Hat tip to AmericaBlog for this one.
In 2000, then-Governor Tony Knowles signed a bill in Alaska that ensured law enforcement around the state would pay for the processing of "Rape Kits" - forensics evidence collected in rape cases. Seemed common sense enough. Knowles noted, correctly, that we don't charge robbery victims the cost of dusting for prints, so why would be charge rape victims the cost of gathering evidence to apprehend their assailant?
Except one little town objected, and had previously refused to foot the bill to solve rape cases - Wasilla, under Mayor Sarah Palin.
Reported the local paper, The Frontiersman, at the time:
While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.
Now, look, maybe this was long-standing policy, instituted far before Palin took office in Wasilla. Maybe she had been appointing people who would overturn this policy. Uh, no. After taking office, Palin fired the police chief, Irl Stambaugh (which made her a subject of a recall effort) and replaced him with Charlie Fannon. Fannon's view of paying to solve rape cases?
Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.
So, for four years - from 1996, when Palin took office to 2000 when this law was passed - Palin didn't seem to have a problem with charging rape victims to solve their own crime. And if she did, she certainly didn't communicate that to her hand-picked Police Chief, who didn't have a problem with it.
I guess that's one way to be a "Maverick."
Of course, I'd be willing to say that Palin was just a part-time Mayor with very little oversight or responsibility, and it's unfair to say she could do something about it.
But, as Palin has made clear, being Mayor was "kiiiiiind of like being a community organizer, except you have actual responsibility." And, of course, John McCain and his campaign have made clear that as Mayor, Palin had a ton of responsibility and decision-making pressure, which is why she's ready to assume the Presidency from Day One.
As much as this seems like a post about Sarah Palin, it's really not. It's about John McCain. What I want to know is at what point in the vetting process, after going through Mayoral records, did the McCain campaign learn that Palin condoned the charging of rape victims the cost of processing rape kits? And after they found out, before he selected her, did he discuss the matter in the extensive discussions he had with Palin about her record and her views?
Oh wait, that's right he didn't do any of this, because he made his decision after a short phone call. And now he has, on his ticket, someone who didn't seem to think that charging rape victims for forensics processing in their rape cases was all that big of a problem. Or, at least it wasn't a big enough problem to use her "responsibility" to change the policy.
One heartbeat away from being President.