Palin and the Fringe | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Palin and the Fringe

The extreme right claims John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, as one of their own.

The extreme right claims John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, as one of their own. Photo by Courtesy U.S. Army

Sept. 9, 2008

The extreme right is declaring a third-party victory with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on the presidential ticket this fall. "News of Sarah Palin's ties to the Alaskan Independence Party inflamed the left yesterday, and what a joy it was to behold!" crowed League of the South board member Michael Tuggle on the League's "Rebellion" blog. The "LS Blog" button on the League's home page, dixienet.org, links directly to Rebellion (subtitled "Current events and commentary from a Southern perspective. The most powerful political forces of our time—localism, secession, and confederalism—vindicate the Southern Cause").

Some might miss the connection, dismissing Tuggle's effusive proclamation as a mere rant from the fringe. But the Constitution Party, which the Southern Poverty Law Center defines as a "patriott" group, lists the AIP as its Alaska state affiliate. Affiliates, while they are independent state-wide organizations with their own structure, share many Constitution Party planks, and work to ensure that the national party's candidates for higher office are on the state ballots, while using the national party's endorsements for their own, in-state candidates.

"Technically, we're not part of the Constitution Party," said J.R. Myers, AIP's vice-chairman (south). AIP Chairman, Lynette Clark, said the AIP is not an affiliate, despite the Constitution Party's Web site designation.

"I thought I cleared that up in the past," Clark said. "[W]e are an independent, states-rights party in Alaska."

Nonetheless, the AIP nominated the Constitution Party's 2004 presidential candidate Michael Peroutka to appear on the Alaska ballot. Peroutka is a member of the League of the South, which whole-heartedly approved his candidacy, according to the Web site Peroutka2004.com, and he spoke at their 2004 annual meeting. Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler also enthusiastically endorsed Peroutka's candidacy, sporting a "Peroutka for President" sign on his pickup truck during the Aryan Nation's 2004 parade in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

"I did not know that Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party was connected to the League of the South," Clark said.

In a December 2004 speech published on his site, Peroutka calls public education an "evil power that seeks to separate children from their parents' influence and to prepare them not for independent, productive service to God, family and country, but for increasing dependence on the largesse of the growing welfare state and a dangerous new world order. Simply put, they are being trained for slavery!" He also promised to close down the Department of Education, accusing it of drugging children, and because "public schools are a cesspool of politically correct, condom dispensing, sodomy promoting sewage that calls itself education."

"The Constitution Party represents the farthest right fringes," said Heidi Beirich, deputy director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project.

The SPLC lists the League of the South (based in Alabama, but with branches in several states) as a neo-confederate hate group. The League denies it is racist or white supremacist, but the evidence, according to the SPLC, shows otherwise.

"League intellectuals have defended both slavery (which was 'God-ordained') and segregation, a policy described as protecting the genetic 'integrity' of both blacks and whites," the SPLC writes on its Web site.

The AIP's Lynette Clark told ABC News on Sept. 1 that Palin was a member of the AIP party in 1994, although her husband, Dexter Clark, the party's vice chairman (north), said later that day that his wife was mistaken, and she released a statement on Sept. 3 apologizing for the error.

Palin, if not personally connected to the "paleoconservative" AIP, certainly has peripheral connections: The Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 3 that both Palins attended the AIP convention in 1994 and Sarah Palin spoke at the 2006 convention, according to former AIP Chairman Mark Chryson, though the McCain campaign disputes this. The director of the Alaska Division of Elections, Gail Fenumiai said that Palin's husband Todd (the "first dude," as Palin calls him) was a member of the AIP party from 1995 to 2002, reported AP.

Earlier this year, Palin videotaped a welcome speech to the AIP convention in Fairbanks as Alaska's governor, where she encouraged the party's stance for "a self-sufficient state," and urged it to "keep up the good work," in her closing statement. Rebellion proudly posted the speech for its members.

Paleoconservatives, who generally believe most other American conservatives have "sold out" to immoral liberality and are "corrupt tools of the establishment," include such stalwarts as Pat Buchanan and Robert Novak, whose disagreements with neoconservatives about the Iraq war have earned him the "paleocon" label from David Frum of the National Review and Thomas Schaller of Salon.com, among others.

Ethnic "solidarity" is a hallmark of many paleoconservative groups such as the Family Research Council, whose president, Tony Perkins, the SPLC and numerous news outlets have connected with former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Dukes and the Council of Conservative Citizens (started by former leaders of the Citizen's Councils of America here in Mississippi).

