Jake Tapper reports that Sarah and Todd Palin are former members of the Alaskan Independence Party, whose motto is “Alaska First — Alaska Always.” The controversy, Tapper says, is over how hard the party has pushed for independence from the United States. But it gets a whole lot better than that.
According to Lynette Clark, a top party official with whom Tapper spoke, the Palins were members in 1994, and attended the party’s statewide convention, in Wasilla, that year. Sarah Palin quit the party in 1996 in order to run for mayor of Wasilla; there is no indication of when she first joined.
Why are these dates important? Because party founder Joe Vogler, who was chairman right up until his death in 1993, was a “sulphurous” presence known for his “‘America be damned’ rhetoric delivered at D-9-cat decibels,” according to an Anchorage Daily News editorial published in 1998.
America be damned? Gee, who does that remind you of? And could the Palins have been ignorant of Vogler’s views in 1994?
To this day, the Alaskan Independence Party’s Web site proudly carries the following quote from Vogler: “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.” And Tapper found that Palin had sent a video message to the party’s annual convention just last year.
I’m leery of relying on Wikipedia, but, given what we already know about Vogler, this seems safe: he was murdered, and, as he had previously made it clear that he wished not to be buried under the American flag, he was buried instead in the Yukon.
Country first, eh, Sen. McCain?
Let me jump ahead to the defense we can anticipate: the Alaskan Independence Party is part of the cultural milieu of Alaska, it doesn’t mean the same thing to Alaskans as it would to us, Palin is really a patriotic American, blah blah blah. And you know what? I have no trouble believing any of that.*
Just as I had no trouble believing that Barack and Michelle Obama are patriotic Americans despite their long membership in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church.
*But you know what? On reflection, I wouldn’t be surprised if Palin thought Alaskan independence was kind of a neat idea. That would have been the whole point to joining the party, right?