Cloud!Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this before: High-ranking government official abuses their power to put a dedicated public servant out of a job, then hides behind the stone wall of omerta to ride out the subsequent investigation.  Yes, that would be Sarah Palin, totally justifying John McCain’s faith in her ability to be an effective Republican vice president.

It started out simply enough: Palin’s sister divorces State Trooper Mike Wooten, and it’s ugly, with lots of lurid but mostly uncomfirmed accusations against him.  Palin and her minions (including her perhaps-a-little-too-involved husband) lean on Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire Wooten, and then she fires Monegan when he refuses.

Only when the Alaska state legislature starts to investigate does the Cheneyishness really begin.

My favorite moment was when Palin filed an ethics complaint against herself, hoping that an executive branch investigation by the state’s Personnel Board would somehow invalidate the legislative investigation.  And, of course, it has the added advantage of enhancing Palin’s undeserved reputation as a good-government reformer.

Apparently that didn’t work out so well, so the Republican State Rep. from the North Pole(!) petitioned the chair of the legislature’s investigation to remove Democratic State Senator Hollis French as the investigation’s "project director."  You see, French said that the investigation was "likely to be damaging" and mentioned the possibility of impeachment.  The horror!  The… horror.  (Can we get Mr. French into Congress ASAP, please?)

And then there are the witnesses.  First they agreed to provide depositions voluntarily, so the legislative panel cancelled their August 18 meeting to consider subpoenas.  Then seven of them changed their minds over the past three days (what an amazing coincidence!).  Now subpoenas are not only back on the table, but the legislature has now moved their report date up to October 10th, thus making it that much harder for Team McPalin to stall it beyond Election Day.  Ha ha!

And, finally, there is Sarah Palin herself, who talks a good game about wanting to be open and accountable, but, well…

The legislature’s special counsel Steve Branchflower so far has not been able to depose either Palin or her husband, Todd. [Palin’s lawyer, Thomas] Van Flein indicated the governor likely will not agree to a deposition unless lawmakers turn the matter over to the Personnel Board.

"Assuming you agree to submit to proper jurisdictional process, we can check the Governor’s schedule to see when she and the First Gentleman are available for an interview," Van Flein wrote.

In other words, he’ll make Palin available to their investigation… if they agree to drop it.  Beautiful.  This is the same guy who called Branchflower’s attempts to contact Palin’s husband "a serious security breach that we may be obligated to report to the Secret Service."

Also, as the Anchorage Daily News notes, Palin is not exactly ordering her staff to cooperate with the investigation.

What is it about Republicans and the rule of law?  And when will they realize that the coverup makes them look far more dodgy than the initial crime itself?  And why on Earth would McCain choose a running mate with an unmarried pregnant daughter and a serious ethics investigation hanging over her head?

Just because Republicans don’t care about such things (only among their own, of course), doesn’t mean the rest of America doesn’t.