Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 2, 2008
By: Hilzoy

Curiouser And Curiouser

Ben Smith in Politico:

"I can't remember the last introduction to the national scene this rocky, and it gets worse every hour -- and even before the investigative reporters have settled in to Anchorage.

Just got off the flight to St. Paul to find, in my inbox: a second source confirming her past membership in a secession-minded fringe group, her lawyering up in an inquiry the AP slugged "Troopergate," and -- insult to injury -- another woman claiming she was actually Miss Congeniality in the Miss Wasilla '84 contest.

The name on the tongues of gleeful Dems, meanwhile: Eagleton."

TPM Election Central adds a few more bits like the fact that Palin "relied on an earmark system she now opposes", as well as supporting the Bridge to Nowhere before the funding was cut. Which, of course, means that when she said "I told Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that bridge to nowhere," she wasn't exactly telling the truth.

And besides all that, she was a Director of Ted Stevens' 527 corporation, and hired his former chief of staff as a lobbyist for Wasilla. (Question: why does such a small town need a lobbyist? "Of 149 incorporated places in Alaska, just six of them had paid registered lobbyists in 2002, including Wasilla, lobbying records show.")

Of these stories, Palin's past membership in the Alaskan Independence Party seems the most damaging to me. The Party's Introduction page has this quote from its founder:

"I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

Its goal has its own separate page:

"The Alaskan Independence Party's goal is the vote we were entitled to in 1958, one choice from among the following four alternatives:

1) Remain a Territory.
2) Become a separate and Independent Nation.
3) Accept Commonwealth status.
4) Become a State.

The call for this vote is in furtherance of the dream of the Alaskan Independence Party's founding father, Joe Vogler, that Alaskans achieve independence under a minimal government, fully responsive to the people, and promoting a peaceful and lawful means of resolving differences."

Here's its platform, and here are its statements on issues. Among its positions are the reclamation of all federal land through homesteading, the abolition of all property taxes, the prohibition of all bureaucratic regulations not expressly passed by the legislature, "the right of jurors to judge the law as well as the facts," and a host of other things. But their main goal is the vote on independence mentioned above, which should be "a true plebecite according to international law, only legal Alaskan citizens, it is in the language of the people, federal military and their dependants are not legal citizens and will not be allowed to vote in this plebescite." (So much for the right of military personnel to register to vote where they live, like the rest of us. Although since they don't spell out who counts as a "legal Alaskan citizen", maybe the rest of us wouldn't have the right to vote in the plebiscite either.)

On the Party's website, there's an article by Joe Vogler explaining what he thinks was wrong with the original vote by which Alaskans chose statehood. I got about halfway through it and became unable to read carefully (it's long, and not well-written.) If anyone makes it through, please feel free to correct the provisional opinion that follows. That said: as far as I can tell, this is one of those articles that voluble cranks write when they encounter something that sets them off. Documents are adduced, footnotes proliferate, there is every appearance of monstrous erudition, and yet the whole thing makes no sense. Reading it reminded me of the time I was at a survivalist convention (don't even ask), and someone tried to explain to me, in excruciating detail, why the entire income tax was illegitimate.

This is a nutty organization. It is, moreover, an organization whose founder took his views, and the Party's, to imply that he was not an American.

The McCain campaign has been more than willing to question Obama's patriotism on the basis of nothing at all. Yet when asked about Sarah Palin's past membership in a secessionist party, "a McCain spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment."

Hilzoy 1:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (84)

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The AIP sounds like the Alaskan cousin of the Canadian Social Credit (SoCred) Party. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit_Party_of_Canada. Incidentally, everyone here now thinks that the SoCreds were crazy, and Canada is much more federalist country. But that being said, the current Harper government (a minority government) is usually taken to be a direct descendant of the Alberta SoCreds. Both AIP and SoCred parties are profoundly libertarian, and make a degree of sense in the relatively unpopulated wilderness. That doesn't mean the sensibility that makes a degree of sense there translates well to other more populated areas.

Posted by: lisainvan on September 2, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

It's not that they're wack-o. It's that here, there is a very legitimate question about Palin's patriotism. When she belongs to a secessionist party that says the following: "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." I'm sorry. After all the insinuations about Obama's patriotism with absolutely no basis, this is a fair question. Does she love this country? Why did she belong to a single issue group if she doesn't believe in their single issue - the right of Alaska to secede?

This is a perfect item to pushback against media bias. They treated Obama's patriotism as a legitimate point of inquiry in DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATES. There is no reason not to ask if Palin loves her country, and if so, why she wants to separate from the United States.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 2, 2008 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Enjoying a little insomnia, I decided to continue observing this remarkable train wreck, when what should I find at politico.com but an article explaining how all of this mess may yet help the Republican ticket because it makes the Palin family seem so average, so "like us" to the typical American voter.

I've been surprised a lot by American politics in my lifetime...but I don't see that happening.

Posted by: mrsaturdaypants on September 2, 2008 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

I was joking to a friend earlier today if it was possible to go another 12 hours without a new Sarah Palin scandal. Guess not!

Posted by: Alex C on September 2, 2008 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Just asking: What if it were revealed that Obama had once been a member of a party that advocated secession from the USA? Or even he selected a VP who had been?

Remember, it's a "liberal" media out there.

Posted by: Orson on September 2, 2008 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

A secessionist a heartbeat away. Let's run with it.

