One personality trait that both Republicans and Democrats could agree that Sarah Palin exhibits is control. However, there is sure disagreement about whether Palin’s obsession with control is a positive or negative trait.
In her short executive experience, Sarah Palin has already built up a long record of using executive power to control government employees in order to promote her political agenda – and firing those in government who get in her way.
There’s the instance of the librarian who refused to comply with Sarah Palin’s demands that books in the Wasilla public library be censored. Palin tried to fire librarian Mary Ellen Emmons because the librarian didn’t want to restrict the public’s access to books just to suit Palin’s fancy.
Then there was the case of Irl Stambaugh, the Wasilla Police Chief. Sarah Palin fired him without even saying why she was doing so. Stambaugh asked for an explanation, but Palin refused. “I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment,” is all she said. “You know in your heart when someone is supportive of you.”
You know in your heart whether government employees to fire? You fire them for lack of political support? Is that how Sarah Palin would make decisions as President if John McCain died and left her the Oval Office? Would she purge the government of political dissidents that she identified with her heart?
Chief Stambaugh asserts that he had offended people who had contributed to Sarah Palin’s campaign, including local members of the National Rifle Association. Stambaugh attempted to restrict the carrying of concealed weapons in Wasilla. He also worked to require bars to close their doors at 2:00 AM after a series of drunk driving incidents. Bar owners allegedly supported Sarah Palin in order to keep the alcohol flowing, and get Stambaugh out of their way.
The fondness Sarah Palin has for establishing control by firing government employees her heart feels a grudge toward has continued with Palin’s short term as Governor. Most infamously, there is the case in which Sarah Palin used the power of her public office to target her sister’s ex-husband: State Trooper Mike Wooten. There are serious allegations against both Mike Wooten and Sarah Palin. It is alleged that Palin fired Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan when Monegan refused to fire Wooten at Palin’s request.
The entire truth of the matter isn’t yet known, because the Alaska legislature’s investigation is still underway. Yet, instead of allowing the legislature’s investigation to continue out in the open, Sarah Palinis trying to stop the investigation and replace it with one of her own. Palin proposes having her alleged misconduct investigated by her own administration, with a board comprised completely of her own political appointees. Those people know Sarah Palin’s record of firing people who refuse to bend to her will. Their positions depend upon their ability to make Sarah Palin happy.
Whatever actually happened between Palin, Wooten and Monegan, the fact that Sarah Palin is attempting to use her power as Governor to crush an independent investigation of the matter is troubling in itself. It seems that Palin ascribes to the model of executive power that George W. Bush has inflicted upon America. She is using her power to place herself above accountability, even as she asserts the ability to hold others accountable on nothing more than her whim. Sarah Palin, like George W. Bush, seems to think of herself a law unto itself, beyond the control of the people she claims to represent, and yet able to impose her control upon others.
Palin supporters call that being a maverick. To me, it looks more like being an autocrat.