How Much Did They Know?
The real issue about the selection of Sarah Palin isn’t about Sarah Palin. Even though she is an affirmative action candidate, if she checks out for the job, all the better. But every indication is that this was a last-minute choice based on Barack Obama not selecting a woman for his ticket. And it’s cynical to believe that women will switch parties based purely on internal plumbing.
The New York Times looks at what went into making this selection. Some recent disclsures:
it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.
But disclosures about Palin are less troubling than revelations about how much preparation the McCain campaign put into her selection. We already know that McCain met Palin only once and then spoke with her by phone shortly before he saw her again to offer her the gig. Well, at least they didn’t meet in a chatroom and then get to know each other through instant messaging.
A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice. The campaign was still calling Republican operatives as late as Sunday night asking them to go to Alaska to deal with the unexpected candidacy of Ms. Palin.
They didn’t speak to anyone in the state legislature or in the Alaska business community, and the FBI disputes a McCain campaign claim that they did a background check on her.
“They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge.”
And, so, did they know, for example, of her ties to the Alaskan Indpendence Party, her political home from 1994 until 1996, which states these goals:
1) Remain a Territory.
2) Become a separate and Independent Nation.
3) Accept Commonwealth status.
4) Become a State.
AIP founder Joe Vogler makes Jeremiah Wright look like an American Legion commander:
“I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.”
UPDATE: Palin’s campaign is disputing the New York Times’ claim and statements by other media outlets that she was ever a member of the AIP,. They are saying she joined the Republican Party in 1982 and they have provided a copy of her voter registration records.
This year, Palin did send a supportive video greeting to the AIP convention:
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