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.”

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!