The Troopergate scandal unfolding in Sarah Palin’s Alaska administration is straight out of the Bush White House playbook. Palin got rid of Walt Monegan, her safety commissioner, because he refused to fire her brother-in-law, a state trooper, without cause.
Sound familiar? That’s because it’s eerily similar to the way Bush’s Justice Department fired a number of U.S. attorneys who refused to pursue investigations against Democrats right before an election.
Palin’s next step, like Bush’s, was to guarantee she would cooperate fully with an investigation into the incident. After all, she said, she’d done nothing wrong. But when it looked like some incriminating evidence might be uncovered, she refused to talk to investigators. She’s doing everything she can to sweep the matter under her office rug.
Palin even has her own version of Bush’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The Alaska Attorney General’s office has instructed witnesses to ignore subpoenas issued by the state legislature and refuse to testify. (Palin doesn’t have the ability to do all of this on her own, of course, any more than Bush. An army of McCain campaign lawyers are assisting in the process.) If Palin is successful in stonewalling the investigation, the facts of the case won’t be revealed before Election Day, then the whole incident will go quietly away.
Troopergate is one indicator of the Bush 2.0 governing style we’d see in a McCain-Palin administration, but it’s far from the only example. The kowtowing to corporate interests, the cronyism and the personal destruction of anyone who stands in their way — these hallmarks of the Bush presidency would continue if we had another four years of a Republican presidency.
Bush has a penchant for stacking regulatory agencies with businessmen and lobbyists who don’t believe in regulation. They’d rather turn the manufacturing and economic sectors over to the conservatives’ favorite watchdog: the invisible hand of the marketplace. The results of eight years of regulatory neglect have been lead paint on children’s toys, disease-ridden food in our supermarkets and the most catastrophic financial meltdown since the Great Depression.
We can expect more of the same from a McCain administration. After all, the transition team will be made up of the same lobbyists and Karl Rove protégés who run his campaign. There’s not much chance they’d appoint any consumer advocates to head regulatory agencies. They’ll draw from the same tainted well of corporate cronies who served under Bush.
Then there’s that cozy, insulated feeling Bush gets from surrounding himself with loyalists, regardless of qualifications. Palin has shown she’s stamped from the same mold. Her Wasilla High School yearbook has doubled as a directory for executive appointments. I suppose it’s possible her old school buddies are the best people for the jobs. Who knows, maybe classmate Franci Havemeister, who liked cows as a kid, really is an inspired choice to head the Alaska Division of Agriculture. If that’s true, all I can say is, Heck of a job, Franci.
Palin also has that Bush administration knack for firing anyone who disagrees with her and calling people who question her policies “Haters.” Of course, she’s a novice compared to the current White House occupants. They mounted vicious smear campaigns against former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke for talking about what went on in the White House. They outed CIA operative Valerie Plame because her husband tried to reveal one of the lies that help lead us into the Iraq War. Palin still has a lot to learn from the Big League Republicans on that score.
It would be bad enough if McCain and Palin just planned to continue the failed policies of the Bush administration, but they’re certain to continue Bush-style governance as well.