I had no plans to write another column about Alaskan governor and Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin this week, but after her announcement on Monday that she’s refusing to meet with investigators in her state probing her firing of a state official, I had to chime in.

There’s something shady going on in Alaska with Palin, the so-called fresh face and reformer. Investigators are probing whether she unjustly fired a state official who refused to do her bidding in firing a state trooper who was once married to her sister. This sounds like something out of a soap opera. You can’t call yourself a reformer out of one side of your mouth and on the other side say you’re not going to meet with a public investigator looking into possible ethical violations.

According to news reports, Palin says she didn’t pressure the official to fire her former brother-in-law and claims the firing was related to poor job performance. Again, where’s the evidence from these lying Republicans? Common-sense questions they can never answer. Is there an evaluation from his supervisor stating poor performance before or around the time of his firing? What job or responsibility as Alaska Public Safety commissioner did Walt Monegan not perform before Palin gave him the boot?

Palin’s brother-in-law had been in a bitter divorce and custody battle with her sister in 2005, before Palin became governor in ’06. Now, wouldn’t a clear-minded, reform governor in that situation recognize an obvious conflict of interest and not take part in anything involving this matter? Not Palin. She couldn’t fire the brother-in-law outright, perhaps because she knew it would look like obvious revenge or payback. This is big-city, shakedown politics coming from a small-town mayor. As a Chicagoan reared under the two Daley political machines, I’m almost impressed. But as a common-sense, thinking voter, I know better.

But what’s really going on here? What is Palin trying to hide? We want Washington cleaned up from Republican corruption. We don’t need to send McCain and Palin to Washington while dragging this never-ending scandal behind them to the White House. But maybe that’s their plan. Get elected and use executive privilege to undermine the investigation. That’s what President George W. Bush did in several of his scandals. This is typical Watergate stuff; a tricky Nixonian move.

Palin and the Republicans are attempting a pre-cover up. Refuse to take part in the investigation. Stonewall, ratchet up your enemies list, and scream that this is all a partisan witch hunt by Democrats. That doesn’t fly because the bipartisan, five-person panel in her state legislature looking into all this is majority Republican. What Democrats are involved in this alleged conspiracy to harm Palin politically and personally? The Alaskan governor is clearly out of her league concerning foreign policy, but she’s well versed in the Watergate excuse playbook. Every time a prominent Republican is caught dirty dealing, the right-wing attack machine says it’s a political witch hunt by Democrats, but can never offer any proof or even a hint of it.

Palin originally lied and said no pressure was applied from her office. Then, e-mails and phone records surfaced showing one of her aides indeed trying to shake down Monegan, who was fired on July 11. Palin then gave the old “I knew nothing about this” response. Then, all of a sudden, she concocts this tale about firing him because he didn’t support her reform efforts. When did she realize he wasn’t backing her reform efforts? It took her two years to figure that out? Was he the only person fired who allegedly wasn’t falling into line? And why didn’t she say all that in the beginning instead of playing innocent? You know why? Because she’s a shady, lying, federal-money-grabbing GOP politician … but she’s ready to be president and reform the federal government.

And who selected her? John McCain, who’s so rich he can’t keep up with how many homes he and his wife own; who’s more connected with lobbyists than most Washington politicians from either party in the Senate or the House; and who’s spent the summer making all kinds of incoherent policy statements and outright lying on several issues … but he’s the better person to be president.

This ain’t lipstick on a pig-it smells like a rat.