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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Not a radical secessionist: Sarah Palin, registered Alaska Republican continuously since 1982

Another pathetic, disgusting smear attempt. What will it be tomorrow? "Palin is evil clone produced from long-frozen embryo salvaged from Eva Braun's corpse"? (Subheading: "Nevertheless continues to oppose abortion, stem-cell research.")


Governors have a public relations role on behalf of their states. Sarah Palin has embraced that duty cheerfully and very effectively. For a very good example, watch this video clip from June 25, 2007, of her granting comedian Craig Ferguson's application for "honorary citizenship" in Alaska. Gov. Palin is so very friendly that Ferguson began joking about her "naughty librarian vibe" and claiming "I think she's kinda comin' onto me a little bit."

Obviously Craig Ferguson isn't the only person who's drawn too broad an inference from Gov. Palin's warmth and enthusiasm. Based in part on this gubernatorial welcome video that Gov. Palin made for members of the Alaskan Independence Party convention in 2008, the Hard Left bloggers jumped to the conclusion that Gov. Palin was once a member of that party. "Scandal!" they trumpeted, "These are right-wing fringe fascists who want to secede from the United States, and Palin was one of them!"

Never mind that Gov. Palin was obviously speaking as a representative of a competing party in the video (emphasis mine):

Your party plays an important role in our state's politics. I've always said that competition is so good. And that applies to political parties as well.

Someone found a set of other creaky homemade videos of some geezer gentleman from the AIP droning on in a hotel conference room at some party function, during which he mentioned Gov. Palin's name and claimed that she'd been an AIP member before she became mayor of Wasilla in 1996. Someone else from the AIP claimed to have first-hand knowledge that this was true.

The Hard Left bloggers captured the interest of Marc Ambinder from The Atlantic, Jake Tapper at ABC News, and Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times, all of whom ran stories treating these allegations as well-established fact, another in a series of embarrassing disclosures, yada yada yada.

But within hours, the McCain campaign had posted a sharp denial online. Shortly after that, as reported and then re-distributed by the inestimable and invaluable Ed Morrissey at HotAir, the campaign was distributing .pdf files of Palin's voter registration records going back to 1982. These documents conclusively show that Palin registered as a Republican then, and never changed that registration despite several address changes in the interim. One such address change (on page 5 of the .pdf file) is dated August 7, 1995, which would be exactly during the period Gov. Palin was a Wasilla city councilman, but not yet mayor.

The campaign also said, in a follow-up post (emphasis in original):

The Governor did appear at the AIP convention in 2000, when the convention was held in Wasilla. This would seem to be the only decent thing to do, given her responsibilities as Mayor of Wasilla, but apparently Tapper believes the press is owed further explanation.

So we have the Governor of Alaska's denial, backed up by detailed documentary proof, against speculation and people who may charitably be described as "unreliable," and more accurately be described as "cranks."

KUDOS to the McCain campaign for its quick and devastating response. The marginally smarter dupes folks like Tapper began backing off yesterday evening — reporting the campaign's position and gently disassociating themselves from their "sources" — even before the documentation came out. By 12:21 pm Eastern today (Sep. 2), Tapper was writing:

Officials of the AIP say Palin was once a member, but the McCain campaign — providing what it says is complete voter registration documentation — says Palin has been according to official records a lifelong Republican.

(Which to be honest seems more in keeping with the ambitious pol. Republicans have a much better track record than the AIP.)

Oh, how very precious! Yes, indeed, let's be honest, Jake! Just for the fun of it! After all, that would be a "change we can believe in."


UPDATE (Tue Sep 2 @ 2:10pm): A reader has emailed me to predict the themes for Thursday, to follow up on Wednesday's cloned-embryo-from-Eva-Braun smear. Confidential informants have told me that dKos is now joint-venturing with FireDogLake and MyDD to tell a tale that involves Gov. Palin, snowmobiles (or snowmachines, as they're called in Alaska), the winter solstice, and zombies. Possibly in ANWR.