Posted by: MB on September 2, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

We may be witnessing the Gotterdammerung of the Bush Republican party. Republicans disgusted with Bush and his administration's colossal incompetence hoped, I think, that a McCain presidency would at least maintain the status quo of tax cuts and looting -- act as a place marker -- until a more ideological candidate came along.

Now, they're faced with a candidate they were never crazy about becoming a bigtime loser before he is nominated. Affaire Palin make the Eagleton Incident look a typo. The Dems can sit quietly, eating popcorn. The hated corporate MSM/liberal press is on this like a new Watergate.

In my opinion, Obama needs to stay above the fray and leak cabinet appointments every week. He should say to Republicans, "I feel your pain."

Posted by: alibubba on September 2, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

To say my past affiliation with the Alaskan Independence Party means I hate this country and want to leave the Union is prejudice, pure and simple. Would you automatically assume a member of the Green Party is an environmentalist?

Posted by: Sarah Palin on September 2, 2008 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

With Congressional approval ratings at, like 6%, who will perceive this is a negative? I still feel like an idiot for sending George Bush $25 in 2004. But Sarah makes me itchy.

I think in the name of balance, we need to note that Sarah probably did not consider anybody who calls for the Almighty Damnation of the Nation to be her spiritual advisor. She also probably did not launch her career from the home of a friend who bombed government buildings.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on September 2, 2008 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Just asking: What if it were revealed that Obama had once been a member of a party that advocated secession from the USA? Or even he selected a VP who had been?"

Good point. And what if the Obamas had a teenage daughter pregnant out of wedlock? Would James Dobson and the other Christian fascists be preaching forgiveness? Would the full mooners over at The Corner be saying "Just let this story die?"

Posted by: Just a Dude on September 2, 2008 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Also note that there is a Constitutional issue here:

Article 4 Section 3

"The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state. "

The Congress gets to decide....period, about what gets on the ballot. F u Alaska Independence Party. Scumbag traitors.

Anyone that wants to secede, as far as I am concerned, is an enemy of the American people/state and should be stripped of citizenship and deported or jailed. An American seceding? No thanks, we went through that once already.

Posted by: Bob H on September 2, 2008 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Prediction:
When Palin declines the nomination she (and the GOP) will blame the media, blogs, and Democrats for exposing her daughters pregnancy. They will use her daughters pregnancy as cover (the needing to spend more time with family defense)and the media will largely give McCain a free pass on the whole "judgment" thing because no one wants to pile on a women nominated as the VP, especially one whose daughter's pregnancy was just trotted out for the whole world to see. The media will be loathe to pile on her for her connections to secessionist movements and ethical lapses. Haven't we done enough to her already?" they'll think.

"See," they McCain will say, "Look how awful the democrats are, they beat up on a women AND her daughter so bad that she resigned in order to not put her family through hell."

Make no mistake: Sarah Palin chose to run, knowing this would be a factor. She, however unfair it is, put her daughter in this situation during what must be a very difficult time and then hoped that no one would notice. Now, one could argue that this is not a fair dichotomy-- that children should remain off limits. And I agree. It's been truly awful to watch the feeding frenzy around this poor young women. She doesn't deserve any of this. But she's going to get it, anyway. Because that's the way our media echo chamber works. Any politician that is worth their druthers should know this, too, and make a judgment. Palin sounds like an astute politician. Knowing this, it makes her choice that much more unforgivable.

And then there is the question of Palin vis a vis McCain's judgment, which has already been analyzed to death so I won't include that here.

But that's not going to be the story. It'll be the dems and the "politics of destruction". I hope I'm wrong. But I kinda doubt I am.

The judgment of McCain and Sarah Palin will not be put on trial but her daughter will be publicly humiliated. And that's the exact opposite of how it should be. Yup, sounds about right.

Posted by: sockit2me on September 2, 2008 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Follow the lobbyist. That's the trail that brought her to the McCain campaign's attention ...

Posted by: SteinL on September 2, 2008 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Say; are you baking up little McCain gingerbread men in that brick oven, Bill? As I've mentioned before, the Rightwads have already tried to get traction with both those stories, and failed. If there was anything serious there, they'd have been able to make a case. They haven't. Once more, it's not from lack of trying.

I get it. You like McCain for president. You like Sarah Palin for vice-president. So vote that way. Nobody is making you vote for Obama, and nobody is trying to make you like him. If you discover something new, run with it. In the meantime, your breathless and repeated Reverend Wright/Tony Rezko disclosures are getting a little stale.

orange

Posted by: Mark on September 2, 2008 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

To be fair, a secessionist in Alaska is probably a much different person than a secessionist in South Carolina. I'm not defending her, I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Matt on September 2, 2008 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Just to see how the Palin stories were being covered I watched 2-3 hrs of CNN over the day. Needless to say they are spending RIDICULOUS amounts of time talking about Palin's family life. Unfortunately, they are insisting sexist questions are being raised (without attribution) and even as an ardent Obama supporter I felt enormous sympathy for the Palin family.

CNN is also spending some time on Troopergate but because there is not much direct evidence to report they just endlessly repeat McCain talkingpoints. McCain says this is a non-issue. McCain says she was thoroughly vetted. etc...

There are many, many very real issues to be raised about Palin but sympathy for the McCain campaign will harden if the current assault continues. Democratic surrogates need to be pushing the Alaska Independence Party questions and Palin's 'reformer' hypocrisy. The facts on these two issues have been more-or-less established and seem like they would be effective without the risk of backlash.

It would be a shame for the Obama campaign to take a hit simply because the MSM love to gossip. Surrogates with some distance need push the narrative toward more productive ground.


