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Tilting at Windmills

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September 17, 2008

MCCAIN/PALIN GOING EASY ON CHILD MOLESTERS.... Sarah Palin's explanations for why she fired Walt Monegan as Alaska's public safety commissioner have evolved over time. Most of the justifications have been debunked, and some of the reasons contradict other reasons.

But as Zachary Roth explains, the latest explanation is a real doozy.

...Palin's latest explanation for why she fired Walt Monegan is that he had gone over her head in seeking federal money for an initiative to combat sexual assault crimes, before she had approved the program.

But it now appears that the program in question is one that most elected officials would be wary of admitting they hadn't strongly backed. According to Peggy Brown, who heads the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Monegan wanted to use the federal money to hire retired troopers and law enforcement officials, and assign them to investigate the most egregious cases of sexual assault -- including those against children.

In other words, if Palin's new story is true, she fired Monegan for being too aggressive in going after child molesters.

Seriously, that's the argument. Sexual abuse is a real problem in Alaska; Palin never considered it a high priority of her administration; and Monegan was anxious to tackle the problem by taking advantage of a federal program. And Palin rewarded Monegan for his efforts by firing him. That is, as of now, the official line from Palin's camp.

TNR's Christopher Orr asked, "If the Obama campaign were the McCain campaign, how long do you think it would be before they cut an ad claiming that, as Alaska governor, Sarah Palin wanted to go easy on child molesters?"

One could take this even one step further, noting that McCain attacked Barack Obama for his efforts to combat sexual predators in Illinois.

I guess it's fair to say a McCain/Palin administration wouldn't exactly take a leadership role in taking on sexual abuse?

Steve Benen 10:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Comments

Oooh, get a 527 to work on an ad about this, maybe show a couple of scary looking versions of McCain and Palin watching a group of kids with information of this stuff playing in the background

Posted by: axt113 on September 17, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Sniff...sniff...mmmmmmmm

Is that a new ad I smell in the flavor of truth vs fiction?

Posted by: amy on September 17, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, as tempting and large a target Palin is, please stop giving her the time of day. The real story is McCain. Every cycle wasted on Palin is a lost opportunity to make a real difference.

Ignore her. She's insignificant. (Or rather, she's only significant if elected and McCain croaks.)

Posted by: JC on September 17, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

The ad is all set to go.

Posted by: SP on September 17, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

So, when will we get hours of news time devoted to this? You know, like they did with the lipstick on a pig nonsense.

Posted by: Diogenes on September 17, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

No, JC, every attack on Palin is an attack on McCain for choosing her. I wish people would start expanding the argument to "If McCain picked Palin who would he choose for his Cabinet?"

And this is even more important because of her extremely bad record on areas of child and spousal abuse -- which should be gotten out to swing those "Oh, wow, McCain chose a woman" idiots. It's not just she's anti-choice, her record on domestic violence, child molestation, etc, needs to be gotten out. (And particularly since Alaska has the highest rate of sexual abuse and rape in the Nation.)

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 17, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

This also ties in with her crusade against wasteful spending. Building that road to nowhere is OK, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Posted by: Danp on September 17, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

JC, or JCW (John Cusack Wannabe) I disagree. As a candidate, Palin needs to be mocked and marginalized and exposed as the uber-religious thunderdolt she is, because she represents yet another awful McCain decision, but it's one that keeps on giving. You could point out his questionable decisions in the Keating Five scandal, his votes against education or health care, but they've happened, and in the era of the perpetual news cycle, people have moved on. Palin is a non-stop gaffe machine, and McCain's going to have her be President when he dies, which I seriously would put at next July. No, keep exposing her, but also, tie her to McCain, constantly. "Here's a stupid person, who said a stupid thing, again, and stupid John McCain wants her to run the country if he dies. Don't let them make that call."

Back on topic, I want to see a Photoshop of Sarah Palin driving a van past a school, and the van is filled with candy & PSPs or Nintendo DSs and Hannah Montana/Jonas Brothers posters. And she's got that creepy smile on her face. And the poster reads "In Alaska, our children aren't too young, they're young too! 'COME' to Alaska!"

Posted by: slappy magoo on September 17, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I agree in general principle that attacking Palin has reached its useful limits. Short of some election -changing scandal, I think trooper gate is the only story that has legs at this point and should be used solely to bash Bush and tie McCain/Palin to Bush.

