Sarah Palin and the Alaskan Independence Party

Gov. Palin was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. Her husband was a member for several years. She sent a friendly video to this year’s party convention.
The Alaska Independence Party is secessionist and somewhat anti-American. It is the Alaska affiliate of the truly fruitcake Constitution Party.
How much of the AIP/Constitution Party belief system does Gov. Palin share? How thoroughly did the McCain campaign probe those connections?

What do we know?

1. Sarah Palin was never registered to vote in the AIP.

The state elections board has that nailed down tight.

2. Sarah Palin probably never attended an AIP convention or formally affiliated with the party in any way.

Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones, using some good old-fashioned telephonic shoe-leather, has this nailed down. Lynette Clark, the AIP Chairman who asserted that Palin had been a member and an attendee at the 1994 convention, apparently based that assertion entirely on a party official who is now backpedaling rapidly.

3. Todd Palin was an AIP member until 2002.

Again, election records show that.

4. Sarah Palin made a welcoming video for the AIP 2008 convention praising political competition and urging the delegates to “keep up the good work.”

That video was circulating Friday; I saw it, decided there wasn’t much to it, and didn’t post about it. That’s because I thought of the AIP as a harmless fringe group like the Prohibitionists or the Libertarians or the Greens.

5. But AIP isn’t just some harmless fringe group.

The AIP isn’t “officially” in favor of secession, but its platform claims that the statehood vote in 1958 was invalid under international law and that the people of Alaska &#8212 “our republic” &#8212 are entitled to a new vote in which they could choose between statehood, commonwealth status, and independence. This is, the party says, “in furtherance of the dream … for Alaskans to achieve independence.”

The party’s slogan is “Alaska First &#8212 Alaska Always.” The party’s website still prominently carries this quotation from the party’s founder:

I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.

AIP seems to have something in common with the Ron Paul movementlet and at least an openness to 9/11 Truthiness.

6. AIP is the Alaska affiliate of the Constitution Party, whose ideology is Christian Dominionism:

The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States.

This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations …

The Constitution Party platform supports:

* The right of secession: “Each state’s membership in the Union is voluntary.”

* Repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment so that Senators will once again be chosen by state legislatures.

* Repeal of the Voting Rights Act.

* Privatization of all Federal land.

* Repeal of the Endangered Species Act and wetlands protection legislation.

* Abolition of compulsory school attendance.

* Withdrawal from NATO.

* A moratorium on immigration.

* Extension of all the legal rights of personhood to the fetus.

* Elimination of lifetime tenure for judges.

* Congressional action to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction, specifically mentioning both abortion and Judge Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments.

* Abolition of not only the Federal Reserve System, but all paper money and fractional-reserve banking.

* “Phasing out” Social Security.

* Tariffs that would be no less “the difference between the foreign item’s cost of production and the cost of production of a similar item produced in these United States.”

* Abolition of the income tax.

* An end to any overseas “acts of retaliation” against terrorism. Instead the Congress should issue “Letters of marque and reprisal.” (No, seriously.)

7. So that’s the group whose “good work” the Governor encouraged it to “keep up.” That’s the group of which the Governor’s husband was a member for years. Not only does Todd Palin’s membership make it very likely that Sarah Palin knew what the AIP and the Constitution Party stand for, but we already know that, as “First Dude” of Alaska, Todd Palin thought it appropriate to pressure the state’s director of public safety on personnel matters. It’s not as if his opinions were of only private interest.

Now come the questions:

* How much of the AIP/Constitution Party ideology does Gov. Palin share? Does she think Alaska has the right to secede? When she said that her interest in the Vice-Presidency would depend on whether her holding that office would be “fruitful, especially for Alaskans,” did she mean it? Does she think that non-Christians live in the U.S. as guests of a Christian nation? Does she think that American jurisprudence has “Christian foundations” to which it should be restored? That the Congress should strip appeals courts of jurisdiction over abortion? That the institutions of American government are “damned”?

* Did Sen. McCain and his staff know about Gov. Palin’s video address to the AIP Convention and her husband’s former membership in the party? Did they ask which of the party’s beliefs Gov. Palin shares?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: