New Information Could be 'Most Politically Detrimental,' Adds Further Heat to the Burning Questions About the Vetting of the Alaskan Governor by John McCain
UPDATE: Chair of AIP Backs Off Claims of Palin Membership in Party, Confirms Palin's Husband Was Member...
By Margie Burns on 9/2/2008, 11:57am PT  

Guest Blogged by Margie Burns...

The wealth of material on Sen. John McCain's Veep pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, just keeps getting richer. Apparently the old saying that you can never be too rich or too thin applies to resumes.

Last night, Brad covered a wide-range of recently emerging issues and concerns about Palin --- and McCain's judgment in having chosen her --- and asked whether she can even survive on the ticket through November 4th. Today, the New York Times front pages an Elisabeth Bumiller report revealing that McCain seems to have only begun vetting Palin last week, after his two preferred selections, pro-choice advocates Sen. Joe Lieberman and Gov. Mark Ridge, were nixed by the party's right wing.

So as Republicans scramble to vet their choice far too late, additional revelations continue to emerge (notably, beginning in the blogosphere, long before the MSM finally catches up.) The latest latest comes via Liz Arnett at Daily Kos, and includes videos in which the Alaska governor is seen as a member and supporter of the fringe Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), which aspires to secession from the union.

Steve Benen regards this latest information about Palin's past as perhaps "the most politically detrimental" of all the recently emerging discoveries about the little-known-until-now Governor of Alaska...

Now, here is where I start feeling conflicted. Being born west of the Mississippi is a boon, freedom is a must, and rebellion feels good. It would be tough not to sympathize with an organization whose stated aims include:

To amend the Constitution of the State of Alaska so as to re-establish the rights of all Alaskan residents to entry upon all public lands within the state, and to acquire private property interest there in, under fair and reasonable conditions. Such property interest shall include surface and sub-surface patent.

But still, there's a hitch. The VP of the United States has to raise his/her hand, to swear an oath that s/he will uphold the Constitution of the United States. Such an oath would seem to preclude some of the other stated aims of the AIP, such as:

To seek the complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska in conformance with Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the federal constitution.

Do we really want all federal park lands in Alaska under the sole control of Alaskans, presumably including Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young?

A few other AIP tenets might also be considered stumbling blocks...

  • To prohibit all bureaucratic regulations and judicial rulings purporting to have the effect of law, except that which shall be approved by the elected legislature. [Mr. Justice Scalia, you've met your Waterloo.]
  • To provide for the development of unrestricted, statewide, surface transportation and utility corridors as needed by the public or any individual. [emphasis added]
  • To affirm and assert 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.
  • To support the privatization of government services.
  • To oppose the borrowing of money by government for any purposes other than for capital improvements. [Too bad about those salaries.]
  • To support the right of jurors to judge the law as well as the facts, according to their conscience. [Emphasis added. And btw, holy moly.]

Or as we used to say in Texas, Boy, howdy. This gunslingin' gal makes Ann Richards look like Marmee in Little Women.

Predictably, the Alaskan Independence Party has also had its days in court. The AIP sued the state of Alaska in federal courts for years, 1999-2003 (Ross v. Alaska), losing its effort to get attorneys’ fees and costs after its central aim, getting rid of the ‘blanket primary system,’ was achieved by virtue of a Supreme Court ruling in a case in California (California Democratic Party v. Jones). Gov. Palin, then the mayor of Wasilla, AK, had no direct connection to the lawsuit, of course. But it does show that she was not always single-mindedly focused on saving the state of Alaska money, as she has often proclaimed publicly, and as the McCain camp has begun building as a centerpiece to their attempts at being seen as "reformers".

More to come. Clearly.

UPDATE FROM BRAD: I'll be Guest Hosting the Randi Rhodes Show on Monday (9/8/08) and wanted to chat on air with one of the AIP representatives about the comments at their '06 convention that Palin "was an AIP member before she got the job as mayor" of Wasilla, Alaska and Palin's own video-taped intro to the convention, declaring that she "share[s] your party’s vision."

AIP chair, Lynette Clark, however, responded to say that neither her or her husband, vice chair Dexter Clark, are "available for an interview at this time." As well, she sent along the following press release along with her declining to appear on the show...

Press release with corrections from the AIP Chairman, Lynette Clark.

Most recently I have pulled the entire record regarding the Alaskan Independence Partys' 1994 Convention file. I went through all the video, audio and paper records for that function. Something I should have done earlier before making the statement that Governor Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. For that I humbly apologize to Governor Palin, and, to both national and local press, and media.

I, foolishly, repeated and accepted as fact what an officer of this membership shared with myself, and husband Dexter Clark, over a year ago. My statement was incorrect regarding the Governor's membership.

What was correct was that Todd Palin was a member, that Sarah as a candidate for Governor appeared at the AIP Convention in 2006, and sent a welcoming DVD to the membership at the 2008 AIP statewide conventon.

Those truths do not take away my fault in mis-speaking regarding her membership. For that I do take full responsibility. I hold Governor Palin in high regard, I believe she is far and away the best individual Alaska could have as Governor, and as a woman, mother and wife is one of the best examples walking!

Thank you and again, I apologize to all.

Lynette Clark, Chairman
Alaskan Independence Party