Friday, September 05, 2008

Politicizing an investigation

It appears the McCain campaign’s previously reported stall tactics are not having the intended effect on the investigation into whether Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin improperly fired a public safety officer who refused to fire a state trooper after a messy divorce from Palin’s sister. In fact, it may have had the opposite effect. But appearances can be deceiving.
ABC News has exclusively learned that Alaska Senator Hollis French will announce today that he is moving up the release date of his investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her office to get the Alaska public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, fired. The results of the investigation were originally scheduled for release Oct. 31 but will now come almost three weeks earlier, according to sources.

The announcement is set for 9 a.m. AKDT time.

The Alaska state senator running an investigation of Gov. Palin had accused the McCain campaign of using stall tactics to prevent him from releasing his final report by Oct. 31, four days before the November election.
There are two possibilities here, and neither speaks well of a potential McCain administration.

One possibility is that McCain lacks the juice to sway an obscure state senator. If that’s the case, how seriously can we expect foreign heads of state to take him? Could it be that he’s already irrelevant, two months before the election?

The other possibility is that this is an agreement engineered to give the campaign space and to save face for everyone involved. The decision to move up the report’s release date might actually help the McCain campaign because this gives Repubicans time to get their talking points in order and muddy the water well before the election. Plus, a month is an eternity in politics, and it’s likely that some other bullshit will come along and distract voters before election day.

So perhaps the McCain camp saw that it was getting nothing but bad press (what little of it there was) for trying to delay the release of the report and looked as if it has something to hide. This way, the GOP has a month to react to the report and spread its bullshit, voters have a month to forget about it and both state Sen. French and the McCain camp save face: French is standing up to the national political machine—not only refusing to delay the report, but also moving up the release date; and McCain and Palin no longer appear to be obstructionists. (Don’t be surprised if the campaign claims it encouraged French to move up the release date in order to “get the facts out there and clear the air as soon as possible.”)

Why else would French change the scheduled release date for the report? If he really wants to show that the McCain campaign has no influence on his investigation, he shouldn’t change a thing, and release the report on the date it was originally scheduled to be released. It might not appear to be the outcome the McCain camp wanted, but there’s no denying that the campaign’s involvement influenced the release date of the report. And for a political campaign to interfere or influence an investigation like this is wholly inappropriate.

If nothing else, this is a preview of what we can expect from a McCain presidency.

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