Facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees over her myriad ethics woes, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced she may launch a legal defense fund. Decrying "the political blood sport" including the "the politically motivated Troopergate probe" which have engulfed her over the past year, Palin may turn to supporters to pay off the half-million dollar debt she has incurred. Luckily, there's already a proven model for bankrolling the legal fights of Republican wrongdoers. As Scooter Libby showed, it's as easy as 1-2-3.
The first step, of course, is to tap into the deep pockets of well-heeled Republican faithful. On the day of his Plamegate indictment, former Cheney chief-of-staff Libby received a check, courtesy of former U.S. ambassador Richard Carlson. He was just one of the GOP who's who backing Libby, a conservative all-star list featuring Mary Matalin, Barbara Comstock, Steve Forbes, Jack Kemp, Alan Simpson and many more. Having already launched her obligatory political action committee (SarahPAC) to endear her to Republican candidates nationwide, Sarah Palin is well on her way to asking right-wingers nationwide to pay back the favor. (Of course, one would think her rumored multimillion dollar book deal would be sufficient to cover her costs.)
Second, Palin should follow Scooter Libby's lead in securing the allegiance of a prominent member of the media to plead her case. For Libby, this faithful mouthpiece was failed CNN and MSNBC host Tucker Carlson. From Libby's indictment and conviction through the commutation (but not full pardon) by President Bush, Carlson declared Scooter's innocence while savaging prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. (At no time, of course, did Tucker inform viewers that his father Richard was a key adviser to the Libby legal defense fund.)
Happily, it appears Palin can cross this item off her to do list as well. As ThinkProgress noted earlier this week, Fox News' Greta Van Susteren has made a cottage industry of fawning interviews with the Alaska Governor. That Van Susteren's husband Joan Coale also happens to be the man "guiding Palin's political image in Washington" (if not actually a paid adviser) is yet another serendipity.
The third and final step in mounting a successful and lucrative right-wing legal defense is to recruit a Republican presidential contender to your cause. For Scooter Libby, that role was played by former Tennessee Senator and TV star Fred Thompson. Another member of the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust, Thompson spoke publicly on Libby's behalf, including his May 12, 2007 tear-jerker:
"After years of sacrifice and service to his country, he sits at home with his wife and two children awaiting a prison sentence. His name is Scooter Libby."
Here, too, Palin already has a check mark: herself.
(This piece also appears at Perrspectives.)