I hate to interrupt reports about our new Department of Pre-Crime, but for connoisseurs of the politically surreal, Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps on giving. Leaving aside this morning's Washington Post story about how Palin secured $4,000 per citizen in federal earmarks during her tenure as Wasilia mayor, the real fun stuff concerns the revelations that Palin is a former member of the Alaska Independence Party who addressed the AIP's convention earlier this year. (See second update below.) What's the Alaska Independence Party, you may be asking, and why might Palin's membership in it be a big deal? Well, this site explains what it is, and it might be a big deal because here's a particularly choice quote from Joe Vogler, the Party's founder: "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." Indeed, the AIP's motto is "Alaska First." I know, can you believe it? The candidate whose motto is "Country First" chose as his running mate someone who instead believes in "Alaska First." This kind of thing isn't even at the level of knee-jerk irony; it's just stupid. To crib John Ashcroft: "Let the Eagleton Soar!!!!" UPDATE: More from the estimable Frederick Clarkson about the AIP's ties to the reeeeeaaally creepy, far-far-right Constitution Party. SECOND UPDATE: To be fair, it now looks like that, despite the claims of the AIP Chair, Sarah Palin has never been officially registered as a member of the AIP. Her husband was from 1996 until 2002, but, while that worries me, it's hardly the same thing.
Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.