The real focus has to be on McCain and on putting forth actual solutions to problems on the part of Obama. I'd like to see more untrammeled and unscripted access on Obama's party to the press. Show what it would be like to have a pres who can think on his feet, as long as he works on keeping the answers short so he doesn't slide into Kerry territory.

Steve, eye on the ball (McCain) and off distractions (Palin)

Posted by: Buffalonian on September 17, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

It is amazing. There are now three areas in which the McCain campaign has shown itself to be soft on sexual predators:

1) Mocking Barack Obama for favoring teaching kids to protect themselves
2) Charging rape victims for rape kids (both McCain and Palin supported this)
3) Palin firing the public safety commissioner for being too aggressive against sexual predators

The thing is, when you put these three together the picture is so outrageous that probably no one is going to believe it. They'll have to soft pedal this a little bit or everyone except for the dyed-in-the-wool McCain haters will just think it's a lie.

I'm pretty sure that if you looked at reactions to the infamous "Obama wants to teach kindergarteners about sex" ad that most people who were not already predisposed to to believe every made up horror story about Obama dismissed the ad immediately.

I think a good move would be an ad that just focuses on rape kits and McCain's opposition to the violence against women act, which was Biden's baby. Something like that, mostly targeted at women, would probably be pretty effective.

Posted by: Rob Mac on September 17, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

The ad -
Senator McCain opposes teaching children how to avoid child molesters.
Governor Palin is opposed to law enforcement getting tough on those molesters.
McCain/Palin - a pattern of support for child molesters.

Posted by: ohcomeon on September 17, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I think JC is correct, ignore Palin. Her approval numbers are dropping, she gives the same goddamn speech over and over again, she refuses to talk to the media. She is a diminishing factor in the fight for independents.

Her only purpose is motivate the base, which will have some impact, but I'm afraid there is nothing Obama can do about these demographic.

The real battle will to be rattle McCain. Make him look tired, flustered, irate. Do this my wearing him down. Keep him on the defensive. This has been a good week so far for Obama, he is controlling the message.

Posted by: g. powell on September 17, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

She's even worse on the issue of rape. Consider the pattern which is developing here:

1. Palin has publicly boasted that she would deny her daughters (and indeed, everyones' daughters) the right to an abortion in the case of rape or incest.

2. As Mayor of Wasila, Palin presided over a policy of charging sexual assault victims for their rape kits that was so abhorent that the state government directly intervened to stop it, and did so over the vocal protests of the police chief Palin had hired (and where was Palin while her police chief was complaining to the press about this).

3. Now she claims, per the post above, that she fired the state's top cop because he was too proactive in seeking federal funds to pursue sexual assault cases, at a time when Alaska was No. 1 in the country for incidents of rape.

I think someone needs to ask Sarah Palin whether or not she thinks that rape is wrong. She certainly hasn't given any indication that she does.


Posted by: Bill B. on September 17, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

So it would be ok in an Obama administration for his cabinet to go over Obama's head and directly to congress for support as long as it was a good cause, even if Obama wanted to wait and evaluate the program first and make sure that all the supporting agencies had adequate funding as well?

Is that your position?

What a high standard of leadership you expect from Obama. I will run out and vote for him right now.

Posted by: rory on September 17, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I would guess it is fair to say that a McCain/Palin administration wouldn't exactly take a leadership role.

Posted by: TBone on September 17, 2008 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Alaska has the highest rates of violence against women and children in the country and Palin fired the person championing the cause of these victims because of a personal family vendetta.

In my opinion the issue is fair game and deserves exposure. This is not gotcha politics -- it's a fundamental critique of Palin's qualification for office. Firing Monegan unjustly may even get her impeached in her home state.

Do the ad but never refer to Palin by name -- show a small picture of her and just call her Alaska's governor in the ad. Make the ad's tag line something like, "With all his years in office this is the best running mate John McCain could find? John McCain -- out of touch, not ready to lead."

The issue would strike a chord with Catholics, I'll tell you that.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 17, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with Dems is that they think if an attack draws blood, it's not playing fair.

Let's say we believe as a party that child molestation is wrong, and predators ought to be brought to justice. Then, this is a clear policy difference between the two - McCain is opposed to the child predator laws Obama supported, and Palin removed a sherrif for going after pedophiles, and made it a low priority.

So... can't we take issue with these stands, on purely policy grounds? Or does the fact that it's so damning make it "mean".

