The last word from Sarah Palin? – Don’t count on it.

If I recall my history correctly President Nixson once said before he became President “you won’t have Dick Nixson to kick around anymore” or words to that effect.  Is Sarah Palin trying to emulate him?  Is she planning a comeback?  Before her suprise announcement yesterday, I was researching the Palin (Todd and Sarah) connection to the Alaska Independence Party prompted by the reported Vanity Fair/CBS quotes from emails.  Back in October 2008, before the election, I wrote a piece about Bill Ayres and Todd Palin in which I quoted some members of the AIP.  It was clear back then, and it is clearer now that the Palins were invoved with the AIP for a number of years.

I guess I was not the only one because Andrew Sullivan wrote about her lies yesterday in his Atlantic magazine blog.  During the campaign, the Todd Palin-AIP connection was surfacing and Sarah Palin evidently was trying to do damage control by claiming Todd just meant to register “independent”.  Sullivan writes about McCain campaign official, Steve Schmidt’s response

To his eternal credit, Schmidt fired back

“Secession. It is their entire reason for existence. A cursory examination of the website shows that the party exists for the purpose of seceding from the union. That is the stated goal on the front page of the web site. Our records indicate that todd was a member for seven years. If this is incorrect then we need to understand the discrepancy. The statement you are suggesting be released would be innaccurate. The innaccuracy would bring greater media attention to this matter and be a distraction. According to your staff there have been no media inquiries into this and you received no questions about it during your interviews. If you are asked about it you should smile and say many alaskans who love their country join the party because it speeks to a tradition of political independence. Todd loves his country

We will not put out a statement and inflame this and create a situation where john has to adress this.”

And then there is the Los Angeles Times column from September 2008 by Rosa Brooks

It’s untrue that Palin has no foreign policy experience, anyway. In fact, she appears to have seriously flirted with the idea of trying to turn Alaska into a foreign country. How many vice presidential candidates can put that on their resumes?

Over the years, Palin has actively courted the Alaska Independence Party, or AIP, an organization that supports Alaskan secession from the U.S. To be clear, we’re not necessarily talking about friendly secession either: As the AIP’s founder, Joe Vogler, told an interviewer in 1991: “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. … And I won’t be buried under their damn flag.”

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. could learn from this man.

The McCain campaign denies that Palin ever joined the AIP. But while it is in dispute whether she attended its 1994 convention, she did visit the 2000 one and addressed AIP conventions in 2006 and 2008. Her husband, Todd, was a registered AIP member from 1995 to 2002, and the AIP leadership certainly considers her one of their own.

Video footage shows AIP Vice Chairman Dexter Clark describing Palin at the 2007 North American Secessionist Convention as an “AIP member before she got the job as a mayor of a small town — that was a nonpartisan job. But you get along to go along. She eventually joined the Republican Party, where she had all kinds of problems with their ethics, and well, I won’t go into that.” (No need to. The Alaska Legislature’s ethics investigators are on the case.) Apparently with Palin in mind, Clark then went on to urge AIP members to “infiltrate” the major parties.

So if Sarah Palin wants to be President, she will have to not only make all this go away, she will also have to overcome the idea that she is a quitter. 

 Sarah Palin

All political commentators (including me) will miss her if her incomprehensible resignation speech is her last public word.  As Gail Collins wrote in her New York Times column today

Truly, Sarah Palin has come a long way. When she ran for vice president, she frequently became disjointed and garbled when she departed from her prepared remarks. Now the prepared remarks are incoherent, too.

“And a problem in our country today is apathy,” she said on Friday as she announced that she would resign as governor of Alaska at the end of the month. “It would be apathetic to just hunker down and ‘go with the flow.’ Nah, only dead fish ‘go with the flow.’ No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time … to BUILD UP.”

Basically, the point was that Palin is quitting as governor because she’s not a quitter. Or a deceased salmon.

Palin was the subject of a devastating article in this month’s Vanity Fair by Todd Purdum, who wrote that McCain campaign aides found it almost impossible to get Palin to prepare for her disastrous interview with Katie Couric. And there is no sign, Purdum reported, that Palin has made any attempt to bone up on the issues so that next time around, she could run as a candidate who actually had some grasp of the intricacies of foreign and domestic policy.

So if she’s starting to run, it will be as the same reporter-avoiding, generalization-spouting underachiever that she was last time around.

Now we know she not only doesn’t have the concentration to read a policy paper, she can’t focus long enough to finish the job she was hired to do.

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