Friday, February 05, 2010
You've Got Mail
Coming home from ingesting a Teriyaki cheese steak gut bomb (the second in as many days - the blogmate and I finally got together last night at IJ's for burgers and beer), I caught the tail end of Alaska News Nightly.
That little story about the 1,500 Palin emails finally released to MSNBC by the State, after - what - a good year and 1/2 of foot dragging? Now that was a precious thing to hear. It gave me the tiniest glimmer of hope that maybe this is the tail of the rope that will not so much hang her as finally shut her the hell up.
Although I don't usually surf for news, preferring to get mine in the diluted pabulum form that is the News Miner (because I just can't shake the habit of a morning cuppa with news that I can hold in my hand), I had to go to MSNBC to check it out. The story more than satisfied.
Before I veer off into the outrage that engulfed me despite the fact that I should be totally numb to palinography, let me note the network's stroke of genius: its invite to channel our inner muckraker by combing through an online database of the Palin emails, and to help MSNBC reporters connect the dots of this travesty of governance that was the Palin administration. What a nifty way to recruit eyes to help sift the gold from the dross as more and more of these emails start flowing in.
That the State tried to buffle its way out of this public records request by claiming it would cost $15M didn't raise this blogger's eyebrows. As a veteran of many a public records request battle with the State, I know that little trick. I have had some fairly outrageous price tags thrown at me when I wanted records that weren't going to put a particular State Division in a very good light. I also famously once had a notebook hurled at me by [redacted], then head of the Division of [redacted], who shouted at me that from then on, he was instructing his employees to buy their own notebooks for meeting notes so they couldn't be obtained through a public records request.
Obviously Palin isn't the first state official to have the misbegotten notion that if state officials use "private" media to memorialize and communicate state business this makes them immune from the public right to know.
And that is where my outrage just refuses to be stifled. Are the Palins arrogant or ignorant, or some lethal combination of both? I just don't know, but I fear it is the latter - which is the most dangerous to our civil rights and democracy. Because who really buys (other than the Tea Partiers, the Fundys and other extreme right wing nuts) the Palin camp spin on this: that the emails merely reflect the spousal succor that Todd offered his wife in her tough job as Governor.
How stupid do they think we are? Of course, wives and husbands of people in public office are sounding boards and advisors, and yes, they do have a lot more information about what really happens during the execution of official duties and responsibilities than others outside that private circle. But that sure as hell aint the same thing as being in direct contact with employees of the Governor's Office and essentially conducting business the same as if one was the Governor. Which is how a whole lot of those released emails read.
Truthfully, I find the emails from Sarah trying to hide the fact that we Alaskans paid for electrical upgrades for her tanning bed amusing, and as with the Corrupt Bastards Club, a bit embarrassing. If I have said it once, I have said it a 1000 times: our corrupt politicians are sooo petty and cheap. Free wiring, dry-cleaning and flights for their brood, or maybe an electric massage chair and a large propane barby for the king salmon on the newly remodeled wrap around deck; these guys and gals (don't leave Bev Masek out of the mix) barely think beyond the double-wide.
Nope, I got a feeling these emails are going to be a lot like the Bill Allen secret videos. I suspect when its all digested and analyzed, they will reveal corruption and abuse of power. This time around its not a bunch of good ole boys guzzling beer, scratching their nuts and using potty mouth as they talk about who they are going to buy. But its the same vile brew of venality, self-aggrandizement and parochialism.
Sarah may have racked up a $150K tab on her campaign wardrobe, but all too soon I think its going to be clear the Empress has no clothes.