"When you look at their hardcore activists in the state, you find (members of the Constitution Party) … popping up in a lot of campaigns (with) anti-tax initiatives, fighting local public-school mil levies, anti-choice politics, anti-gay politics," said Travis McAdam, research director for the Montana Human Rights Network, a group with direct experience with the Constitution Party. "We started to really see that they have wedged themselves into this ongoing debate about who represents the 'true' conservatives. In Montana, we have one of the more conservative Republican parties in the country. We think it's pretty ridiculous to look at the state Republican Party and say, 'oh, it's liberal."

Like many state affiliates, the Constitution Party of Montana positions itself as the place where disaffected mainstream Republicans should come. But McAdam exhorts voters to look at their platform to find what they're really about. In Montana, the Constitution Party supports militia groups, for example, and wants to do away with the 14th amendment and public education.

"Every position you would normally expect a conservative to have, they want to take it to another degree," McAdam said.

The SPLC's "patriot" designation, which may sound innocuous, has decidedly disturbing overtones. "Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the 'New World Order' or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines," states the SPLC Web site. Among the 131 patriot groups listed as active in 2007 are 43 militia groups and the John Birch Society.

Various Constitution and Christian Identity groups (such as the Aryan Nation) define the "new world order" as a global conspiracy run by an international cabal whose goal is to enslave the entire population of the earth.

According to the MHRN, "Christian Identity is based on a racist interpretation of the Christian Bible. It teaches that Jews are the literal children of Satan, and people of color are subhuman 'mud people.' Its followers also believe that people of Northern European descent are God's chosen people, because the Lost of Tribes of Israel migrated to this region of Europe. America is viewed as the biblical Promised Land. Identity's views are frequently combined with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories purporting Jewish control of American government, resulting in an ever-present threat of violence based on the belief that the 'promised land' must be liberated from the 'anti-Christ." The MHRN says that the Constitution Party of Montana Web site linked to Christian Identity adherents John Trochmann and "militia icon" Bo Gritz as late as April 2000.

"The only legitimate purpose of civil government is to safeguard the God-given rights of its citizens; namely, life, liberty, and property," reads the Constitution Party national platform. "Only those duties, functions, and programs specifically assigned to the federal government by the Constitution should be funded. We call upon Congress and the President to stop all federal expenditures which are not specifically authorized by the U.S. Constitution, and to restore to the states those powers, programs, and sources of revenue that the federal government has usurped."

The party's tenets include pro-gun and pro-militia stances, and anti-choice, anti-immigrant and anti-government statements. Party adherents do not want to see their guns registered, or their defence or their children's educations left to the federal government; they want to abolish the Department of Education and repeal compulsory attendance laws. They believe life begins at fertilization, do not believe in abortion even for cases of rape or incest, and do not want their food and drugs vetted or inspected by the likes of the Food and Drug Administration. They also want to abolish the "general ticket" voting system in place since 1830, and re-establish the original Electoral College where "prominent individuals" from congressional districts select the president.

The AIP advocates dissolution of the federal government and secession from the union in its resolutions passed at its 2000 convention. In November 2006, members represented the party in the First North American Separatist Convention in Montpelier, Vt., co-hosted by the Second Vermont Republic and the Middlebury Institute, a New York separatist organization. The bulk of attendees at that conference hailed from the South, reported the SPLC, including members from the League of the South, Christian Exodus (a secessionist organization from South Carolina that openly advocates nullifying the 14th amendment—which granted citizenship to former slaves during reconstruction—along with the 16th and 17th amendments and the Abbeville Institute, which promotes "Southern identity" and tradition.

The AIP also sent representatives, including the Clarks, to the Second North American Secessionist Convention, held in Chattanooga in October 2007. The League of the South and the Middlebury Institute co-hosted that conference.

"Without secession, liberty and self-government can never be sustained, and diversity among human societies can never survive," concludes the Chattanooga Declaration, signed by the Clarks and Tuggle, among others, on Oct. 4, 2007.

"The Constitution Party … takes these really radical right-wing ideas, and it repackages them as a political party, and that's the way that these really bizarre ideas find their way into the mainstream. That's why you find the League of South endorsing the Constitution Party candidate," McAdam said. "It doesn't take a whole lot to retool their rhetoric to make it less offensive," he added.

The Constitution Party has been looking for a national presidential candidate to latch on to for years, courting everyone from Patrick Buchanan to Ron Paul. But most politicians eventually find they don't want to be associated with the party's extremists. That casts the Palin's links to the AIP in a whole new light, because her vice-presidential candidacy moves the party from the fringe into the arena of the mainstream Republican Party.