Posted by: sven on September 2, 2008 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Eagleton?

No, my prediction is that from now on out, Eagleton will be replaced and forgotten, and the name they'll use in campaigns years from now will be:

"Are you Crazy? Do you want another Sarah Palin?!"

Posted by: on September 2, 2008 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

There is a video of this years AIP convention in a diary at Kos right now that has some disturbing footage.

Vice Chairman of the AIP, Dexter Clark, not only boasts that she was an AIP member before she was Mayor of Wasilla, and that she was the AIP's preferred candidate for Governor. He is also caught on tape revealing the party's strategy - stating openly that the AIP's only real hope of achieving their goals is by political subterfuge. In one of the clips posted at Kos, Clark talks about the necessity of infiltrating the major national parties in order to further the goals of the AIP.

Posted by: Blue Girl on September 2, 2008 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Haven't read all the comments in the mini-report, so don't know if anyone caught this. David Gregory reported tonight that a Republican Party Official he was talking to referred (approvingly) to Sarah Palin as ...

"A rock star."

I don't remember chasing any white rabbits with waistcoats.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 2, 2008 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

To be fair, a secessionist in Alaska is probably a much different person than a secessionist in South Carolina. I'm not defending her, I'm just sayin'.

Yes. It means she doesn't hate the country enough to leave it because of slavery, but drilling.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 2, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon, you know what I mean. It has the crazy factor, but not really (for me) the creepy factor. That's all I was saying.

Posted by: Matt on September 2, 2008 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see what all the fuss is about. You folks were in favor of Kosovo getting its independence because of its ethnic concerns. Why not Alaska? In fact, I think they should add a fifth option to the ballot: that Alaska become part of the Russian sphere of influence, under the benevolent protection of the Russian armed forces. After all, it's right next door.

Posted by: Vladimir Putin on September 2, 2008 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Sven: I watched CNN for a little while today (haven't done that in years) and whatever they were saying didn't come across as beating up on Palin. They have also clearly mentioned Obama's position, where he unequivocally asked his supporters to keep private family affairs out of the election.

You are right, Palin's association with the secession demanding AIP is a story. I noticed that got some space in print in Tue's NYTimes. This is too good a story for the MSM to let go. If they can validate that story, they will run with it. They can't let the NYTimes own the entire story.

Conservatives have been able to look past Bush's AWOL story despite professing to love military service and they were able to look past many, many shortcomings in their candidates and elected officials, so they won't find it hard to look past Palin's association with a secessionist party. But the independents who McCains hopes to woo may not be so keen on having a secessionist a heart beat away from the world's most powerful office.

Posted by: rational on September 2, 2008 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Here's one of my favourite Konservative Kooks, David Brooks, over at the New York Times;

"John McCain is not a normal conservative. He has instincts, but few abstract convictions about the proper size of government. He’s a traditionalist, but is not energized by the social conservative agenda. As Rush Limbaugh understands, but the Democrats apparently do not, a McCain administration would not be like a Bush administration."

Oh, now I feel better. Rush Limbaugh understands. David, in my experience, when you start citing Rush Limbaugh as a supporting argument, you've stepped past embracing craziness and have gotten right down on the floor to roll in it, like a dog in something stinky.

He's right about one thing, though. A McCain administration would be several removes worse than the Bush administration.

The NYT also featured that other pillar that holds up the Roof Of Craziness, James Dobson, actually defending Palin's position. Yes, I understand, James; people have babies every day, and it's a beautiful thing. But she's 17 years old; is that the example you're trying to promote? Are you actually advocating teenage girls churning out babies without any restraint?

If I were you, I'd get out of the way, before you get trampled by the stampede of teenage boys. Mind you, maybe you want to think on this a little more, James. Not every 17-year-old girl's parents have the means the Palins have. Some of them might not be so delighted to find out about the bun in the oven.

orange

Posted by: Mark on September 2, 2008 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

Matt,
Not a criticism. I knew what you were saying. I just wanted to point out Palin hates her country.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 2, 2008 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't seem so bad to me. I've been advocating that California leave the rest of this crazy country for years.

Posted by: craigie on September 2, 2008 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

Hehe.

Posted by: Matt on September 2, 2008 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Your read on the Alaska Independence Party lacks the necessary local perspective. Alaska does not behave like a two-party state. There is almost always a fracture in the Republican primary. Sometimes the centrist Republican wins by peeling off Democratic votes; sometimes the conservative Republican wins by marginalizing the centrist; sometimes the Democrat wins because the Republican vote is split; and the Libertarians are a perpetual wild card.

If the Republican who loses the primary doesn't want to give up, he or she runs again in the general under a different label. Sometimes that label is the AIP. In 1990 Wally Hickel was elected as the AIP's nominee, and nobody thinks for a minute that he favored secession. It's a label of convenience, like when a merchant ship flies a Liberian flag. No one really thinks it's a Liberian ship.

I grew up in Alaska. Everyone who follows state politics knows that Vogler is a nutbag. But he's a player who is willing to deal. Vogler knows that Hickel was just using the AIP, and Hickel knows that Vogler was just using him. Palin was politically aligned with Hickel. I don't know exactly what she had in mind when she was flirting with the AIP, but there's nothing shocking about it, and there's no reason to believe it says anything about her own views on secession.

Posted by: mdl on September 2, 2008 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

I love this graf from the NYT:

Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede [more here on that –ed.]; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.


Talk about putting the best possible spin on things....

The Alaska INDEPENDENCE Party doesn't want to SECEDE, they just want a vote... AIP wants to clarify a few things... Democracy in action y'know.