Posted by: Memekiller on September 17, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

rory, you missed the point entirely.

but, then again, considering the source, that's not surprising.

orange

Posted by: just bill on September 17, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

The ad is all set to go.

Posted by: SP

Officially forwarded everywhere, thank you!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on September 17, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Hey now! This is all very sexist. You can't criticize Palin! She's a girl! You are a sexist pig!

And for attacking McCain, you should be ashamed. He was a POW! He didn't see any child molesters to go easy on for over 5 years in his cell in Vietnam!

Bush had his magic words: "9/11!"

McCain has his magic words: "I was a POW!"

Palin has her magic words: "You're are sexist!

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on September 17, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

But fivethirtyeight.com still says that McCain is winning. The lies work on the 4% of the low-information voters who will decide the election. The thoughtful analysis appears only to be an amusement.

Discouraged

Posted by: Discouraged on September 17, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I think someone needs to ask Sarah Palin whether or not she thinks that rape is wrong. She certainly hasn't given any indication that she does.

I can speak for Palin on this:

"If a woman is raped, it is part of God's plan. We mustn't second-guess God's plan. If a rape victim becomes pregnant, or a girl is impregnated by her father, uncle, brother, etc, then THAT is also God's plan and we mustn't intefer in His plan.

Amen.

Oh my gosh! Witches over there! Witches over there! Out demon! OUT!"

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on September 17, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Of course Democrats should talk about this. Picking the vp is the first presidential decision. Palin reflects on McCain.

BTW, did you see that Palin spent $50,000 on remodeling her mayoral office without the needed council approval (yet had no money for rape kits)?
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/09/17/palin_mayor/

Obama need not talk about Palin. But shouldn't stop surrogates from doing so -- and we are all surrogates. If you haven't written an op-ed yet for a small to medium-size paper, you should. They need decent content and why not provide some yourself?

Posted by: democrat on September 17, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Ignore her. She's insignificant.

Except that she got McCain back in the game--McCain's better numbers come from Palin supporters.

So...rory. Woman to woman. Do you think it's OK for rape victims to be required to pay for their own rape kits? This is a Yes or No question.

Posted by: Lucy on September 17, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous.

In the state of Alaska, there are no dedicated detectives to investigate these vicious felonies, because the governor refuses to fund an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit.

They have no stories.

Posted by: Ken on September 17, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Ken:

In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous.

THAT would make a great lead-in to a commercial attacking Palin (and McCain). Same sort of voice-over.

Someone with the wherewithall needs to do it.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on September 17, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Given the propensity of sexual impropriety in the M/O of these toxic-waste-bred Neo-Republicans, it's now safe to say that Palin/McCain have secured the "Chester-the-Molester" vote. And---this is where Palin and I differ on a fundamental basis: While she hunts moose and protects child molesters, I would choose to hunt child molesters and protect moose....

Posted by: Steve on September 17, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

McCain spent five and a half years in a Vietnamese prison cell not being able to shield child molesters. Who are you to deny him that pleasure now?

Posted by: Stefan on September 17, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

And---this is where Palin and I differ on a fundamental basis: While she hunts moose and protects child molesters, I would choose to hunt child molesters and protect moose....

Awesome.

Posted by: Stefan on September 17, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Remind me why white women have shifted to this ticket? Gawd, that's appalling. Between this and the rape kits, why aren't there ads on this?

Posted by: short fuse on September 17, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, as tempting and large a target Palin is, please stop giving her the time of day. The real story is McCain. -JC

Attendance at Republican rallies suggest otherwise.

Ignore her. She's insignificant. -JC

Wrong. The more popular she is, the more she is seen driving the ticket, the more powerful of a Vice President she will be.

Are you honestly prepared to make a case that Dick Cheney was insignificant?

I think JC is correct, ignore Palin. Her approval numbers are dropping... -g.powell

Then you are also incorrect. Her numbers are dropping because the Democrats aren't ignoring her. To do otherwise would be perilous.

The real battle will to be rattle McCain. Make him look tired, flustered, irate. -g.powell

Don't you think the best way to frustrate the presidential wannabe is to make him feel ignored? He'll turn on his own running mate before long.

I will run out and vote for him right now. -rory

Rory, you petulant child, how the heck are you? Anyway, you should know the Republican Only Voting Engagement is not "right now," it's on Wednesday, November 5th. You won't have to wait in line with nasty liberals if you vote on that day.

