For your reference as you listen, the cast of characters is:

Frank Bailey, Governor Palin’s chief of boards and commissions, who is making the phone call. He may remind you of the oily, heavy-handed supervisor in the movie “Office Space.” (“Uh, yeah, if you could take care of that, that would be terrrr-ific.”)

Rodney Dial, police lieutenant, recipient of Bailey’s call. Dial is being squeezed by the Governor’s office to build a fire under his own boss to fire a state trooper.  

Walt Monegan, public safety commissioner, Lt. Dial’s boss, who is caught between the Governor’s office, state law, and the possibility of being sued by the trooper, Mike Wooten.

Mike Wooten, Palin’s ex-brother-in-law, the trooper who the Governor wants fired after she says she personally heard him physically threaten her sister during a divorce argument.

The legal questions are: (1) whether Governor Palin improperly obtained her brother-in-law’s confidential worker’s comp records, and (2) whether she illegally tried to pressure Commissioner Walt Monegan to terminate Wooten.

Here’s The Recording:  What a fascinating display of political strong-arming. After brief congenial chit-chat, Bailey lobs the fear grenade. Palin had said her actions were merely intended to alert Monegan about threats to her family from trooper Wooten. But rather than focusing on this, Bailey first talks about the embarrassment of a custody hearing that might require the Governor’s testimony.

Frank Bailey speaks with Lt. Dial about the Palin family’s displeasure regarding Monegan’s lack of more strenuous action than Wooten’s five day suspension already carried out. Bailey plows on, unloading an arsenal of charges, small and large. Wooten took his kids to school in the patrol car. Wooten had declared bankruptcy. He made the department look bad and was “a horrible recruiting tool.” He shot a moose while on worker’s comp.

Lt. Dial zeroed in on the worker’s comp angle. He asked Bailey, “How’d you get that information? It’s extremely confidential.” Bailey’s lame reply: “Well, uh, I’m a little bit reluctant to say.” You can bet he was.

Dial then wanted to know if “the Administration expressed these concerns to the commissioner?” Bailey: “Yes, yes. . . I don’t think there’s anything wrong with [you] bringing it up to the commissioner.” He said he was unaware if there was any investigation in progress. Lt. Dial sounded increasingly alarmed and expressed how important the Governor’s goodwill was to the department.  

During the course of  “24 calls over 17 months,” Monegan had warned Palin that every time she discussed this with him, it was “discoverable,” and asked her, “Do you want this trooper to own your house?”
State Senator Hollis French, appointed to investigate the matter, noted that if Palin was involved, “it would be a violation of state law.” He added that she had made a blanket denial and then retracted it, thus causing “a credibility problem.” French said he also would be trying to ascertain how Palin’s office had obtained confidential information from Wooten’s file.

Was there pressure? Bailey to Dial again: “She likes Walt a lot, but she doesn’t know why on this issue there hasn’t been any action on this for a year. It’s very, very troubling to her and the family. I can definitely relay that.”

Palin suspended Bailey with pay, saying she knew nothing about this call, and Bailey said no one asked him to make it. If you believe that after listening to this tape recording, there is a Bridge to Nowhere you can buy for the price of a double mooseburger. Any call like this from a governor’s office is going to be intimidating.

Monegan was fired, just like his predecessor and then his successor. This seems to be Governor’s Palin’s single management tool–intimidate or fire people. Many reports are coming out by Alaskans who say they are afraid of her retaliations or terminations. These reports are from ordinary people, not just the “corrupt” or the “good old boy network.” Whatever the lawyers conclude about Troopergate, Palin appears to be more of an autocrat than a leader, conciliator, manager, or coalition builder. This might work in Alaska. It will never work in Washington.

Sarah Palin is Dick Cheney in lipstick, minus the experience.

So if Mr. French could, like, you know, maybe, get that report out to the American people, say, before election day, well, that would be terrrr-ific.

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