Nixon told the press in a conference call, "I'm angrier than words can describe." It's clear how he wants things to turn out. He's settled on Mark Templeton as the scapegoat. Probably the first of many.
This is a major reversal from two days ago, when he told reporters that communications could have been more "precise". It was a line you’d think you’d hear from a Little League coach, not a Governor.
Nixon is also calling for the inspector general of the department of corrections to investigate what his appointees have done. If he actually goes through with it - Bindbeutel and Mazur will suffer fates similar to Templeton, based solely on information that’s already available.
Nixon has yet to acknowledge his role in the debacle - either for his knowledge of the test results, responsibility for the behavior of his appointees, or the false information he has repeatedly spread. This new move can only be described as the nuclear option of crisis management.
But it may also be a clever political move. If he can pre-empt the Senate investigation and set things on his terms, he can better cover up his involvement. He wants people to think he's cleaning house, so they don't look under the rug to see what he's hiding.
At this point he really has no choice except try to get in front of the story and hope it doesn’t crash down on him - if he tries to stay silent, his administration is toast. What he has to worry about now is the angry responses from all the people he throws overboard. They won’t have any incentive to keep their mouths shut, especially with Nixon gunning for them in front of the cameras. Giving Bill Bryan (the new interim director) control over punishments in the DNR may be a way for Nixon to distance himself from the inevitable outrage.
We were right that Nixon’s earlier strategy was all about delay, delay, delay. Now we know what he was planning. If this is the best he can come up with, we’re disappointed.