While McCain has been touting "Country First," his new, unknown and rather hasty pick for Vice-President, Sarah Palin, has been touting her allegiance to Alaska, "God's plan" and the Alaskan Independence Party, which has been working since the 1970's using the AIP's own interpretation of their state Constitution, towards a United Nations vote allowing Alaskans to decide whether or not they will secede from the United States, and have even explored the possibility of Alaska joining Canada.
Wanting good to come to your home state is very commendable, even something to admire. However, when your desires for your home state or a political movement you support outweigh your desire for the perpetuity of the United States of America and the integrity of its borders, even with only the slightest hint of such desire, there is a direct conflict of interest if the job you pursue is Vice-President, especially when positioned to become President in the event the elderly McCain's health fails him even more.
Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd Palin, were affiliated with this secessionist organization over the years according to various AIP officials and Todd Palin has been shown to be a member from October 1995 through July 2002, other than a few months in the year 2000. Although Sarah Palin's Republican Party affiliation has been traced back to 1982, there remains questions as to what extent Sarah Palin participated in AIP and whether she was an actual member as claimed by various AIP party officials. The organization's records do not go back far enough to prove or disprove her membership and nothing has been produced by the McCain camp as to her pre-1982 political preference.
The McCain campaign still insists Palin did not have any connection whatsoever to AIP, even though Mark Chryson, a former chairman from 1995 through 2002 told ABC News that "Palin was at the convention in 1994. She was there." When asked if she was a member, Chryson stated "She may have been, I do not know...ask Sarah."
The motto of AIP, is "Alaska First-Alaska Always" which rings through even today in Palin's own comments in answer to a question about the duties of vice-president, "We wanna make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans, and for the things we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the US, before I can even start addressing that question."
The AIP party to this day supports a legal challenge to Alaskan statehood and, according the their official party platform, wishes 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"
"To prohibit all bureaucratic regulations and judicial rulings purporting to have the effect of law, except that which shall be approved by the elected legislature"
"support the privatization of government services"
Sarah Palin also has connections to the AIP through the former Alaskan governor, Wally Hickel who ran on the AIP ticket. Hickel has stated "I made her governor" with regards to his long term support of her political career. Palin's belief in the Alaskan Independence Party agenda has endured over the years in spite of her politically motivated switch to the Republican Party.
Palin's support for this secessionist group runs deep enough that she not only attended the 1994 AIP National Convention according to AIP officials, but, as her state's Republican Governor, felt moved enough to provide a video message to their 2008 National Convention in a show of support of the AIP agenda.
Sarah Palin chose to support this 2008 event even though the AIP vice chair had not only attended but gave a speech at the 2nd Secessionist Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee which was sponsored by the League of the South, a neo-Confederate party which has been named by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Note what G. David Cooksey, a prominent LOS member had to say: “You see the day is coming when we will NEED a new type of Klan...Yes I said Klan!! If push comes to shove I’m for it! ... Time has come to stop this crap now!
According to Dexter Clark of the AIP, Palin is "is pretty well sympathetic to her former membership." Mr. Clark also stated "When we travel, we’ve learned – we don’t say we’re Americans. We say we’re Alaskans, and it’s a totally different situation. We’ve gone into classrooms in Fairbanks and do presentations to the high school all the way down to the elementary school. And when we speak at the high school and we talk to these youngsters and tell them they’re different, they already know. And when we talk about America, there are kids in that class doing this (thumbs down), and when we say Alaskan, they’re thumbs are up."
Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd Palin, supported an organization whose founding member, Joe Vogler, felt that citizenship in the United States was an insult and refused to be considered an American, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."
The McCain-Palin campaign advisors have yet to respond fully to requests for information about Sarah Palin's affiliation and ongoing ties to the AIP secessionist group, or those of her husband. They have yet to explain why Palin's is being presented to us as a reformer when she served as a director from 2003 to 2005 for Senator Ted Stevens 527 group which was used to raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. McCain will not discuss why Palin sent a 70-page memo to Sen. Ted Stevens seeking $200 million in earmarks or why she continued to support Stevens even after his corruption was exposed. Nor has McCain explained Palin's $27,000,000 in earmarks for the tiny town of Wasilla or her misrepresentations about her support for the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.
It has become clear, more than evident, that there was no real vetting of Sarah Palin other than by the Democratic Party and the American people. John McCain's team did not speak with any members of her community. Reporters are in Alaska now trying to find even one person his campaign vetting team has talked with. McCain's team did not bother to talk with the prosecutor in the ongoing Troopergate investigation nor members of the Alaskan legislature. They did not even talk with members of her church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, a fundamentalist Pentecostal church led by Pastor Ed Kalnins, nor did they examine the church video library to see what Palin herself preached from the pulpit.