Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

EDITORIAL >>Shielding Palin

We are inclined to be philosophical about Gov. Sarah Palinís dearth of experience and knowledge if she can prove to the country that she is smart and honest, but secrecy and subterfuge are qualities that ought to be disqualifiers for the job of vice president or president.

So it was deeply troubling to see that Palin ó or perhaps it was her new handlers in the John McCain organization ó pulled the curtains over her administrationís personnel actions, specifically the efforts to fire a state policeman who used to be her brother-in-law.

Palin fired the public safety director after he refused repeated entreaties from Palinís staff and her husband to get rid of the man, who was in a child-custody battle with the governorís sister. A legislative committee dominated by members of her own party began an investigation to see if the trooper pressures violated the law. Palin welcomed it and said she and her staff would cooperate fully. Hold me accountable, she said.

That was before McCain picked her as his running mate. Now her husband and members of her staff are refusing to answer subpoenas and testify about what they did. Palin, or rather her spokespeople in the McCain campaign, say it is a Democratic witchhunt. The Alaska attorney general, appointed by Palin, says Palinís husband and everyone in her administration should ignore the legal subpoenas. Can you do that in Alaska?

All questions about Palinís activities and record as governor the past 20 months and as mayor of the town of Wasilla now are answered ó though real answers are seldom forthcoming ó by representatives of the McCain campaign. Palin staff members, including her press secretary, are now forbidden to answer any questions about what she did.

America does not need another vice president like that. Dick Cheney has stonewalled congressional inquiries about his conduct for nearly eight years. Now he is refusing to turn over documents that are required by a law governing executive branch records. Cheney maintains that, unlike the president, he is not a part of the executive branch of government and not subject to the laws.

John McCain has promised an open and accountable government. He disqualifies his running mate by cloning her in the image of Dick Cheney. He should let Sarah be Sarah so that Americans can decide whether she is suited to run the country.