"That really does help legitimize them as just another conservative political entity instead of a fringe group, which is how they should be viewed," McAdam said.

He also said that while the national and Montana affiliate of the Constitution Party do not openly advocate racism, they support militia groups and other right-wing radicals who are overtly anti-immigrant and racist. "The 'patriot' movement's ambiguity allows it to receive political cover from the political mainstream, while at the same time it cavorts with racists, and everything else in between," McAdam wrote in "The Radical Right Wing's Collision With Mainstream Politics," a report about the Constitution Party of Montana.

"We want our racism to be incredibly overt. We want it to be tattooed on skinheads; we want Klansmen and burning crosses on lawns. What that does is it allows us to say, 'I'm not racist," McAdam said. "The immigration debate is an amazing example: If you start to look at that debate, you don't have to peel away many layers to find that hardcore racist, white supremacist edge to it."

Previous Comments

ID
135572
Comment
That's a pretty good picture of Palin with the gun. Attractive women with guns are only going to scare the 'choir' of this site. It's funny for all the talk of women's rights and women showing strength and leadership most left wing folks just want it to be thier own kind of strength and leadership. They want a woman that thinks and acts just like them. That's kind of what turns me off of a site like this because my posts will get blasted from all different directions and people and everyone will encourage each other and feel superior and smug and nothing will really get accomplished. Now to my point: There is nothing wrong with pushing for state's rights and a stronger state independance. (Imagine if Louisanna would have done that before Katrina) One of the main reasons we broke from Great Britian was the huge, ugly creature that the national government there had become. Oppression can come from both left wing and right wing governments. So now everyone can jump on the 'we all think alike' bandwagon and blast my post. Let's just hope that some of you recognize that balance and counterpoints are what keeps our country great. My more 'right wing' views need your more 'left wing' views to balance out this crazy experiment called America.
Author
crawdad
Date
2008-09-10T13:14:45-06:00
ID
135574
Comment
She is not holding a "real M4" that's the army's seriously expensive video game. The "combat simulator" check out the plugged barrel with laser and the electronic cables coming out the mag-well where the magazine would go on a real M4.
Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-09-10T14:18:40-06:00
ID
135576
Comment
You're wrong crawfish: "women with guns are only going to scare the 'choir' of this site."...Republican women aren't the only ones who can get their blast on. My 68 year-old mother is a community organizer and progressive activist going back to the sixties and she keeps an array of loaded weapons stashed in handy locations all around her house just in case right wingnuts get nutty. Our tradition of respect for guns as tools of liberation goes all the way back to Harriet Tubman who packed a pistol as she lead slaves to freedom. Ya'll ain't the only ones ready to defend our cherished freedoms.
Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-09-10T15:39:27-06:00
ID
135577
Comment
Crawdad, don't be so dense. If a PR photo of Palin with a gun "scared" people around here, we wouldn't post it. Slow down and think a bit before you post, and you would make more sense.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-09-10T15:51:41-06:00
ID
135578
Comment
Oh, and I'm going to gun classes this fall. Now, Crawdad and others: Please note that this story is about Palin's connections with the extreme right. Please make any comments relevant to that topic. You can start your own forum thread to talk about guns if you want.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-09-10T15:55:05-06:00
ID
135580
Comment
Speaking of Palin and the fringe, check out this Folo post on her religious affiliations. No surprise, considering that that level of religious extremist are the ones attracted by these wingnut secession/lose-the-14th-Amendment movements. [whistles low]
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-09-10T16:36:31-06:00
ID
135714
Comment
OK, this gets creepier by the way. Sarah Palin quoted a white supremacist and anti-semite in her acceptance speech, as revealed by Thomas Frank in the Wall Street Journal. How in the world does she have such a quote at her fingertips?!? (Oh, he was quoted in Pat Buchanan's book.) NY Times columnist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had this to say about Palin's choice of "writers" to quote: "Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that 'some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.'