Sarah Palin’s not-so-hidden extremism

Ezra Klein on Sarah Palin’s apparent taste for extremism:

Sarah Palin is a secessionist, or at least is sympathetic enough to the cause that she belongs to a political group whose mission is 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.” I guess the least bad explanation here is that the Alaska Independence Party has some clout in Alaska, and Palin was an ambitious pol willing to put aside her distaste for secession if it would advance her career, but is that really so helpful? That she was willing to partner up with a group that’s fundamentally more radical on secession than the Nation of Islam? That doesn’t worry anyone on the McCain campaign?

There’s a worrying emergence of extremist tendencies in Palin. So far as we know — and we’re only about five days in — she’s been enthusiastic about Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes, the Alaska Independence Party, and Ron Paul. In other words, she’s allied herself with radical culture warriors, radical conservative economics, radical secessionists, and radical libertarian/isolationists. This is someone who’s pretty comfortable on the fringe of the right wing.

This alone shows the degree to which the press pulls it’s punches with the Republicans.  If Barack Obama were a member of the Nation of Islam, or had previously expressed support for black secessionism, he would still be a relatively obscure Illinois state senator, if that.  Hell, the fact that he had a black pastor, and served on the same community board as an aging 60s radical has been enough to paint him as some sort of leftist radical.  I can’t even the fathom the shitshow which would go down if it turned out that Obama was sympathetic to folks like Lewis Farrakhan.  Obama (or any Democrat, for that matter) probably couldn’t read A People’s History of the United States without the media painting him as a “far-left ideologue.”

Sarah Palin’s affinity for extremists is worrying.  It suggests that she would be amenable to policies – the flat tax, blanket abortion bans, disengagement with the rest of the world – which are very far outside of the mainstream.  Americans deserve to hear about Palin’s relationship with the far-right; it’s far more relevant and far more important than any nonsense about her pregnant daughter.

cross-posted at The United States of Jamerica


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19 comments for “Sarah Palin’s not-so-hidden extremism

  1. Eric Grant
    September 2, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Maybe I’m too far out of the loop on US political descriptors, but since when does secessionism (particularly of a extant political entity) necessarily=extremism?

  2. Natmusk
    September 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I think it just shows more of what has been described as her “territorial loyalties.” She does what she thinks will benefit Alaska and that is her only concern, not that of the United States as a whole. After listening to her talk about drilling in ANWAR I got the strange feeling that she joined this ticket to accomplish that and nothing more.

  3. ThatCrazyEquitist
    September 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Let’s just hope Russia doesn’t send troops into Alaska to support their independence movement.

    But really, come on, Burning Man is a bigger party than Alaska Independence. That’s why no one cares.

  4. CTD
    September 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Um, except that there is precisely no evidence outside of the word of a couple AIP staffers that she was ever a member. She’s been registered as a Republican since 1982.

  5. September 2, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    jamelle, CTD’s likely accurate point that she hasn’t actually been a member aside, I don’t find Palin’s affinity for the fringe worrying, I find it greatly encouraging. The worse she looks, the worse McCain looks, and the better Obama/Biden look.

  6. September 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    RyanButley,

    You’re right, Palin was never a member of the AIP, but there’s a fair chance that she had some connection to the organization. My point is simply that the media is kind of “underreacting” to the fact that she has been friendly with people and organizations which are on the far-right of the spectrum. Which is, I think, a little worrying.

  7. MaryC
    September 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Well, McCain’s slogan is “Putting America First.” The AIP’s motto is “Alaska First, Alaska Always.” Seems a contradiction.

  8. William
    September 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    You’re right, Palin was never a member of the AIP, but there’s a fair chance that she had some connection to the organization. My point is simply that the media is kind of “underreacting” to the fact that she has been friendly with people and organizations which are on the far-right of the spectrum. Which is, I think, a little worrying.

    Maybe I’m missing something about the Alaskan independence movement (and if I am, please correct me), but is there something fundamentally different and unwholesome about the AIP compared to the Puerto Rican independence movement or the Hawaiian sovereignty movement?

    Radicalism and extremism aren’t necessarily always the same thing, or even something negative. Up until recently the concept of socialized health care was pretty radical, something you really only heard seriously discussed in extreme-left outlets. On the other side of the spectrum, Milton Friedman and the libertarians fighting for the end of the draft was seen as radical and extremist by a lot of people. The same can be said of gay rights, civil rights, women’s suffrage, an individual right to bear arms, the right to terminate a pregnancy, teaching evolution in schools, or the income tax.

    I think a reflexive resistance to radical ideas coming from the right (or the left) is ultimately bad for the country. Palin is so incredibly terrible on so many pressing issues of individual liberty (abortion, contraception, gay marriage), why kick around Alaskan secessionists just to score points off her?

