HURRICANE SARAH: Palin’s Rev. Wright Problem

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POLITICAL PUNCH: An intense “she said”/”she said” has emerged over whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was ever a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, the third-largest political party in the 49th state. The AIP wants Alaskans to get an opportunity to vote on whether or not they will remain a state, or become a commonwealth, or split off as an independent nation. Officials of the AIP say Palin was once a member, but the McCain campaign — providing what it says is complete voter registration documentation — says Palin has been according to official records a lifelong Republican. MORE

palinbikinigun_1.jpgTALKING POINTS MEMO: The founder of the Alaska Independence Party — a group that has been courted over the years by Sarah Palin, and one her husband was a member of for roughly seven years — once professed his “hatred for the American government” and cursed the American flag as a “damn flag.” The AIP founder, Joe Vogler, made the comments in 1991, in an interview that’s now housed at the Oral History Program in the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government,” Vogler said in the interview, in which he talked extensively about his desire for Alaskan secession, the key goal of the AIP…Three years after the controversial interview, in 1994, Palin attended the group’s annual convention, according to witnesses who spoke to ABC News’ Jake Tapper. The McCain campaign is disputing her presence there, but Tapper found two people to attest to it…Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, from 1995-2002 with a brief exception in 2000. was a member of the party. MORE

THE DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The AIP (or AKIP, as it likes to style itself) is an exotic but locally significant political party that’s long advocated a reconsideration of Alaska’s 1958 decision to accept statehood, with a return to territorial status, an independent “Republic” position, or secession to Canada (or to some new confederation of Western Canadian provinces) being lively options. AKIP is also a state affiliate of the Constitution Party, a far-right fringe group founded by Howard Phillips “to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.”

Whether or not Sarah Palin was ever a member of AKIP, her easy acceptance of this fringe group is significant. In the aipbear2.thumbnail.gifodd, neo-colonial poltical culture of Alaska, AKIP is not that far out of the mainstream. But make no mistake: in the politics of the South 48, and particularly Republican politics, the AIP is, well, anti-American. Whatever she represented in Alaska, she is now the putative vice presidential candidate of a super-patrotic GOP and the handpicked running-mate of a presidential candidate whose message is “country first.” “Alaska First” or “Canada First” are not acceptable points of view for John McCain’s GOP, not matter how happy conservative activists may be about Palin’s reactionary views on cultural issues. MORE

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