Someday this post may rise to the No. 1 response for search engine searches on "Palin + Eva Braun" and "Palin + zombies + snowmachines." But there actually are other competitors already.


UPDATE (Tue Sep 3 @ 2:15pm): Commenter John Fay below asked questions which made clear to me a defect in my original post here, one of a type I'm particularly prone to, which is assuming too much pre-existing knowledge of legal topics on the part of my readers.

In a state like Texas, where I live, "party membership" is a loosey-goosey thing. We don't "register" our party affiliations here as such, and there is no such thing as a "registered Republican" or a "registered Democrat." When one votes in a particular party's primary, one may not then legally vote in another party's primary for that same election; they stamp your voter-registration card to show which primary you've voted in. And the fact of which party's primary one has voted in on that day (though not the particulars of one's vote) becomes a matter of public record. This sometimes leads to confusion when someone has engaged in "strategic voting" (by casting a "spoiling vote" in an opposing party's primary), but with our "open primaries," such potential confusion is inherent in the system. One can call (or refuse to call) oneself pretty much whatever one likes without fear of contradiction.

Alaska is not such a state, however. Its election laws have been changed substantially over the last 20 years, in part due to litigation involving smaller political parties. Before 2000, Alaska had a blanket primary system with a single ballot that listed every candidate, regardless of party affiliation that allowed voters to choose freely among them. The candidate of each party who won the largest number of votes became that party's nominee in the ensuing general election. In response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a similar system in California, the Alaska legislature revised its primary system in 2001. That resulted in a 2005 decision from the Alaska Supreme Court that sustained a challenge to the new system brought by two small parties, and its election laws, particularly with respect to who can vote in which primary elections, have been revised yet again in response.

What's pertinent to this discussion, however, is that continuously throughout this period, Alaska has maintained a system in which to be registered to vote, voters must either register as a member of an established political party (of which there are several possibilities) or as an independent (which, in Alaska, actually has separate sub-categories including "nonpartisan," "undeclared," and "other"). But to be registered to vote at all, Alaska law requires you to have one, and only one, of these choices. You cannot simultaneously be a "registered Republican" and a "registered [anything else, whether Democrat, Green, Libertarian, AIP, undeclared, nonpartisan, independent, or whatever]." The law simply excludes — negates, makes impossible — that possibility.

Of course, you can change your party registration by submitting a new form, just like you can change your address. Each of the various change of address forms included in the .pdf file furnished by the McCain-Palin campaign represented an opportunity in which Sarah Palin could have changed her party registration from Republican, but instead, in each of them, she again checked "Republican." The front page of that .pdf file, a computer printout showing her historic registration status, confirms that her status has never changed since it was first set by her in 1982.

This is conclusive, folks. You can say, if you're conspiracy-minded, that in her heart she had some secret reservation or intention — that could be said of George W. Bush, too, I suppose; maybe he's a secret Democrat at heart — but in the eyes of the law as defined by the State of Alaska, Sarah Heath Palin is and has been a Republican continuously since 1982. That's not subject to debate. You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own view of reality, and in the reality in which we live, those are the facts.

Depending on which primary you're talking about, her continuous registration as a Republican may or may not have prevented her from having had even an opportunity to vote for other parties' primary election candidates. And of course, in general elections, even a registered Democrat can vote for the Republican nominee. We still have secret ballots in this country (although that principle is currently under dramatic assault by the Democratic Party with respect to elections on whether a company's workforce should become unionized or not). So could Sarah Palin secretly have cast her vote for someone other than a Republican candidate in one or another office in races over the years? Of course she could have. But so what? I've occasionally been a ticket-splitter myself, especially on Texas judicial elections.