  9. September 2, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with liking Ron Paul, Steve Forbes or the Alaska Independence Party. Lower taxes and more individual liberty are hardly extreme positions, neither are criticizing our foreign policy or the drug war.

    I don’t agree with Palin on abortion, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect her or her record.

  10. September 2, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Her views remind me of former junkies who cleaned up their act by way of G-d. While their rebirth does them a lot of good, for some, they appear to have replaced one addiction to another. In this, there is no middle of the road on anything – most things become an all or nothing for them leading them to the very extreme stance/action in most everything they do.

  11. Misspelled
    September 2, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    I have to admit to harboring a sentimental attachment to the idea of secession, dating back to the eighth-grade social studies class where they told us that New England threatened to secede during the War of 1812 because we were so pissed at Madison over the loss of the shipping trade. Our entire class woke up and said, “Oh my god, that would have been so cool.”

    And I can’t help but fantasize about what a nice elbow in the face it would be to today’s nationalistic, bigoted, proudly ignorant America for even a tiny chunk of the country to turn around and say, “You know what? Enough already,” and form the Federal Republic of Fuck Whomever You Want, Free Abortions This Sunday Following the Gay Wedding-a-thon.

    Of course, that’s not what would happen. Liberalism hasn’t had that kind of political cohesion and resolve since the Revolution. If a state or county or whatever did get enough people together and vote to secede, it would be to form a Protestant theocracy where queerness was punishable by law and mothers were not allowed to have full-time jobs. And on Sundays all would flock to Fred Phelpsidelphia to hear the emperor speak.

  12. William
    September 2, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    If a state or county or whatever did get enough people together and vote to secede, it would be to form a Protestant theocracy where queerness was punishable by law and mothers were not allowed to have full-time jobs. And on Sundays all would flock to Fred Phelpsidelphia to hear the emperor speak.

    You know, I think you might have just hit upon a situation in which I’d support a border wall…

  13. September 2, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Sarah Palin will not last the 18 days that it took Thomas Eagleton to withdraw his name. She will not make it to the end of next week!

    McCain will accept her withdrawal and then nominate Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman.

  14. denelian
    September 2, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    what’s wrong with a flat-tax? better than what we have now, i think. remember history; the Colonies revolted because they were being taxed and didn’t have reprsentation in Parliment, and they felt the taxes were too high. they were taxed a QUARTER of what we are now (by that i mean percentage wise, not strict numbers)

    in other news, i agree with PC – Palin’s name has done her job, and she will withdraw soon and let someone else have the slot. but the MOMENTUM she caused will stay…

  15. RedPersephone
    September 2, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    And I can’t help but fantasize about what a nice elbow in the face it would be to today’s nationalistic, bigoted, proudly ignorant America for even a tiny chunk of the country to turn around and say, “You know what? Enough already,” and form the Federal Republic of Fuck Whomever You Want, Free Abortions This Sunday Following the Gay Wedding-a-thon.

    Ooh, ooh! Sign me up for citizenship in that country!! ;)

  16. hlm
    September 2, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    I have no intention of voting for Palin but see no reason to lie like this. All voting records show she was a registered Republican and NEVER registered in the AIP. This sort of smearing and dishonestly makes you look bad — not Palin.

  17. September 4, 2008 at 1:04 am

    “You’re right, Palin was never a member of the AIP, but there’s a fair chance that she had some connection to the organization.”

    Her husband, who is part native American, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party until Sarah Palin was appointed to a statewide position in 2002.

    What I want to know is why the press feels the need to interject the phrase, “who has down syndrome” every time their youngest son is mentioned. While the media seems to make its living out of turning people into exhibits, I reckon that doing it to trisomatic kids who can’t fight back is particularly tacky.

  18. September 5, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Ms. Sarah Palin also reportedly sought to ban the works of Mark Twain. The librarian couldn’t be reached for comment. Sounds like the work of the widow Douglas, or maybe even that of scoundrel Huck Finn. Now Ms. Douglas and Mr. Finn were known troublemakers. I’m certain the nefarious pair’s sordid history of skullduggery and collusion was unworthy of Mr. Twain’s pen. (Don’t be fooled, Mr. Twain penned this drivel before Ms. Palin’s tenure as governor, so the allegation must be true.) Still and all, I’d like to hear the claim from Ms. Mary Ellen the librarian firsthand. That is, if she hasn’t mysteriously disappeared. For my own self, I can’t say enough about Sarah Palin. I liken her detractors to skaters who go down hard. Anyway, here’s a clip from Jan & Dean. Bet you can’t watch just once: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX7X4FovYRA&NR=1 And, how ‘bout them Dems: lost in space, or true tales from the Office of the Pork-master General: http://theseedsof9-11.com

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