governors didn't do so many of these things (and the fact that Eliot Spitzer, Blago and Mark Sanford behaved badly is irrelevant -- four wrongs don't make a right.) So if all the ethics probes are why Palin resigned, so be it. But the sole reason for all the ethics probes is....Sarah Palin.

From family squabbles to clothes and travel, there is now a well-documented pattern of conflating the personal with the governmental, of -- as another GOP governor famously said -- "crossing the line."

And there so was an easy way for Palin to avoid all those ethical probes that allegedly hounded her from office.

She could have been ethical.