Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Palin Problem

While she started off as a great selection for Senator McCain, Governor Sarah Palin has been become consistently more burdensome for the GOP ticket. A recent ABC News poll shows that only 39% of Americans feel she is qualified to be President - significantly lower than it was only a month ago. And while her selection gives the Republican ticket a 6-point boost, it is only half of the boost that Senator Biden has given to Obama's prospects.

There is no question that Palin has helped McCain with the conservative base of the GOP. But following a month of damage - particularly in the Katie Couric interviews where she failed to name a Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade, and defended the claims that she has foreign policy experience due to Alaska's proximity to Russia - she has taken a slide in popularity.

Now things look even more dismal for her. The recent "Troopergate" investigation found that she and her husband Todd acted unethically in firing Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan. Monegan resisted pressure to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten after his bitter divorce with Palin's sister.

By the looks of it, it was more than a bitter divorce. Wooten is a likely alcoholic who used his taser on Palin's nephew and made threats against the family. While firing Monegan was technically legal, the personal nature of the case demonstrates an "abuse of power" according to independent investigator Stephen Branchflower.

So how will this effect the Presidential election?

The impact this will have on the McCain-Palin campaign is yet to be seen, but they are already on the defensive. Campaign spokeswoman Meg Stapleton decried the investigation as "a partisan-led inquiry run by Obama supporters."

The Alaska State Legislature now has the grounds for reprimanding or even censuring Governor Palin - but the prospects of such action are unlikely, especially before November 4th.

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