Sarah Palin’s Radical Right-Wing Pals!

In the wake of the McCain campaign’s attempt to link Barack Obama with William Ayers (formerly of the radical group Weather Underground), Salon has come out with a piece entitled “Sarah Palin’s Right Wing Mentors“. The article details Governor Palin’s relationship with the Alaskan Independence Party.

The article gives you a brief history of the Alaska Independence Party, including the rather gruesome personal history of its illustrious founder:

The AIP was born of the vision of “Old Joe” Vogler, a hard-bitten former gold miner who hated the government of the United States almost as much as he hated wolves and environmentalists. His resentment peaked during the early 1970s when the federal government began installing Alaska’s oil and gas pipeline. Fueled by raw rage — “The United States has made a colony of Alaska,” he told author John McPhee in 1977 — Vogler declared a maverick candidacy for the governorship in 1982. Though he lost, Old Joe became a force to be reckoned with, as well as a constant source of amusement for Alaska’s political class. During a gubernatorial debate in 1982, Vogler proposed using nuclear weapons to obliterate the glaciers blocking roadways to Juneau. “There’s gold under there!” he exclaimed.

Vogler made another failed run for the governor’s mansion in 1986. But the AIP’s fortunes shifted suddenly four years later when Vogler convinced Richard Nixon’s former interior secretary, Wally Hickel, to run for governor under his party’s banner. Hickel coasted to victory, outflanking a moderate Republican and a centrist Democrat. An archconservative Republican running under the AIP candidate, Jack Coghill, was elected lieutenant governor.

Hickel’s subsequent failure as governor to press for a vote on Alaskan independence rankled Old Joe. With sponsorship from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Vogler was scheduled to present his case for Alaskan secession before the United Nations General Assembly in the late spring of 1993. But before he could, Old Joe’s long, strange political career ended tragically that May when he was murdered by a fellow secessionist.

Although she has never been an official member, Palin has been a long-time supporter of the party, even going so far as to address the party at its annual meeting just months before being nominated as VP. Her husband, Todd Palin is a member. And while the AIP itself seems to be a fairly harmless coalition of gun-toting, vaguely libertarian rednecks, it seems to have no problem rubbing shoulders with far more radical ideologies. And individual members of the party seem quite sympathetic to outright racist sentiments:

“The Alaskan Independence Party has got links to almost every independence-minded movement in the world,” Chryson exclaimed. “And Alaska is not the only place that’s about separation. There’s at least 30 different states that are talking about some type of separation from the United States.”

This has meant rubbing shoulders and forging alliances with outright white supremacists and far-right theocrats, particularly those who dominate the proceedings at such gatherings as the North American Secessionist conventions, which AIP delegates have attended in recent years. The AIP’s affiliation with neo-Confederate organizations is motivated as much by ideological affinity as by organizational convenience.

Indeed, Chryson makes no secret of his sympathy for the Lost Cause. “Should the Confederate states have been allowed to separate and go their peaceful ways?” Chryson asked rhetorically. “Yes. The War of Northern Aggression, or the Civil War, or the War Between the States — however you want to refer to it — was not about slavery, it was about states’ rights.”

It’s more than a little disturbing that the potential Vice President and indeed, potential President, of the US has such a cozy relationship with people who see no problem in consorting with white supremacists and neo-Confederates who defend their racism with the old “states’ rights” canard. While there’s nothing wrong with supporting states’ rights, or even contemplating the notion of secession from the US, there’s a huge problem with associating oneself or one’s organization with hate groups.

But Palin apparently has no problem with Chrysler’s extremism. As the article reports, it was Chrysler and his buddies in the AIP who helped launch Palin’s political career, and Palin sought to pay them back:

In Wasilla, the AIP became powerful by proxy — because of Chryson and Stoll’s alliance with Sarah Palin. Chryson and Stoll had found themselves in constant opposition to policies of Wasilla’s Democratic mayor, who started his three-term, nine-year tenure in 1987. By 1992, Chryson and Stoll had begun convening regular protests outside City Council. Their demonstrations invariably involved grievances against any and all forms of “socialist government,” from city planning to public education. Stoll shared Chryson’s conspiratorial views: “The rumor was that he had wrapped his guns in plastic and buried them in his yard so he could get them after the New World Order took over,” Stein told a reporter…

…when Palin won the election, the men who had once shouted anti-government slogans outside City Hall now had a foothold inside the mayor’s office. Palin attempted to pay back her newfound pals during her first City Council meeting as mayor. In that meeting, on Oct. 14, 1996, she appointed Stoll to one of the City Council’s two newly vacant seats. But Palin was blocked by the single vote of then-Councilman Nick Carney, who had endured countless rancorous confrontations with Stoll and considered him a “violent” influence on local politics. Though Palin considered consulting attorneys about finding another means of placing Stoll on the council, she was ultimately forced to back down and accept a compromise candidate.

Emboldened by his nomination by Mayor Palin, Stoll later demanded she fire Wasilla’s museum director, John Cooper, a personal enemy he longed to sabotage. Palin obliged, eliminating Cooper’s position in short order. “Gotcha, Cooper!” Stoll told the deposed museum director after his termination, as Cooper told a reporter for the New York Times. “And it only cost me a campaign contribution.” Stoll, who donated $1,000 to Palin’s mayoral campaign, did not respond to numerous requests for an interview. Palin has blamed budget concerns for Cooper’s departure.

And irregardless of how you feel about the AIP, it does seem more than a little contradictory that the McCain campaign should take as its motto “Country First” and then turn around and pick a Vice Presidential candidate that endorses a party whose motto is “Alaska First”. This is the same party whose founder reportedly said “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.” Which is it, Palin? Country first? Or Alaska first?

Yeehaw! We done killed us some wolf pups!

Yeehaw! We done killed us some wolf pups!

You can read or listen to an interview with Max Blumenthal (author of the Salon Piece) here at Democracy Now!.

(Lovely Photo taken from the Alaskan Independence Party Website)

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~ by Kimchi on October 14, 2008.

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