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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Barracuda: An Alaska Gal With An Alabama Heart

The more we learn about Sarah Palin, the more she seems like a character from Karl Rove's Alabama.

In fact, Palin reminds us of a specific Deep South conservative character--Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

Palin, the governor of Alaska and John McCain's surprise choice as a running mate, almost certainly is hotter, smarter, and more competent than Martin. But that isn't saying much.

Palin calls herself a "hockey mom," and that would set her apart in football-mad Alabama. And I doubt that Martin knows how to "field dress a moose," as Palin apparently does. But when it comes to political behavior and professional ethics, Palin and Martin seem like soul sisters.

Both of them have a remarkable penchant for costing people their livelihoods and then lying about it.

In the six days that Palin has been in the national spotlight, we've learned that as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she fired the police chief and the city administrator and tried like heck to fire the city librarian. That doesn't even count her most famous hatchet job--going after state trooper Mike Wooten and eventually firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan when he refused to fire Wooten.

Has Palin dealt with the situation honestly? Ummm, nope. First, she said no one from her staff had pressured Monegan to fire Wooten. Then evidence surfaced, including an audiotape, showing that several staff members had pressured Monegan. Now, we learn from the Washington Post that Palin herself had e-mailed Monegan, expressing her frustration that Wooten still was on the job.

TPM Muckraker reports more evidence today that Palin has not acted honestly in Troopergate and that her legal strategy in the case is not supported by law.

Palin's problems with the truth do not stop with the trooper story. TPM Muckraker reports that her image as a reformer does not square with the facts. And Associated Press reports today that Palin's speech last night at the Republican National Convention was riddled with errors.

What about Alice Martin? Well, that's a subject we Alabamians know something about. We know that she lied under oath in an employment lawsuit involving former assistant U.S. attorney Deirdra Brown Fleming. We know that she brought a bogus case against Huntsville defense contractor Alex Latifi, ruining his business. Martin's misconduct is going to cost taxpayers about $500,000 in compensation for Latifi.

And then we have my own case. When Raw Story broke the story of my termination from UAB, reporter Lindsay Beyerstein raised the issue of Martin's possible involvement. The connections are quite clear. I had broken several stories on this blog about Martin's misconduct in office. I also had broken numerous stories about misconduct by Alabama attorney William E. Swatek and his judicial cronies in Shelby County. Bill Swatek just happens to be the father of Dax Swatek, who was Alice Martin's campaign manager when she ran for statewide office in 2000. Dax Swatek used to work for Bill Canary, who probably is responsible for Martin's appointment as U.S. attorney. For good measure, Bill Canary has strong ties to Karl Rove, and the two helped turn Alabama's appellate courts into a Republican playground in the 1990s.

Beyerstein sought Martin's comments for the Raw Story piece, and the U.S. attorney stalled for quite some time. At the last minute, Martin issued a written statement, refusing evidently to take questions. I showed that almost every sentence in Martin's written statement was filled with pure excrement.

So you can see why the "pit bull" from Alaska reminds us of the "prosecutor" from Alabama.

Sarah Barracuda, meet the Malice of Alice.

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