Posted by: doubtful on September 17, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

So it would be ok in an Obama administration for his cabinet to go over Obama's head and directly to congress for support as long as it was a good cause, even if Obama wanted to wait and evaluate the program first and make sure that all the supporting agencies had adequate funding as well?

Well, if they did that they'd all be...wait for it...mavericks!

And that's a good thing, right?

Posted by: Stefan on September 17, 2008 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Ignore her. She's insignificant. (Or rather, she's only significant if elected and McCain croaks.)"

Therein lies the rub. I say she is not insignificant, and that it would be easy enough to take McCain "out of the picture" in a nondescript way that the people who are controlling Bush know a lot about.

Posted by: red@cted on September 17, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely not! McCain chose Palin, and it's our job to point out this stinking albotross at every given moment.

Almost anyone in the US with a brain already knows the issues and chose Obama. The job now is to make the low information voters sick to their stomach about McCain/Palin.

Posted by: anon on September 17, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

I see no reason why we can't highlight honest policy differences, like belief in punishing rapists and child molestors.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 17, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

mcThuseleh gave O a great big present yesterday. now it can be all mcDeregulation and mcNationofwhiners and mcCarlygoldenparachute. caribou barbie is an entertaining freakshow, but it's the economy, bullwinkle.

Posted by: benjoya on September 17, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

i heard mcGoo's 180 on regulation is causing some grumbling among the moneyed elites that largely fund his campaign. it was on the local radio (WNYC) so i don't have a link. anyone hear something similar?

Posted by: benjoya on September 17, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

OTOH, and back on topic, i think Rob Mac makes a good point:

The thing is, when you put these three together the picture is so outrageous that probably no one is going to believe it. They'll have to soft pedal this a little bit or everyone except for the dyed-in-the-wool McCain haters will just think it's a lie.

i mean, it's good that this is coming out, and highlighting the stonewalling on troopergate is a good way to link mcLame/Mooselini with Commander Codpiece, but again, mcElevenhouses just gave obama a fresh bludgeon.

Posted by: benjoya on September 17, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Its a fundamentalist Christian thing.

You see this from time to time in local elelctions. The fundamentalist home school nutcase types are so concerned that they be able to brainwash their children with their own beliefs that they lash out at any government attempt to protect children if it might in any way challenge their authority to fuck their kids up any way they want to. If that means being soft on sexual predators, so be it.

Nothing is more important to the Borg, er, fundamentalists than programming their children. It makes sense if you think about. If they didn't maintain an intensive program of breeding-cum-brainwash their numbers would quickly dwindle.

Posted by: The Fool on September 17, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"If the Obama campaign were the McCain campaign, how long do you think it would be before they cut an ad claiming that, as Alaska governor, Sarah Palin wanted to go easy on child molesters?"

If the Obama campaign were taking my advice, they'd run an ad mentioning all this stuff, and ending like this:

Voiceover: John McCain.

Words appear on screen: JOHN MCCAIN

Voiceover: He doesn't think you should be able to protect your child from a child molester.

Words appear on screen: CHILD MOLESTER

See how easy that is? Easy to defend, to. "We never said he molests children! Didn't you listen to the voiceover?"

Posted by: on September 17, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Couple decades ago ABC did a groundbreaking movie about child-molesting: "Something About Amelia". Father molests daughter and gets caught. In order to appease Jerry Falwell, the network made the family stay together--you know, "Family First"?--rather than what really happens. Glenn Close "understanding" her husband's crime instead of going after him with a chainsaw may have been the hardest acting she ever did.

You see, when a stranger does it, you lynch him; when Dad does it, you "keep the family together". Since nearly all of it is done by family members, I can see how social conservatives like Falwell and Palin would see two sides to the issue where normal people would see only one.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on September 17, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Given these various data points, it probably is worth taking a closer look at how Wingnuttia views accusations of sexual abuse. We know that prominent Republicans like to joke about rape ("if it's inevitable, lay back and enjoy it"-- TX gov candidate Clayton Williams AND insane hoops coach (and Bush family friend) Bob Knight).

The gist of that particular joke is that women only pretend not to like being physically and sexually overpowered because social propriety requires it. If it isn't a question of her 'honor', she (according to right-wingers holding the worldview implicit in the joke) really likes being raped. And of course, the pleasure isn't in the physical act or the attentiveness of the lover/rapist, but derives simply from being the object of a powerful man's lust.