[6][7] It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list." And NY Times columnist Frank Rich said this about the racial subtext: There were several creepy subtexts at work here. The first was the choice of Truman. Most 20th-century vice presidents and presidents in both parties hailed from small towns, but she just happened to alight on a Democrat who ascended to the presidency when an ailing president died in office. Just as striking was the unnamed writer she quoted. He was identified by Thomas Frank in The Wall Street Journal as the now largely forgotten but once powerful right-wing Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler. Palin, who lies with ease about her own record, misrepresented Pegler's too. He decreed America was "done for" after Truman won a full term in 1948. For his part, Truman regarded the columnist as a "guttersnipe," and with good reason. Pegler was a rabid Joe McCarthyite who loathed F.D.R. and Ike and tirelessly advanced the theory that American Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe ("geese," he called them) were all likely Communists. Surely Palin knows no more about Pegler than she does about the Bush doctrine. But the people around her do, and they will be shaping a Palin presidency. That they would inject not just Pegler's words but spirit into their candidate's speech shows where they're coming from. Rick Davis, the McCain campaign manager, said that the Palin-sparked convention created "a whole new Republican Party," but what it actually did was exhume an old one from its crypt. [...] The racial component to this brand of politics was undisguised in St. Paul. Americans saw a virtually all-white audience yuk it up when Giuliani ridiculed Barack Obama's "only in America" success as an affirmative-action fairy tale – and when he and Palin mocked Obama's history as a community organizer in Chicago. Neither party has had so few black delegates (1.5 percent) in the 40 years since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies started keeping a record. Really, truly creepy.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-09-15T21:38:37-06:00
ID
135724
Comment
Let Palin open her mouth randomly and there won't be any more doubt about her. You can't be a ideal member of the republican party and reared and socialized to be superior, prejudice and racist then given a microphone and expected to be smart enough to act otherwise. There is a reason she attneded so many colleges and barely graduated from any of them. She's dumber than George Bush. The brillance of George's background at least taught him caution and finesse. Of course, my great worry about Palin is that she is the typical or common representation of her gender, race and type. We will see how things turn out. I always prefer the true no matter how ugly the truth is.
Author
Walt
Date
2008-09-16T08:14:32-06:00
ID
135728
Comment
Someone posted this on the HuffPost. It pinpoints what this is coming down to, a referendum on the character of this country: "I...cringe everytime the news shows some American dimwit saying they will vote for her because she is so much like them. SHE IS NOT LIKE THEM, unless they are all LIARS FULL OF HATE AND BIGOTRY." This is a referendum on what kind of people are we? The entire world is watching.
Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-09-16T08:55:07-06:00
ID
135734
Comment
Whitley, we don't care what the world thinks of us anymore since we're better and/or superior to everyone else. We don't want respect any more. We prefer that they fear us. We're the greatest nation on earth. We're not worrying about any down fall like Rome or other past great nations. They didn't have the technological advances such as satelites intelligence, groundswell intelligence, bombs, missiles, biological warfare, great manpower, ready and able soldiers, marines, pilots, eager killers, et al, that we have. Can't nobody beat us, baby. That's for sure. We can't be defeated unless we defeat ourselves. Didn't we, led by republicans, tell the United Nations about 6 or 7 years ago that we wouldn't any longer listen to their suggestions, counsel and advise. Can we be any more succinct in telling the rest of the world to f-off? We're America, baby, love us or get out the way.
Author
Walt
Date
2008-09-16T09:28:12-06:00
ID
135736
Comment
"A McCain victory on Election Day will usher in a Palin presidency, with McCain serving as a transitional front man, an even weaker Bush to her Cheney." Frank Rich
Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-09-16T09:39:41-06:00
ID
135738
Comment
Byron York of National Review, a conservative acknowledges the hypocrisy, "If the Obamas had a 17-year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is if they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families.">
Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-09-16T09:42:55-06:00
ID
135739
Comment
When that happens (Palin as president) we will soon defeat ourselves as discussed above. Not because she's a woman but because she's a nut who has drunk the whole jug of koolaid. Republican greed and immorality will be the death of America, literally and figuratively.
Author
Walt
Date
2008-09-16T09:44:35-06:00
ID
135747
Comment
Lord, can she get any worse? ABC News on Palin's record on rape and domestic-violence prevention.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-09-16T10:30:56-06:00
ID
135781
Comment
"Of course, my great worry about Palin is that she is the typical or common representation of her gender, race and type. We will see how things turn out. I always prefer the true no matter how ugly the truth is." ~ Walt Oh please expand on what the typical or common representation of her race and gender might be. LOL I think maybe Palin fever has degenerated into hysteria. She is now a stronger Cheney to McCain's Bush ?? Give me a break. Maybe she is just a more masculine Al Gore?
Author
WMartin
Date
2008-09-16T14:42:31-06:00
ID
139098
Comment
CNN ran a story today called "The Palins and the Fringe" (sounds a bit like Ronni's story above from a month ago, eh? Glad they're doing it, even if weeks behind Ronni Mott and the Jackson Free Press. They make it very clear that the group "despises the United States government." And that Todd Palin was a member.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-10-14T17:47:40-06:00

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