Let's turn, for a moment, from the law and back to logic. Back up a step, and consider this entire "scandal." The Hard Left wants you to think Sarah Palin should be an unacceptable GOP vice presidential nominee because, they insist, she has "ties" to or perhaps just "sympathies" with the Alaska Independence Party. They want you to think that's scandalous because, they contend, those AIP folks are part of a radical political "fringe" that can't be trusted. Okay, if you grant that premise, then why should you possibly believe the AIP people who claim that she's sympathetic to them? By definition (as these Hard Lefties would have it), the AIP people are kooks who can't be trusted! The Hard Left can't have it both ways.

As for the "Manchurian Candidate" meme — that the AIP people have urged their sympathizers to "infiltrate" the two majority parties — consider the logic of that assertion specifically with respect to Gov. Sarah Palin. If Sarah Palin were really committed to Alaska's secession from the United States, she's already in the optimum position to try to accomplish that result. The very last thing she'd ever do is leave the Alaksa Governor's mansion and command of the Alaska National Guard to move to Washington, D.C. and a job where her only official power is to preside over the U.S. Senate (with an ability to vote there only when there's a tie).

The "Manchurian Candidate" meme is nonsense being promoted by barking moonbats who are looking for very, very gullible targets. Don't be gullible. If you're not persuaded by the documentation and the law and the word of Sarah Palin, then use your common sense.

Finally: I believe in plaudits when due to those on the left, and this time they go to Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings, who's prominently retracted her earlier post and notes that one of the original sources for the AIP membership claim is backing off too.

Posted by Beldar at 12:47 PM in 2008 Election, Mainstream Media, McCain, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Not a radical secessionist: Sarah Palin, registered Alaska Republican continuously since 1982 and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) arb made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 12:52:33 PM | Permalink

"Scandal!" they trumpeted, "These are right-wing fringe fascists who want to succeed from the United States, and Palin was one of them!"

*Succeed* from the US?

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 12:56:00 PM | Permalink

Ack, thanks, typo duly corrected arb.

(3) arb made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 1:22:32 PM | Permalink

Thank *you* for that "change we can believe in." :-}

(4) John Fay made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 2:29:52 PM | Permalink

Her welcome video for the AIP is still troubling. Have other Alaskan Republican and Democratic governors recorded welcomes for AIP in a similar fashion? If so, then there is no problem. But here in California, the Democratic and Republican governors do not make welcome videos for conventions of the Peace and Freedom Party or any other fringe political parties.

More, I've seen the video where the AIP chief makes the claims about Palin's membership. This is clearly not some hit piece manufactured by the Democrats. And the assertion about Palin's membership in the group is clearly regarded as a non-controversial statement of fact in the video. Which leads me to think that these assertions need to be investigated carefully before we can know exactly what substance they have.

And if McCain had taken the time to investigate Palin himself, we wouldn't have to be doing it now in the public media.

(5) don made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 3:59:09 PM | Permalink


the pith: "He tells them that in order to propagate AIP policy they "should infiltrate" mainstream parties. "Whichever party in that area [in which] you can get something done, get into that political party, even though it does have its problems," he says."

Don't let your disgust with the MSM put you so far away from documented facts that you can't still see them.

(6) arb made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 4:06:49 PM | Permalink

"Lynette Clark, the chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), confirmed to ABC News that Mrs Palin and her husband Todd had both been both members and attended at least one party convention."

And why would *she* lie?

But where's the *documented* proof?

(7) The Raving Atheist made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 4:08:20 PM | Permalink

if McCain had taken the time to investigate Palin himself, we wouldn't have to be doing it now in the public media.

I strongly disagree. The notion that McCain didn't vet her is largely an invention of the public media. Probably the biggest reason some people are buying it is the revelation regarding her daughter's pregnancy, but that is something that McCain did vet. Since she's a new face, virtually everything about her will come as a "surprise" to most people, even if it's information that has been widely available on the internet or elsewhere for years, and was in fact known by the McCain campaign.

