Entries categorized as ‘Todd’

Wardrobe Malfunction

November 8, 2008 · Leave a Comment

We now have the most believable narrative yet explaining how Palin could end up with $150,000 in new clothes from upscale retailers like Neiman Marcus.

You’ll recall that when the story first broke the Palin camp claimed that the clothes were bought by the RNC almost against Sarah’s knowledge or wishes, that they were bought with the specific intention of returning a large number of items (a form of home-shopping, I suppose), and finally that the clothes were the property of the RNC and would be given to charity after the election.  To my ear these sounded like after-the-fact spin.

The account now given by those within the McCain campaign tasked with managing Sarah Palin sounds much more believable.  It is hard, however, to parse truth now that the Palin and McCain camps have turned to finger pointing and recrimination.

In the latest account Nicole Wallace suggested to Palin that she get 3 outfits for the Republican National Convention, and 3 more for after the convention, expecting a price tag of $20,000 – $25,000.  Instead what they got were receipts for clothes for the whole family, luggage, jewelry and a wide range of luxuries for the whole Palin clan, and the price tag was the widely reported $150,000.

This account seems believable because of things we’ve learned about Palin’s tenure as Governor, and a tendency to treat the trappings of public office as an opportunity to treat the whole family to a little splurge.  Palin billed the state her allowed travel per diem for 300 days in one year, most of which were spent in their own home.  Palin repeatedly brought her husband and children on official trips, even though they had no official role, and billed the state.  She even went so far as to go back into the official “paper trail” and adjust the receipts to try to claim some reason for those family members to be on the trip.  One private group who had asked Sarah to speak in New York was then surprised to be asked by the Governor to invite one of her daughters, and then even more surprised to see that a number of luxury hotel rooms were booked so that Sarah’s daughter could travel in style.  Furthermore, Sarah Palin then failed to claim as income State reimbursements for family members travel expenses, something that should be required if there was no State interest in their travel.

Palin now claims that the shopping spree was all the RNC’s idea.  But the story that she was asked to shop for a few new clothes and then the whole family went on one of those timed romps through Neiman’s like the winners of some crazy game show seems more consistent with the record.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics · Todd
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Bush's Press Secretary Is Voting Obama-Biden

October 23, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Given his scathing book about the Bush administration he once served and the brokenness of Washington politics, I suppose it’s not a huge surprise that Scott McClellan, former Press Secretary for President Bush, is voting for Obama-Biden.

Still, McClellan’s formal announcement earlier today on the new “T.L. Hughley Breaks The News” comedy show on CNN, is still striking in that moderate Republicans seem to be breaking more strongly away from McCain-Palin.

I have to believe that it’s for many of the same reasons that Colin Powell endorsed Obama:

  • Obama is a transformative historic figure
  • McCain’s campaign has been unsteady
  • McCain has cozied up to the right wing of the Republican party
  • Palin highlights the extent to which McCain has bought into the “win-at-all-costs” mentality
  • Palin’s selection demonstrates how much beholden the Republican party is to the religious right.

View the interview here:

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Todd
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Link to Full Troopergate Report

October 21, 2008 · Leave a Comment

For those who’d like to read the full report on “Troopergate” – also known as the Branchflower Report, I’m posting this link to the full 263 page report (pdf format).

Branchflower Troopergate Report

Stephen Branchflower was asked by the Alaska Legislature to research the long-standing allegations of the misuse of power by the Governor and her husband in attempting to get ex-brother-in-law Wooten fired from his position as a Trooper, and the subsequent firing of Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

The summary of the findings:

  • Sarah Palin committed an ethical breach by using the power of the Governor’s office in pursuing a personal vendetta against Wooten.
  • Palin’s firing of Monegan was not illegal because the position is appointed by the Governor, and can be replaced at will.
  • Palin’s firing of Monegan demonstrated poor judgement and an ethical breach of her duty as Governor.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Todd · Troopergate
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Troopergate Report Released – Palin Abused Power

October 11, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I’ve yet to get my hands on the full Troopergate released by the bipartisan committee of the Alaskan legislature, but when I do I’ll write about it here.

Here’s what I can distill from the various reports:

  • Palin abused the power of her office in pursuing a personal vendetta against officer Wooten (her ex-brother in law).
  • Palin’s husband Todd and other surrogates of the Governor acting on behalf of the Governor pushed the head of Alaska’s Public Safety Department to fire or otherwise discipline Wooten outside of the rules and regulations.
  • Palin was within her legal right as Governor to dismiss Walt Monegan (that position serves at the request and whim of the Governor).
  • This behavior is consistent with what Alaskan critics of the Governor have been saying for a long time: that Palin and her administration were bullying, with a “take no prisoners,” “for us or agin us” mentality.

Bottom line:  Palin exercised poor judgement continuously over a long period of time.  Palin lacks the maturity and discretion to properly exercise power.  Palin was an impetuous and disastrous pick for McCain, although this is in keeping with his self-described penchant to mak quick decisions from the gut – right or wrong – and then to try to live with the consequences.  It would seem that he picked a running mate cut out of the same cloth.  A McCain-Palin administration would be dangerous for America and for the world.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology · Todd · Troopergate
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Palin the Tax Cheat

October 6, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Remember when Palin said that she didn’t think that paying taxes was patriotic in her debate with Biden?  You ain’t kidding there, joe six-pack.

