I really wasn't planning on blogging anything on Sarah Palin for a little while, because I thought, incorrectly, that she wasn't that bad of a pick given the options. Meanwhile, a very select number of leftist bloggers have been focusing on the details of her most recent pregnancy in a way which hasn't been particularly helpful in the long-run and has established the basis for a potentially sympathetic media narrative on Palin.
That's especially distressing because news of her daughter's pregnancy now very well may crowd out what I think is a much larger and far more damaging story: Palin's involvement in the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP) in the 1990s.
Officials of the Alaskan Independence Party say that Palin was once so independent, she was once a member of their party, which, since the 1970s, has been pushing for a legal vote for Alaskans to decide whether or not residents of the 49th state can secede from the United States.
And while McCain's motto -- as seen in a new TV ad -- is "Country First," the AIP's motto is the exact opposite -- "Alaska First -- Alaska Always."
Lynette Clark, the chairman of the AIP, tells ABC News that Palin and her husband Todd were members in 1994, even attending the 1994 statewide convention in Wasilla. Clark was AIP secretary at the time.
"We are a state's rights party," says Clark, a self-employed goldminer. The AIP has "a plank that challenges the legality of the Alaskan statehood vote as illegal and in violation of United Nations charter and international law."
I'm not sure people realize just how crazy this is, but rest be assured, it's a whole train-load of crazy. I would actually be inclined to find this extremely hilarious, if it weren't for the terrifying reality that Sarah Palin could very well be President sometime relatively soon. And that? That's fucking terrifying. Let me elaborate after the jump.
Tenets of the Alaska Independence Party
Now in fairness to Palin, not everyone in the AIP believes that Alaska should secede from the United States. Some, as the self-employed gold-miner clarifies, believe Alaska (A) should be an independent nation, (B) some that it should be a territory, (C) some that it should be a commonwealth (?!?!), (D) and some that should it still be a state, but a "full and equal" state (apparently it's not now).
What they all agree on is that the fundamental "statishness" of Alaska should be subject to a referendum which would decide the issue. If a majority of Alaskans believe Alaska should be an independent nation, well then, off they go. Swell.
Now this particular theory of national sovereignty, to my understanding, went out of favor sometime in the 1860s in the United States. Admittedly, there are some folks who still adhere to the belief that states can secede from the United States whenever they can get a bare majority of a state's electorate to agree to the proposition, but most people are pretty sold on the finality of the Union.
In the meantime, the AIP has all sorts of other strange political beliefs -- in fact, it's kind of a grab-bag -- unrelated to the question of state sovereignty. They demand that the Federal Government return all the land it holds in Alaska to the people of Alaska. They also believe that "every possible right-of-way established under R.S. 2477 of July 26, 1866, before its repeal by the Federal Land Management Policy Act of October 21, 1976" be restored.
They argue that jurors should have the right to judge the law as well as the facts, that as much of the government should be privatized as possible, and that only "Alaskans should have first crack at the good jobs here."
Finally, they seem to have sort of problem with "pedophilic judges." I'm not sure if they have a beef with an actual judge who was a pedophile (I can see the problem) or if they believe that pedophilia is an endemic problem with judges (uhh... not so much so). In general, it would be much easier to figure out what the hell the AIP is about -- other than creating opportunities for Alaska to secede from the union -- if their issues section wasn't riddled with typos and heinous prose.
Questions for Sarah Palin
It's pretty scary to imagine the Vice President of the United States agreeing to this agenda. And perhaps after she got to know the AIP -- after she hung out at their 1994 convention -- she decided they weren't for her. Perhaps that whole provide-an-avenue-for-secession thing sounded better on paper than it did in person. Could be. I would be less worried if Marc Ambinder over at the Atlantic Monthly didn't have a video tape of the leader of the AIP encouraging party members to "infiltrate" the major political parties to aide the cause.
I believe Sarah Palin should be given an opportunity to assure us that, if elected, she will not push for Alaska to secede. Thus, I submit to her the following questions:
- If elected Vice President, will you use your bully pulpit to push for Alaska to have a referendum on secession?
- If elected Vice President, will you also push for the people of Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawai'i, "Cascadia", "Lakotah", and "The New South" to also hold secessionist referendums in all states which hold "contested" territory?
- If you had served as President of the United States in the 1860s would you have forced the 13 seceding states back into the union? What about those states whose secession was supported by democratic referendums?
- If a state government acts in a fashion contrary to its own constitution, does a county, township, or city have the right to secede and join a different state?
Now normally these questions would be a bit unfair. I mean, I am, after all, asking which side of the Civil War Sarah Palin would have supported. Seems like something of a loaded question. But that's exactly the sort of question you are inviting when you join a party that supports having the issue of secession from the United States decided by referendum.