Journalists shouldn't DARE to read anything into their name, their founders statements, their website, the comments their leadership makes on Youtube videos...

Posted by: sven on September 2, 2008 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

As an Alaskan for many, many years, I can shed a little more light on the whole AIP mindset. It gets really tiring for people to tell us they don't ship "international" to Alaska, or that they don't accept Alaskan currency. Hell, close to 10% of the lower 48 don't think we're a state to begin with. Anchorage is about 3500 air miles from Washington DC. I think Spain is closer than us. We don't refer to you all as Outside for no reason...

Still, AIP were nutjobs, remain nutjobs, and are treated as such. Palin won because she wasn't Murkowski. Any Republican was going to win against that twit.

You all be careful stepping into the last great land if you're going to be campaigning up here. I know several places where Outsiders knocking on doors could end up wrapped in blue tarp and duct tape and dumped. And the bears seem a bit irate this year. Already chomped several joggers in Anchorage...

Happy thoughts from the north and all...

Posted by: nemodog on September 2, 2008 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't seem so bad to me. I've been advocating that California leave the rest of this crazy country for years.

You can entertain secessionist thoughts as long as you don't do anything illegal. But you can't run for a federal office 'cos that would be hypocrisy. It is a free country and Palin is free to believe in secession of Alaska. However, she can't turn around and want to be the VP of the Union she so doesn't want to be a part of. Alaskans seem to be happy with her as a governor. That is the best place for her given how she feels about America.

Posted by: rational on September 2, 2008 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

I can love the United States and want to secede from it, just like you can outlaw homosexuality, without hating homosexuals.

Posted by: Sarah Palin on September 2, 2008 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see why it's a big deal.

...Also, I wouldn't think the homesteaders who went to Alaska post oil-payments should get to vote, either, but the native indian and Inuit peoples sure should!

Posted by: Crissa on September 2, 2008 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Only a maverick would love their country enough to leave it.

Posted by: Brian Williams on September 2, 2008 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

It's worth noting that if Sarah Palin had the level of political savvy required to run for national office, she would have declined McCain's invitation to be on the ticket. After all, she knew about troopergate, her daughter's pregnancy, AIP and all of the other embarrassing facts from her past, even if McCain was too damn lazy to do even cursory vetting.

She should have realized that she would effectively torpedo his candidacy if she were the VP nominee, yet she accepted the position anyway. So either she's a stealth Democrat, or naive beyond belief.

Posted by: David Bailey on September 2, 2008 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

I know we're all supposed to be on the high-road and all but Palin's second oldest daughter (Willow?) also holds herself like a woman who's pregnant and doesn't want to show.

Posted by: Sandra D on September 2, 2008 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK
Still, AIP were nutjobs, remain nutjobs, and are treated as such. Palin won because she wasn't Murkowski. Any Republican was going to win against that twit.

Um. Kinda deflates her reputation as a corruption fighter a bit, hm?

Posted by: gwangung on September 2, 2008 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

I'm thoroughly convinced they're going to have to decide on a new VP before she accepts the spot. We can only hope the next selection (Mitt Romney, please?) is vetted as poorly as Sarah Palin. They don't have much time, so we may be in luck.

Posted by: Andrew on September 2, 2008 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

All we need is for a Dem 527 to run some ads with the Vogler quote "I've got no use for America or her damned institutions" and Sarah's picture. After all the fracking Reverend Wright crap they have it coming.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 2, 2008 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

...and as I have asked elsewhere....

Why did Wasilla need a lobbyist when the state it was in had perhaps the two most powerful GOP members of a Congress dominated by the GOP in Washington. What....you can't go directly to them to help get money for your hockey pucks?

No...you gotta go through a lobbyist because the lobbyist will make sure the two most powerful GOP members of Congress get all the extra floors on their house and junkets they deserve.

This in a state where the entire population is about 670,000.

Posted by: dweb on September 2, 2008 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Agree with David Bailey and also think Dem surrogates should not be promoting the 17 yr old pregnant issue. On Larry King Live I was sorry to see Stephanie Miller and the other radio guy whose name I can't remember (the 2 token lefties) go on and on about hypocrisy and family values. That'll go over like a lead balloon with most average Americans. They would NOT like (I hope) secessionists. They did try to push the abuse of power issue, but of course it was pooh pooh-ed by the Republicans as "still under investigation." Although even LK pressed Molinari to admit that concern over an investigation was legitimate. I'm not sure the average American (doesn't read a newspaper or political blogs) will hear anything but all the fuss over a 17 yr old. If the MSM/cable only talk that up, Palin will probably get a sympathetic response as being unfairly pilloried. Instead of pointing out that Palin put her daughter in an awkward public spot by running and then publicizing her pregnancy, the 2 Dems talked about Palin being a bad mother because her daughter ended up pregnant. I really dislike Palin but would hardly blame her for her daughter's pregnancy. These things happen even with the best parenting. I hope the Dems don't blow it and create a backlash of sympathy for Palin amongst even moderates.

Posted by: hoping on September 2, 2008 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

As a friend who's been there says, "Alaska is where the failed southern rednecks go, since their stupidity won't be so obvious in comparison."

As to being nice to the Palin family, as my 45-year feminist partner says, "I'll grant Sarah Palin the right to the privacy of her family's reproductive choices when that theocratic dominionist bitch grants me the right of privacy for my family's reproductive choices." Of course, in our family, daughters get taught actual sex education, so they don't end up ignorant teenagers promoting ignorance into a new generation through the ignorance perpetrated on them by those who are supposed to care about them.