Upon scrutinizing the Palins’ tax returns, tax experts say that there are some big questions raised by what is – and what is not – in those returns.  Here are the two biggest issues so far:

  • The state of Alaska paid for Sarah’s husband and children to travel with her while she was Governor.  Well, if they weren’t acting in an official state capacity (and how could they be, since they held no office or employment?), and the expenses were reimbursed (which they were, for nearly $50,000 last year), then the reimbursement would be taxable income.  Guess what?  The Palins did not report that income.  Oh oh.
  • Todd’s snowmobile racing passion has been treated as a business rather than a hobby, allowing them to write off expenses.  The problem is that there are some strict rules around what is a business and what is a hobby.  This one is sure to get a lot more scrutiny.

I’ll agree with Sarah that paying taxes you don’t owe is not patriotic.  Not paying taxes you do owe is just palin cheating.

Read more from Leslie Layne in The New York Times Politics Blog entry, Questions Linger About Palin Taxes.

Stay tuned.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics · Todd
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The Anti-Education Candidate.

September 23, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I’m just going to put it out there.  Sarah and Todd Palin are not the best educated people.

Looking at the evidence in one way, you might say that Sarah Palin has actually had personal experience with a lot of colleges.  Why, she’s been to so many you’d almost expect her to have completed a post-doctorate.  But no, Sarah Palin switched colleges as many as six times in six years before graduating with a Bachelors degree in Journalism in 1987.  You are not likely to have heard of most of those six schools.

I’ll list them here for you: University of Hawaii, Hilo (for a few weeks, according to a friend’s biography, although no official records seem to exist for this stint.  She and her friends left because “it rained too much.”); Hawaii Pacific University; North Idaho College (a 2-year institution in Cour d’Alene); University of Idaho; Matanuska-Sustina College in Palmer; back to the University of Idaho.  There are no records of significant campus involvement or achievement.  Despite her degree in journalism, it does not appear that she worked for any campus newspaper, radio or television station.  See the Los Angeles Times story, “Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Palin Changes Colleges 6 Times in 6 Years.”

Husband Todd Palin is reported to have accumulated some college credits, but has no college degree.

When Sarah and Todd’s lack of academic interest and distinction is combined, we are left with a portrait of a couple who does not seem to have placed much value on education for themselves.  Perhaps we can better understand the lack of foreign travel, the lack of familiarity with issues outside the very local parochial ones of hockey rinks or Alaska-specific pipelines and oil company taxes.  They simply haven’t been exposed to much of the world yet.

Perhaps it is this lack of educational achievement that appeals to many working class Americans who can see themselves in the Palins.  Perhaps McCain believed that he could make charges of “elitism” stick on Obama by choosing a running mate with a paucity of academic commitment, especially given his own lack of accomplishment while at the Naval Academy.

Is it just me, or do Sarah and Todd Palin remind you of the King and The Queen of your high school prom?  Popular and attractive, their best years end the day of high school graduation.  Only now McCain wants you to vote them into the Vice Presidency for four more years.  Appropriately enough the average span of someone’s high school experience.

Call me an elitist if you must, but I happen to believe that we need to elect people who have spent a significant amount of time committed to learning about the world.  People who have created a record of high achievement in education because of their intellect and ability to sustain commitment and hard work over a long period of time.

The Palins do not fit this bill.  But in a popularity contest, they were killer.  Will they be again?

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Todd
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Iron Dog Todd.

September 22, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Todd Palin.  You’ve seen his handsome smile and athletic build.  His fierce devotion to Sarah.  But how much do we really know about Todd and his role in Sarah’s administration in Alaska, as well as his roles in Troopergate, his affiliation with the Alaskan Independence Party, and his background? For an excellent backgrounder, see the recent Washington Post article ‘First Dude’ Todd Palin Illustrates Alaska’s Blend of Private and Public.

Todd Palin photo from Iron Dog

In Alaska, the two were widely considered to be a pair in governing – “two for the price of one.”  In fact, Todd Palin served as Sarah’s de facto Chief of Staff.  He was often present in the legislature.  He was routinely copied on e-mails detailing state business.  In a small state, as in a small town, the line between the political and the personal is fine, and often transgressed.  See CNN’s ‘First Dude’ or ‘Shadow Governor?’ And the political can quickly become personal, as we have seen with the details available so far on “Troopergate.”

Unfortunately, under the supervision of the McCain campaign, Palin’s promise to cooperate with the investigation into ethical breaches in the Troopergate scandal have fallen by the wayside.  Now Sarah, Todd, and other staff members have refused to cooperate with the investigation, refusing to honor the subpoenas.  Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that the final report has long been scheduled to be released on October 31st, just four days before the general election?

Did you know that Todd has been something of an Alaskan celebrity for quite some time?  He’s won the “Iron Dog” snowmobile racing competition, coming in first place four times.  See the Iron Dog website.

Not only is he rough and rugged, he’s a bit of a wild card, with a family that epitomizes the independent Alaskan streak.  Maybe a little too independent.  Todd was a member of the Alaskan Independent Party from 1994 – 2002.  The party is a fringe party, that has vacillated between advocating for secession from the United States, settling to its current position, calling for a popular vote to decide whether Alaska should:

1.  Remain a Territory.

2.  Become a separate and Independent Nation.

3. Accept Commonwealth Status.

4.  Become a State.

See Alaskan Independence Party website.

One of the concerns that I have, is that Todd Palin is thought of in Alaska as Sarah’s “protector and enforcer,” and seems to have a much bigger role in what many see as the abuses of power exercised by her administration, including the Troopergate scandal.  In addition to continuing to vet Sarah Palin, we need to vet Todd Palin, given his apparently fairly involved and unique role in her administration.

The one thing that I’ve seen that I really like about Todd Palin?  It seems his mom might vote for Barrack Obama.  

Categories: Current Facts · McCain · Todd
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