The media could easily pull the same stunt on Obama or Biden, breathlessly re-running Joe's "I have a higher IQ than you" video and wondering about the "vetting." Instead, he's been innoculated with the "oh, he's a gaffe-machine" meme so no matter what's aired it's just Joe being Joe.

There's no way McCain could have prevented what's happening with Palin now. To avoid the "no vetting" charge, he'd have had to release a laundry-list of her alleged flaws and missteps on the day he introduced her, hardly a way to start a campaign. And even that wouldn't have prevented most of the attacks that are going on now, since they're just made-up crazy lies which don't get picked up in vetting because they're just made-up crazy lies.

With all due respect, I think the people who say "if McCain had vetted her first we wouldn't be doing it now" really mean "if McCain had vetted her first, he wouldn't have picked her." But I'm overjoyed that he did, and if the media gives enough airtime to Sarah just being Sarah, I don't think the democrats have a chance.

(8) Neo made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 4:51:10 PM | Permalink

The Obama campaign went off half-cocked with a rumor that claimed Palin was a Pat Buchanan supporter. The campaign issued a press release which claimed that Palin was a Buchanan supporter and that Buchanan was a "nazi sympathizer".

PAT BUCHANAN: If they do that, you end the moratorium on Rev. Jeremiah Wright, because Barack Obama's pastor and spiritual advisor for 15 years did run an anti-Semitic church, does run an anti-white church and has engaged in racist rants. And we were told that, look, this is off the table, those sort of things. And them to have them come up and, come after me, you open up somebody's associations? You open those up. You open up all of yours.
It must be those infamous "low level staffers", that Obama has been leading as part of his presidential training, who put out this wonderful POS.

(9) toby made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:07:29 PM | Permalink

"There's no way McCain could have prevented what's happening with Palin now."

Nonsense, if he was adopted a managed and systematic vetting of the candidates, the way Obama picked Biden, he would have ended up with someone else. The contrast between the way the two men performed on this key task for a Presidential candidate is vey informative.

This was an off-the-wall gesture by McCain to capture the news cycle after the Democratic convention. Except it has now become a bigger story than the Republican convention itself.

Its a fumble by McCain and advantage Obama.

Besides, all this whining and hand-wringing about smears is rich after the swiftboat smears of four years ago which were traced to Karl Rove. "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen."

(10) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:11:48 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Since when did the left get so touchy about states wanting to secede from the Amerikka? Next they'll be objecting to states and municpalities interposing their authorities against that of the eeevill BushCo...

For Don: I'm impressed. None of the usual swallowing of the idiotic mass paranoias rolling off the production lines of the Left for you. No sir, you will follow the notorious conservative Andrew Sullivan and look to history for vintage bunk, guff, and hooey, to force down your gullet. I haven't seen anything about the Know-Nothings since the 1850s. Everything old IS new again. How much better this hokum than bothering your head with questions about, say, how Governor Palin's budget making experience qualifies her for high office, or some other intelligent question. Keep it up, and you, too, will stand out in the ochlocracy of Obama zanies, A. Sullivan Chancellor.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:29:17 PM | Permalink

arb: She'd lie because she's part of a fringe political movement wanting to draw attention to itself, and/or eliminate someone prominent and popular from the state-wide political scene, and/or she misunderstood Gov. Palin's polite and respectful demeanor for enthusiastic joining of her fringe party (the way Craig Ferguson became convinced Gov. Palin was coming on to him), and/or she's nuts. The documentation is in the .pdf file. Did you not look at it? Is there something in it you didn't understand? If so, ask, and we can certainly discuss it. (If you were being snarky instead of serious with your questions, I apologize.)

toby: You picked the wrong blog to visit with a claim that Karl Rove was behind the SwiftVets. I was not a Swift Boat Veteran, but I know some personally, and I was proud to be among their allies and supporters. Moreover, this blog was among the most active anywhere on the net in 2004 in considering and discussing their allegations, and the Kerry campaign's responses, in very great detail. You, sir, are full of Crap. With a capital C. And although that's a less civil statement than I normally aspire to with commenters who are merely foolish, I cannot help but take umbridge at the suggestion that I'm Karl Rove's, or anyone else's, puppet. Why, other than the weekly bank wire transfers and the daily talking point emails, he and I hardly correspond at all.

