Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Country Alaska First

So the McCain camp abandoned the message of how dangerously inexperienced Obama is by picking a 44 year old 2 year Governor of a state the with a population the size of a small city to be their nominee for Vice President. OK, fine, they still got the thinly veiled attack at Obama's patriotism with "Country First", right? We'll maybe not.

Officials of the Alaskan Independence Party say that Palin was once so independent, she was once a member of their party, which, since the 1970s, has been pushing for a legal vote for Alaskans to decide whether or not residents of the 49th state can secede from the United States.

And while McCain's motto -- as seen in a new TV ad -- is "Country First," the AIP's motto is the exact opposite -- "Alaska First -- Alaska Always."

Lynette Clark, the chairman of the AIP, tells ABC News that Palin and her husband Todd were members in 1994, even attending the 1994 statewide convention in Wasilla. Clark was AIP secretary at the time.

"We are a state's rights party," says Clark, a self-employed goldminer. The AIP has "a plank that challenges the legality of the Alaskan statehood vote as illegal and in violation of United Nations charter and international law."

Honestly, this stuff is getting really bizarre. But I guess membership in a hardcore libertarian secessionist party will help with the Ron Paul crazies... so she's got that going for her. She should have a rock solid lock on the Alan Keyes vote... all four of them.

But I guess this is what happens when you start vetting someone the day before you pick them. In the words of Eugene Robinson, what did we learn about John McCain from this:
...that he is willing to take an enormous gamble based on limited information. He only met Palin once before summoning her for a final interview. He realized he needed to shake up the presidential race, and that's what he did. But we are reminded, if we did not realize it before, that the three things not to expect from a McCain presidency are caution, prudence and a willingness to always put the nation's interests above his own.
Ouch. That's not really what you want the most important decision you make as a candidate to say about you... but he's still a Straight Talkin' Maverick, right?

UPDATE: Hilzoy and Andrew Sullivan have good posts on what the Palin pick tells us about McCain. They key part from Hilzoy:
Consider what one of McCain's advisors said about how he made this decision: "This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn't get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge."

John didn't get what he wanted. Right. He could have waited to make his decision until after Palin had been thoroughly vetted. That, however, would have meant giving up his clever idea of announcing his VP pick the day after Obama's convention speech. Alternately, he could have gone with one of the people who had been thoroughly vetted: Pawlenty, for instance. But "neither was the transformative, attention-grabbing choice Mr. McCain felt he needed, top campaign advisers said". So he decided to gamble it all on someone he barely knew and had not vetted.

Was it pique at not being able to nominate the people he really wanted? A desire to be the "attention-grabbing" maverick again, or a Norma Desmond-like urge to show the young whippersnapper who has the gall to say that he's the agent of change how it's done? Pushing back against the discipline of a campaign? Or just plain unadulterated idiocy? I have no idea, though I suspect it's all of the above. What I do know, though, is that I don't want someone who makes decisions like this to be my President.

A man who makes important decisions this way is unfit to be President. That's all there is to it.

UPDATE II: Kevin Drum says it snarkier:
At this point, I don't think I'd trust McCain to help me shop for a used car, let alone run the country.

UPDATE III: It appears the Palin herself never changed her registration from Republican, but her husband was a member from 1995-2002. Odd. Don't know if she went to conventions or not as was claimed in the original Jake Tapper item.

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