Fortunately, Obama, Hiltzoy, Sgeve, and the rest of the "good government types" can take the high road, since the National Enquirer is in Anchorage with a $10 million budget. It only took them 7 hours knocking on doors in Santa Monica to find the family of the boy Michael Jackson sodomized. I give the tabloids 10 days before they have the Wasilla Hillbillies barbecued to a golden brown. And we won't have to say a thing, since America will read it as they go through the supermarket checkout line.

Sorry, after 40 years of putting up with the bullshit of the right, my get up and go on politeness to political enemies done got up and went. After what these far right traitors put me, my career, and my family through in 2003, I hope the bunch of them die painful deaths in the dark and the cold of an arctic night.

Posted by: TCinLA on September 2, 2008 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

As a friend who's been there says, "Alaska is where the failed southern rednecks go, since their stupidity won't be so obvious in comparison."

As to being nice to the Palin family, as my 45-year feminist partner says, "I'll grant Sarah Palin the right to the privacy of her family's reproductive choices when that theocratic dominionist bitch grants me the right of privacy for my family's reproductive choices." Of course, in our family, daughters get taught actual sex education, so they don't end up ignorant teenagers promoting ignorance into a new generation through the ignorance perpetrated on them by those who are supposed to care about them.

Fortunately, Obama, Hiltzoy, Sgeve, and the rest of the "good government types" can take the high road, since the National Enquirer is in Anchorage with a $10 million budget. It only took them 7 hours knocking on doors in Santa Monica to find the family of the boy Michael Jackson sodomized. I give the tabloids 10 days before they have the Wasilla Hillbillies barbecued to a golden brown. And we won't have to say a thing, since America will read it as they go through the supermarket checkout line.

Sorry, after 40 years of putting up with the bullshit of the right, my get up and go on politeness to political enemies done got up and went. After what these far right traitors put me, my career, and my family through in 2003, I hope the bunch of them die painful deaths in the dark and the cold of an arctic night.

Posted by: TCinLA on September 2, 2008 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe secession is exactly the sort of "change" message that McCain needs.

If nothing else this further proves Palin's foreign policy chops. She has obviously thought about foreign affairs, like how to turn Alaska into a foreign country.

Posted by: Orson on September 2, 2008 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

The thing to remember about McCain's showboating is that because of that photo of McCain and Bush sharing the birthday cake as New Orleans drown, McCain can't claim he's a different kind of Republican. The best he can do is echo Bush in promising he won't screw up again.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 2, 2008 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

MDL,

While it is true that rejected politicos have occasionally used the AIP as a flag of convenience the actual party members remain fringe types.

When Wally Hickel ran and won on the AIP ticket his closest supporters did not switch their party affiliation. Virtually all of Hickel's appointments were still members of the Republican party and Hickel re-registered with the Republican Party within days of leaving office. An up-and-coming Republican activist would have little incentive to join the AIP unless it was something they had a personal interest in supporting.

It is also worth noting that the AIP advocates for a wide range of issues in addition to secession. The AIP endorses a platform of 'self-sufficiency'. Fairly extreme libertarian positions are generally adopted on issues as wide-ranging as Gun Rights, Federal Oversight (EPA, FDA, OSHA, etc.), and Education. I remember when our town assembly was considering increased funding for the local library an AIPer gave a long-winded opposition, not to the increase, but to the entire concept of libraries!

Even if she didn't actively support secession (which is an assumption) associating with the AIP puts Sarah Palin pretty far on the right of Alaskan politics which in turn puts her on the fringe of American politics in general.

Posted by: sven on September 2, 2008 at 3:30 AM | PERMALINK

From Mark Kleiman at Samefacts:

http://www.samefacts.com/archives/palin_/2008/09/sarah_palins_membership_in_the_alaskan_independence_party.php

Samefacts received a letter from the AIP stating that Sarah Palin was a member of the party from 1994 until 1996. The dates she joined and left give us important information about were affiliation with the party.

Gov. Wally Hickel left office and rejoined the Republican Party in 1994. This timing makes it unlikely she would have joined that year in support of the Governor.

Palin first ran for Mayor of Wasilla in 1996 so she may have switched party affiliation for the election.

It is impossible to know Gov. Palin's motivation for joining the AIP but her record does not contradict the likelihood that she supported the party's aims.

Posted by: sven on September 2, 2008 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Palin is so done. This is a direct quote from Joe Folger, founder of the Alaska Independence Party, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

These kind of fringe parties may be acceptable to isolated Alaskans, but Palin's association with these nuts as a member is a deal breaker for this lower 48er.

P.S. The following website also notes that Governor Palin spoken at this nutty groups convention just this year! What the heck was McCain thinking!

http://www.akip.org/introduction.html

Posted by: Former Republican on September 2, 2008 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

So, Palin will fit in perfectly with the Southern-based Republican Party that acts, at times, as if it too wants to seceed from the Union.

Posted by: Ted Frier on September 2, 2008 at 6:32 AM | PERMALINK

All of this and more is coming out in the big MSM this morning. One thing you can hand to the MSM -- when blood is in the water they will eventually be drawn to it like sharks.

The entire world is clustered around McCain's craps table watching to see when the dice will stop rolling. The dice have not yet stopped on Bush's big gamble on the Iraq War. And McCain wants to keep them rolling on forever with the world cheering on the dice roller.