TRA! Long time no see! Thank you for stopping by.

don: If you try hard, you can "prove" in exactly that manner anything you seek to prove. You can disprove the Holocaust. You can disprove the moon landings. You will be a kook in a tin-foil hat, but your logic will be internally consistent, and they'll probably let you have Jello for desert most days.

Mr. Fay: Thank you for your comment, which exposes a failure in my original post. I'm doing some legal research in Alaska election law before I address your comment further, but I'll probably do so in an update to the post itself rather than a comment. Suffice it to say for now that if Sarah Palin was a registered Republican -- and the documents conclusively prove, as a matter of Alaska election law, that she was -- then she could not, within Alaska law, have simultaneously been a member of any other party. If you want to go all Manchurian Candidate on us (like don has), then you will find this unconvincing, but I don't think you're suffering from his same disabilities.

Thanks for the other thoughtful comments, too. I don't mean to slight anyone by not mentioning them, but there's just not time to respond to them all.

(12) arb made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 5:54:12 PM | Permalink

Mr. D-

(If you were being snarky instead of serious with your questions, I apologize.)

I was, and it's cool. :-}

(13) arb made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 6:15:53 PM | Permalink

To further clarify:

1)And why would *she* lie?

Snarkily referred to Clark lying to further her own, as well as her party's, interests.

2)But where's the *documented* proof?

Referred to poster Don's search for "documented facts,"
which had already been provided by the McCain campaign, rebutting the linked article's claims.

OK, back to the usual slap-happy antics and zany hi-jinks. (Hi, Jinks!)

(14) stan made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 7:30:32 PM | Permalink

Krauthammer was right about the difference b/w Dems and the GOP -- they really do think we are evil. And because they do, they feel totally justified when they go vicious, ugly and whacko the way they have the last few days.

The lefty blogs are vicious cesspools. They've been infected with BDS and swimming in that filth so long that they can no longer discern what stinks. There no longer exists any boundary to delineate decency.

What a strange moral calculus they have derived! The GOP is evil. Palin is part of the GOP. Thus, Palin is evil. Accordingly, it follows that no slander can be too vicious, if employed in their noble pursuit of defeating evil.

Lenin would be proud. For them, "Good" is defined as anything that helps their Party accrue more power.

(15) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 7:43:44 PM | Permalink

There is a doozy of a sound bite in favor of Sarah in this October 2007 Charlie Rose Show by by Gov. Janet Napolitano. She volunteers how quickly a governor comes to realize how important her role in being CIC of the state Nat'l Guard is.

(16) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 7:53:47 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Will election law be conclusive? I don't think so. Exempli gratia: if I were still living in California, I would have voted in the Democratic primary, as part of Blimpblob's Operation Chaos. But no sane person would put me near the Democratic party. To vote in the Democratic primary, you have to be a registered Democrat or independent. It's conceivable that Palin might have said she was an AIP member to someone in the AIP for a tactical reason. She couldn't have voted as such, of course, because she was registered as a GOPer. I don't think this explanation is likely, but for the gulper of mass paranoias, only absolute proof will do. Hi Don, Toby!

Since when did Karl resume speaking to you? Ever since you engineered the Palin selection, Karl has been in a funk, realizing his time as chief string puller is over, baby. It's a sign of his demoralization that he could only manage a near miss on New Orleans with Gustav, instead of a full scale hit that would have wiped out numerous Democrats. To be sure, The One and the Chicago machine could have voted them from the dead, but that's just one more chore for The One to take care of.

