Friday, August 1, 2008

McCain-Palin ticket hits a massive iceberg

Among the names mentioned as potential vice presidential picks for Sen. John McCain has been Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the telegenic, but showing signs of stress 44-year old mother of five.

Paiin, who earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" for her intensity as a high-school basketball player, a sobriquet some political opponents have kept alive, won election in 2006 as a reformer and was quickly seen as a rising star in Republican political circles. There was even a "Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President" movement or, at the very least, just a website. Some Alaskans are saying, Draft Sarah, get her out of Alaska.

Palin has some awesome popularity ratings with Alaskan voters, something above 80 percent.

But now Palin is also caught up in a probe of her official conduct that probably nixes whatever long-shot chance she had to be on the McCain ticket. After all, she's only been a governor for two years.

Questions have arisen over whether Palin used her office to try and fire her ex brother-in-law from a state trooper's position. Palin asserts the charge is untrue but the Alaska Senate this week approved the hiring of an independent investigator to look into the charges.

Palin can take comfort in not having been implicated in the federal corruption investigation that has led to the indictment and conviction of some Alaskan politicians, like Sen. Ted Stevens who was indicted earlier this week.

Indeed, Palin made her reputation in Alaska by combating ethically challenged colleagues which didn't make her popular with her colleagues but did lead to the resignation of an Alaskan attorney general whose conflict-of-interest problems she helped to spotlight.

But having an Alaskan on the ticket would likely bring constant attention to the state's corruption problems which, since the state is Republican run, don't help the GOP brand.

Palin has another problem, abuse of power is a serious charge. After Alaska's public-safety commissioner Walt Monegan was fired (Monegan has said he felt pressure to dropkick the trooper) Palin replaced him with the former police chief of the city of Kenai. But he quit after it became known that he received a reprimand after sexual harassment allegations were filed against him in his former post.

At the very least, that incident raises some questions about Palin as a chief executive and might take some of the thrill away for some women who might otherwise be excited about seeing her on the ticket.

Thus, a McCain-Palin ticket doesn't appear to be in the cards.
Chicago Tribune- The Swamp

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