Here is a wild speculation but very imaginable:
McCain's advisers are having serious discussions right now with Gov. Mike Huckabee. After whipping up all this conservative fever they can't afford to lose them now. Time to release Palin to soar with the eagles in Alaska.

Posted by: lou on September 2, 2008 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

I hate to sound pessimistic, but until the MSM starts covering all these hypocrisies in Palin's past, this won't affect the McCain campaign in the slightest.

Posted by: Quinn on September 2, 2008 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

I love how Palin is neutralizing, one-by-one, the arguments used by Republicans against Obama. He's an unknown and unqualified --- so's she. He has associations with people who are anti-American --- so has she. I predict the next story to come out about Palin: She secretly a Muslim.

Posted by: paul on September 2, 2008 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

how about we change the topic for a while and deal with the real topics.

I am starting to realise why is it that for Obama, even with liberal blogs on his side his message is being lost in all the mud slinging.

We liberal bloggers are failing to deal with real debates. Sure let's argue that McChameleon is chicken shit compared to BO. But add issues (evidence) to support this argumens.

I found this article on the Times by Alan Binder:Is History Siding With Obama’s
Economic Plan?

Here is a link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/business/31view.html?em=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1220354516-6lbFgOS1QSOYIUNNrv93kQ

This way you argue in favour of BO on bread and butter issues. You obviously need to mix it up with the soap opera shit, but the point is BO is better on the issues and we need to show that every now and then.

Posted by: zie on September 2, 2008 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

A number of the threads up stream here are very, very clever. Not saying which ones since I don't want to see cleverness unduly rewarded, but I suspect that you all know who you are.

Uh, well done.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 2, 2008 at 7:42 AM | PERMALINK

Irony.

So it looks like John McCain hitched himself to a real. lurid, tabloid fodder celebrity-type for a runningmate. Can anyone say low-rent Paris Hilton?

Posted by: Saint Zak on September 2, 2008 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

The first day or so after Governor Palin was introduced as the prospective VP nominee, I listened to a speech and was struck by her statement that she favored exploration so that more oil could be sent "to the United States." Is this a mindset of the AIP?

Posted by: DD on September 2, 2008 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Alaskan independence? I am in favor, consider it a plus.

Posted by: MattYoung on September 2, 2008 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Many Alaskans think they'd all be North Saudi Arabian sheiklets but for the Federal Government siphoning off all their oil royalties. Maybe, but Alaska is one of the many Bush states to be a net gainer of Federal cash per capita.

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel on September 2, 2008 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

"So the party of Lincoln wants to put a secessionist within a 72 year old heartbeat of the Presidency."

Repeat as necessary.

Posted by: anonymous on September 2, 2008 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

She did not have to parade her children up there on TV, especially a 4 month old.

Leaving her daughters with the responsibility of child care in public instead of her husband, who was right there. Does anyone notice how disinterested in the baby he looks? The burp towel could go over his shoulder just as well as over her daughter's.

Does anyone else notice something wrong with that picture?

Posted by: GeorgiaGirl on September 2, 2008 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm remembering when GHWB got asked what would happen if a daughter of his got pregnant. He responded (iirc) that it would be her decision, and the family would stand by her.
It was a completely honest and sincere answer, one which resonates with the dominant American attitude. It brought him flak from the right.
The thing about Bristol's pregnancy is that they're presenting it in that standard American attitude, but they believe exactly the opposite.
They don't say it, of course, but they want to present Bristol's situation as her decision and if she had made a different one, why, the love of her family would still be there.
But they propose a system where Bristol would be a murderer and a criminal..
It's the hypocrisy we've seen over and over and over--and most people are amused because it's a benign one, when the Christian moralist finds out her unmarried daughter is pregnant, or his sonm is gay, and quietly forgives them and wraps them in the support of the family.
It's why Alan Keyes is beyond (so to speak) the pale, for actually disowning his Lesbian daughter. No Dick Cheney he.
So it's not a horrible misstep in the eyes of the American people, since we've seen it over and over. It points out to them that this courageous pro-lifer won't reeeeeealy do anything about it, that all this stuff really is just for show.
The damage it does do is to the Xtian ideologues who thunder and rant about an issue that is at odds with Americans' lives and their actual morality.
In supporting Sarah Paley anyway, James Dobson shows that he hates Democrats worse than he hates Sin.

Posted by: pbg on September 2, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe you can't understand Joe Vogler because, Paul Simon would say, "all the crap you learned in high school."

Now, before we begin talking about Sarah Palin's ties to the AIP anyone who, after John Kerry lost in 2004, entertained the even faintest notions of secession from the rest of the U.S. into Cascadia, or wanted to be a part of an independent California or show some sympathy to the Second Vermont Republic check your ideological baggage right at the door please.

Sarah Palin is not Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Liddy Dole or Michelle Bachmann, Barbie doll/church lady charicature/Chamber of Commerce spokesperson. She has a very eclectic political multi-dimensional background, sort of a cross between Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, who, you might recall, were battling the corrupt and decadent Republican establishment during the primaries. Palin has done the same in Alaska. To do so required getting help from two political organizations outside that establishment, the Alaska Libertarian Party (to whom Palin has spoken to at meeting on a number of occasions) and the AIP. That's why she was a part of these circles. It's no different than former Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickle using the AIP to become governor. You fight the estbalishment by any means necessary (lawfully of course).

Whether Palin believes Alaska should be independent of the U.S., she's a decentralist and she does believe Alaskans should have more autonomy instead of being pushed around by the oil companies which have corrupeted the GOP or the federal government who's agents locally are the Democratic Party. I take it by highlighting Palin's ties with a secessionist party that's you've become a nationalist too (just one that wants to invade Darfur instead of Iraq?) Should we all stand up right now and say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the national anthem? Hmm?

Had Palin had a little more time she could have very well beeen a bridge between libertarian, paleo, Sam's Club Republicans, et al to united against the party establishment and the neocons. Had she had a little more time she could have dealt with her familiy's problems, the Troopergate scandal and better explain her political views to a wider audience and lay the intelelcutal groundwork for them. Had she been a little wiser, she would have turned down McCain's offer to be vice-president so she wouldn't have become a spokesperson for what will be a neocon filled, intreventionist Administration.

Now her once promising career could very well be wrecked this week. Far more than the Baby Mama smears, her ties with the AIP and Troopergate and the McCain campaign slip-shod handling of her selection before she was ready to fill this role, could have her off the ticket if McCain the nationalist is offended by her AIP ties. Expect the neocons to move on her shortly

But then again you don't have a problem joining with the Trotskiests do you when it suits your interests? After they're the accpetable conservatives right?


Regardles of whether she believes Alaska

Posted by: Sean Scallon on September 2, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe you can't understand Joe Vogler because, Paul Simon would say, "all the crap you learned in high school."

Now, before we begin talking about Sarah Palin's ties to the AIP anyone who, after John Kerry lost in 2004, entertained the even faintest notions of secession from the rest of the U.S. into Cascadia, or wanted to be a part of an independent California or show some sympathy to the Second Vermont Republic check your ideological baggage right at the door please.

Sarah Palin is not Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Liddy Dole or Michelle Bachmann, Barbie doll/church lady charicature/Chamber of Commerce spokesperson. She has a very eclectic political multi-dimensional background, sort of a cross between Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, who, you might recall, were battling the corrupt and decadent Republican establishment during the primaries. Palin has done the same in Alaska. To do so required getting help from two political organizations outside that establishment, the Alaska Libertarian Party (to whom Palin has spoken to at meeting on a number of occasions) and the AIP. That's why she was a part of these circles. It's no different than former Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickle using the AIP to become governor. You fight the estbalishment by any means necessary (lawfully of course).

Whether Palin believes Alaska should be independent of the U.S., she's a decentralist and she does believe Alaskans should have more autonomy instead of being pushed around by the oil companies which have corrupeted the GOP or the federal government who's agents locally are the Democratic Party. I take it by highlighting Palin's ties with a secessionist party that's you've become a nationalist too (just one that wants to invade Darfur instead of Iraq?) Should we all stand up right now and say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the national anthem? Hmm?

Had Palin had a little more time she could have very well beeen a bridge between libertarian, paleo, Sam's Club Republicans, et al to united against the party establishment and the neocons. Had she had a little more time she could have dealt with her familiy's problems, the Troopergate scandal and better explain her political views to a wider audience and lay the intelelcutal groundwork for them. Had she been a little wiser, she would have turned down McCain's offer to be vice-president so she wouldn't have become a spokesperson for what will be a neocon filled, intreventionist Administration.

Now her once promising career could very well be wrecked this week. Far more than the Baby Mama smears, her ties with the AIP and Troopergate and the McCain campaign's slip-shod handling of her selection before she was ready to fill this role, could have her off the ticket if McCain the nationalist is offended by her AIP ties. Expect the neocons to move on her shortly

But then again you don't have a problem joining with the Trotskyists do you when it suits your interests? After all they're the accpetable conservatives right?

Posted by: on September 2, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK


The Dems can sit quietly, eating popcorn. The hated corporate MSM/liberal press is on this like a new Watergate.

Really? If so, you must be seeing a different MSM than the one I see. The MSM I see is playing this very quietly, and blaming 'liberal bloggers' for making a big deal out of her daughter's pregnancy.

Re: the younger Palin, does anyone doubt for a nanosecond that the GOP- and their minions in the MSM- would be all over Michele + Barack Obama like, well, white on David Duke if a teenage daughter of theirs turned up pregnant?

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on September 2, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

As far as deciphering Vogler's odious submission goes, I thought it was your job to do that, so that 'we don't have to'. I guess the move to the Olympian heights of WM has tempered your zeal for the less glamorous tasks; chortle, chortle.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 2, 2008 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA: "I'll grant Sarah Palin the right to the privacy of her family's reproductive choices when that theocratic dominionist bitch grants me the right of privacy for my family's reproductive choices."

Nicely done! I'm with you on the topic of "politeness": McCampaigners want to cry about liberal blogs, obviously the RedStates and FreeRepublics go unread by same.

National Enquirer is on the case, eh? After the Edwards incident, I suppose the editorial team is feeling its oats - or smelling another payday.

Orange!

Posted by: GuyFromOhio on September 2, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the AIP explains why Palin chose to fly back to Alaska to have that 5th child. If he was born in Texas, he wouldn't have rights an "Alaskan Citizen" would have.

Posted by: JohnInTexas on September 2, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

So ... Obama's preacher -- not him, mind you, but his preacher -- says "God damn America!" (which was a quote from someone else) in a sermon and we hear about it for weeks on end.

Yet Palin -- not someone else, but she -- was a member of a group that says it has "no use for America or her damned institutions" and ... nothing. Just crickets and claims that lefty bloggers are a bunch of meany heads.

If Obama wins this thing it'll be in spite of the media, not because of it.

Posted by: Mark D on September 2, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

More and more I am coming around to a conspiracy state of mind. The only way Sarah Palin makes sense is if McCain knew from the git-go that she would never make it much past the convention. Get her nominated have the scandals break forcing her to withdraw her name for the good of the country, the party, and her family and allowing McCain to annoint a running mate of his own choice, while pointing the finger of responsibility at the Democrats for forcing a good woman out of the race with their baseless attacks. McCain gets what he wants, the Christian right base is bought off and energized to go out to the polls to vote against Obama and everyone is happy. That's the only way it makes sense...unless McCain is just a complete idiot and incompetent.

Posted by: majun on September 2, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"I take it by highlighting Palin's ties with a secessionist party that's you've become a nationalist too[?]"

Is it irresponsible to raise questions about a candidate's patriotism? It's irresponsible not to. /snark

"Had she been a little wiser, she would have turned down McCain's offer to be vice-president so she wouldn't have become a spokesperson for what will be a neocon filled, intreventionist Administration."

Had I been taller, more handsome, wealthy and well-hung, I would have been a smash-hit on the Hollywood/SoHo/Key West circuit. But I wasn't, and neither is Governor Palin a little wiser.

Both us are now getting a crash-course in "might've been".

"If Obama wins this thing it'll be in spite of the media, not because of it."

WORD.

Posted by: GuyFromOhio on September 2, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

I bet the definition of "legal Alaskan citizen" would be someone who was born in the state, not an "immigrant," such as someone who was born in another state.

Ah. Now we have a justification for the trip from Dallas to Anchorage to Wasilla. Her child wouldn't be a "legal Alaskan citizen" if born in Texas.

Posted by: jpeckjr on September 2, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I agree that Palin's apparent association with the AIP looks like the most politically lethal of the many issues around her. The Monegan firing is going to devolve into he-said/she-said, and a long legal process, and anyway the Republican base - who've supported W through misgovernment and numerous abuses of power - just don't care about this stuff: they *like* political leaders who act like autocrats. Bristol's pregnancy is none of our business, except and unless it shows either that Sarah Palin lied to McCain or that McCain's vetting was so inadequate as to miss what was apparently common knowledge in Wasilla.

But the AIP connection is lethal precisely because it discredits Palin in the eyes of mainstream Republicans, who pride themselves on their patriotism. More on this, less on the other stuff.

The other aspect to push on in all this is, where's Palin and when does she get to answer questions ? McCain's claim is that she's qualified to lead: fine, let's hear her speak for herself, tell us what policies she favors, and explain and justify her own record on issues like the Bridge to Nowhere and earmarks in general.

I'm pretty sure of what we're going to see: she looks good, she's going to be smart, but she's not accustomed to the level of scrutiny usual in national politics, and she's pretty far out on the fringe in her beliefs. If we just give her enough rope and make her talk then independents and moderate Republicans aren't going to like what they hear.

And if her handlers won't let her talk in public, that's damning enough in itself. If she's not ready to talk for herself, she's not ready to be VP. And no quantity of surrogates can obscure that.

Posted by: Richard Cownie on September 2, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

There's some pretty funny guys in Ohio. At least one.

orange

Posted by: Mark on September 2, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Goddamn America!"

Posted by: Neil B on September 2, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Just a small correction. Funding for the Bridge to Nowhere was not cut, it still went to Alaska as an earmark WITHOUT being tied to the bridge.

If Gov. Palin wants to use it for the bridge, she can.

The money was not cut. That's the important thing.

Posted by: No Way No How No McCain on September 2, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I just want to tell Hilzoy (whoever that might be) thank you for getting to the real point of the Gov. Palin story. I have nothing against her, and admire her for her accomplishments, whatever they may be. What is profoundly disturbing is the prospect that a man who has managed to portray himself as a mature, careful and beneficially experienced politician over 26 years, may in fact be a dangerously loose cannon, and who stands a very good chance of becoming our President. After listening to his answer regarding how he would select his running mate several times again recently, one has to question the entire portrait of the statesmanlike political sage we are supposed to prefer over the greenhorn upstart, Senator Obama. That's the same upstart who organized what was arguably the best managed and executed primary campaign in modern political history, and who resisted relentless pressure to make a game out of his own vice-presidential selection process, and ended up selecting someone who has received universal approbation as (arguably) the best possible choice.

Meanwhile, Senator McCain, who's own primary campaign experienced one total meltdown a year ago, and but for his unlimited financial resources, would likely have doomed his candidacy, surprises everyone (including it seems his own staff) by making a last-minute selection of a woman who's entire resume barely fills a quarter of a page. I'm sorry, but I simply don't buy the notion that being governor of any state (much less one with a population of 700,000) automatically qualifies a person to be President. We've lived through a nearly eight-year ordeal learning that lesson the hard way, no matter which party you're in (and I'm a Republican).

McCain was absolutely right when he said (many months ago) that his solemn obligation as nominee was to find and select the very best qualified person to step into the Presidency of this nation on a moment's notice, and there were literally dozens of choices he could have made which would have met that test. Instead he chose an enthusiastic but gravely inexperienced person, who bears an alarming physical resemblance to some of the other women McCain has been known to favor over the years. The irony of the situation is this: I am now so concerned about his own mental competence for the job, if we have to accept them both, I would almost prefer Governor Palin at the top of the ticket. She seems sane at least.

Posted by: ted in pdx on September 2, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

I am cought by surprise with Senator McCain's choice of his running mate. Where are the Rush Limbaugh...dito heads....the Sean Hannity.....Good Americans when their candidate select a secessionist member of the Alaskan Independence Party. It is a shameful act.

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