Hoping you are the same.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(17) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 9:36:31 PM | Permalink

Beldar, surely there's a difference between being a member of a party and being registered as a supporter of one. For instance, I am a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party, but I'm registered to vote as a Republican. Does Alaska really have a law that would prohibit that, were I to live there?

It seems perfectly possible, to me, that Palin has been registered as a Republican continuously since 1982, but at some point joined the AIP as a member and attended its convention. Not that there'd be anything wrong with that, in my opinion, it would just be a bit unusual for a Republican candidate once to have been a member of another party. And of course she denies it, and I have no reason to think her less than 100% honest, so I conclude that even though it was possible it didn't happen. But the PDF doesn't prove that.

(18) Jeff Lubnow made the following comment | Sep 2, 2008 11:42:01 PM | Permalink

"it would just be a bit unusual for a Republican candidate once to have been a member of another party"

don't tell that to Ronald Reagan

(19) Alex Knapp made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 12:03:31 AM | Permalink

FWIW, it now appears that while Sarah has not been a member of AIP at this point, her husband was as recently as 2002. Now, I myself do not hold that a spouse's politics are reflective to a candidate's, so this means very little to me.

However, some people put more stock in the opinions of a candidates' friends, family, fellow board members, and casual acquaintances. I myself find that silly and illogical, due to my ability to be friends with and work with people whose ideas I find repugnant, but for those who care about such things, there you are: Sarah Palin's husband was a member of AIP.

(20) DC-UM-UDM made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 9:59:48 AM | Permalink

It was reported today that the FBI has refuted the McCain campaign's claim that the FBI had been involved in the vetting and background investigation of Palin. It was also reported that they were still requesting background information and still vetting Pawlenty as recently as the day Palin was announced as the VP choice. This lends credibility to the argument that the vetting process was not handled in a deliberate, organized manner, and that the selection was more of a knee-jerk reaction to short-term political needs than a sincere effort to choose someone who would serve the country well and be ready to be president if McCain dies while in office.

(21) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 1:49:35 PM | Permalink

DC-UM-UDM: I'm speculating here, but I think it's well-founded speculation. I think you're suffering from confusion as to what involvement the FBI has in any of these matters. The press seems to share your confusion, and it's conceivable to me that one or both campaigns have, from time to time, contributed to that confusion.

Stop and think, for a moment, though: Do you really think the FBI takes direction from either the DNC or the RNC, or from either party's nominee? Do you think they take direction from mere U.S. Senators like Obama or McCain? Of course they don't.

The FBI does maintain several databases that it makes available to local law enforcement authorities and, in some cases, to the public. I don't know, but I would strongly suspect that the campaign's reference to "vetting" and "the FBI" probably was intended to reference their having consulted such a data base.

Now, at some point — certainly before a new administration takes office, — the FBI is indeed going to be getting involved. But that's going to be doing investigations for purposes of security clearances.

This is all as it should be. You don't want the main national law enforcement agency working at the direction of either political party, nor to be directly involved in such intrinsically political decisions as who either part names as its candidates. It's a short step from that to potential abuses of power.

(22) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 3, 2008 1:56:24 PM | Permalink

Alex, thanks for the comment. I don't have any information one way or the other as to Todd's involvement, but I'd be neither surprised or concerned by it, unless and until there is some hint of any connection to any illegal activity. Indeed, given his union membership, it wouldn't be surprising if Todd were a registered Democrat, but Alaskans tend to be drawn to libertarian ideas and to be intrinsically suspicious of federal government authority, neither of which trends have helped the Democratic Party there.

I'm divorced, but my ex-wife has canceled my vote regularly going back even to the era when we were merely dating. She's a single-issue voter — "pro-choice," she'd say — and although I disagree with her votes, I certainly respect her right to her own opinions. I don't think her views undercut my own credibility; if anything, by constantly causing me to test and re-think my own, her more liberal views probably benefit my overall outlook.

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