Add to that the way that right-wingers, generally wont to snort at the rights of accused persons, turn into Alan Dershowitz if date rape is the charge, and it's fair to assume that the weirdness of the McCain-Palin ticket on sex offenses isn't an anomaly, but a window into how the right-wing views gender relations.

Posted by: kth on September 17, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

So it would be ok in an Obama administration for his cabinet to go over Obama's head and directly to congress for support as long as it was a good cause, even if Obama wanted to wait and evaluate the program first and make sure that all the supporting agencies had adequate funding as well?

So now the Palin defense is that we need more bureaucracy and more regulation? That caution and prudence are a good thing, but only when it comes to not going after people who rape children?

This reminds me of all those classic Eastwood/Stallone/Schwarenegger/Willis cop movies, the one where the rule-breaking maverick is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down the rapist, but the bureaucracy tells him to cool it until they evaluate the program first and make sure all the supporting agencies have adequate funding as well. And, as we all know, in those movies the audience always sympathizes with the bureaucrats, right?.....

Posted by: Stefan on September 17, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

You missed another aspect of this "explanation."

She also didn't want to piss off Senator Stevens because she wanted all her ducks (earmarks) in a row he approved of.

Check out the full AP report.

So not ONLY is she opposed to preventing sexual abuse, she's worried about her earmarks program getting off the rails.

BTW, I don't think it was just "child molestors," usually "sexual abuse" included adult rape, too. So put that together with her charging victims for their rape kits.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 17, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

this is where Palin and I differ on a fundamental basis: While she hunts moose and protects child molesters, I would choose to hunt child molesters and protect moose

Word.

Posted by: Gregory on September 17, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

So it would be ok in an Obama administration for his cabinet to go over Obama's head and directly to congress for support as long as it was a good cause, even if Obama wanted to wait and evaluate the program first and make sure that all the supporting agencies had adequate funding as well? -rory
I believe the current administration would refer to this activity as "Preemptive". In the event that Obama, a sovereign person, were out of step with the prevailing beliefs of the power elite, it is incumbent upon those in power to circumvent his authority. So, rory, I think you are contradicting your own position, vis a vis, Bush Doctrine.
The official in question was practicing Bush Doctrine and overriding Gov. or Mayor Palin's intransigence in not acting quickly and responsibly on the issue of sexual assault in the community for which she was responsible.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on September 17, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

I have 2 serious questions:

(1) How can she credibly claim that Monegan was insubordinate when she previously praised his work and offered him another job on the Alcohol Control Board (ABC)?
See KTVA 8-15-08 article, "Governor and staff's latest explanations leave more questions" (But weeks ago she praised Monegan for his abilities to solve those same issues when offering him a job as the director of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. "I recognized Frank Bailey, Boards and Commissions Director that Walt's interests and strengths could be put to good use as he could concentrate exclusively on a couple of issues that were his interest, that be bootlegging and alcohol problems in rural Alaska," said Palin on July 17th.); see also Gov. Palin Press RELEASE No. 08-122 (7/17/08).

(2) How can she claim she fired him because he wasn’t doing enough to combat bootlegging and alcohol abuse problems, yet offer him a new job in precisely that field?
See KTVA 8-15-08 article ("I was concerned also that we were not doing enough on continuing alcohol abuse issues that I wanted to see tackled, including the bootlegging issues in rural Alaska"); see also CNBC interview ('What does a VP do?' video) (“it was the Commissioner that we were seeking more results, more action to fill, uh, vacant trooper positions, to deal with bootlegging and alcohol abuse problems in our rural villages especially. Um, just needed some new direction, a lot of new energy in that position. That is why the replacement took place there of the Commissioner of public safety.”)

There are only 2 options here:

(A) She is lying, and in the process willing to play politics with state procedure and to smear the reputation of a well-respected police chief (not to mention lying about ever contacting or pressuring Monegan about Wooten);

or

(B) She is not lying, and she is so irrational that she offered a job to a guy to head up the ABC -- a task force she thinks is important (alcohol abuse/bootlegging, etc.) -- even though she claims she fired that same guy for failing to control alcohol abuse/bootlegging AND who she now accuses of insubordination.

Which one is it?

Posted by: JJ on September 17, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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