February 6, 2010

When he was elected in 1992, Bill Clinton openly admitted that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be an active and engaged member of his inner team, with jokes about "two Clintons for the price of one!", much to the disgust and outright hostility of the right wing. How dare Hillary Clinton be so presumptuous as to believe that her non-elected status as the spouse of the President gave her the right to sit in policy meetings and advise her husband on matters of national importance?

Don't look now, GOP, but it appears we have another case of "two for the price of one":

Nearly 3,000 pages of e-mails that Todd Palin exchanged with state officials, which were released to msnbc.com and NBC News by the state of Alaska under its public records law, draw a picture of a Palin administration where the governor's husband got involved in a judicial appointment, monitored contract negotiations with public employee unions, received background checks on a corporate CEO, added his approval or disapproval to state board appointments and passed financial information marked "confidential" from his oil company employer to a state attorney.While 1,200 separate e-mails were released this week, 243 others were withheld by the state under a claim that executive privilege extends to Todd Palin as an unpaid adviser to the government. Still, just the subject lines of those e-mails provide a glimpse of the ways the Palins divvied up their responsibilities when she became governor in December 2006, less than two years before Republican Sen. John McCain pulled her onto the national political stage by nominating her as his vice presidential candidate.You can read all those e-mails in msnbc.com's searchable online archive.

While there is no instruction manual for First Spouse involvement, there's little doubt that Todd's input on Alaskan governmental issues was more than merely 'advising' Sarah Palin. Given that they sought to suppress knowledge of Todd's membership in the extremist AIP party, it does beg the question how much his far-right secessionist beliefs played into his influence on matters of judicial appointments and other matters of state.

It also shines a new light on the news that the Palins jointly cheated on their taxes by never declaring two properties built on parcels they owned as Palin ran on a platform of cleaning up Alaskan corruption:

It was things like this that really made Sarah Palin stand out as a gubernatorial candidate. Republicans in the state were sick of the corruption that was running rampant in their own party, and they wanted change. They wanted a "fresh face" who had new ideas and ethical standards. They wanted someone who was actually bothered by a public official who would cheat his community by passing his personal tax burden on to others.

Ironically, Palin refused to do a commercial endorsing another candidate when it came out that he had an unpaid tax debt.

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