New Tie Found Between Palin And Far Right Extremism

During her acceptance speech Sarah Palin quoted an unnamed writer who write, “”We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity.” Thomas Frank has tracked down the quote and found it was from far right-wing columnist Westbrook Pegler. Pegler is on record for having regretted FDR was not assassinated and was known for his anti-Semitism. Even the John Birch Society wound up dissociating themselves from Pegler’s views.

This certainly does not mean that Palin shares Pegler’s views but is yet one more disturbing link between Palin and the extreme right wing, raising legitimate questions regarding the influences on her views. These questions become more important due to Palin’s refusal to say anything this week which has not been scripted, and her only scheduled interview is with Charles Gibson whose ties to McCain raise fears he will not risk his access by asking any hard questions.

The issue of small town America wound up becoming part of the campaign when Palin distorted the criticism of her. The actual criticism had nothing to do with those living in small town America but was whether the experience of being mayor of a town with a population of around six thousand provided any meaningful experience to deal with national and international issues. The manner in which Palin has been kept away from having to answer any questions seems to provide an answer to this question.

I’ve lived in both big and small towns and have my doubts that the people of either are inherently better or worse than the other. Both have their good people and their bad people. Wasilla certainly has its share of people who do not live up to Palin’s words as it is considered the methamphetamine capital of Alaska by Alaska State Troopers. The National Enquirer alleges that Wasilla’s drug problem extends to Palin’s own family with Track having been addicted to OxyContin. (Perhaps that is why Rush Limbaugh has been such a huge fan of Sarah Palin.)

If true this might not by itself be a good reason to vote against Sarah Palin but there is some justice in this. During the culture wars conservatives have often claimed a moral superiority to liberals, when often it is liberals who have the more traditional life styles. I would certainly hope my daughter grows up to be more like the daughters of John Kerry or Al Gore than the daughters of George Bush or Sarah Palin (and fortunately she is well on her way to doing so).


  1. 1
    Jerry says:

    I would like to point out an interesting double standard – one that I haven’t seen/heard mentioned yet.  It has to do with “first dude”.  If Michele Obama had belonged to a group calling for a state leaving the union, she and Barack would’ve been (insert negative reaction here).
    First Dude has belonged to such a group, yet it seems that it’s OK because, after all, he’s a man and therefore capable of having separate (pun intended) views.  Do political wives’ perceived faults more negatively reflect on their politician husbands than “first dudes” do upon their wives?  They certainly shouldn’t.

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    Ron Chusid says:

    I’ve also commented before on how things would be different if the charges against Palin and her husband were against a Democrat, including his ties to the AIP. Of course if Obama had spoken before such a group as Sarah Palin has that would have been bad enough. After all, that is a far closer connection than Obama had from being on the same committee with Ayers.

    As a member of the AIP had started the story by saying Sarah Palin was a member, my bet is that if this was a story used against a Democrat they would still be pushing the claims of actual membership. They would have ignored the later retraction.

    Similarly there were first stories about Palin supporting Pat Buchanan because of an old AP story reporting this and because Pat Buchanan himself called Palin a supporter (leaving some doubt about recent denials). Palin states she wore a Buchanan badge as a courtesy while he was visiting. Apparently it was ok for Palin to wear the badge of an anti-Semite such as Buchanan but imagine if Obama was pictured wearing the badge supporting someone as radical on the left. Are there any pictures of Palin wearing badges of liberal candidates as a courtesy. It is strange that all these associations involve the radical right.

  3. 3
    David Drissel says:

    Thanks for the informative post.  Over the past few weeks, I have become increasingly concerned about the prospect of Governor Sarah Palin becoming the next Vice President of the United States.  Certainly, the idea of Sen. John McCain serving as commander-in-chief is indeed a frightening prospect, but with his advanced age and numerous bouts with melanoma, he is quite likely not to survive four years in office if elected, thus allowing Palin to become President. 

The prospect of a Palin presidency (or vice presidency for that matter) is troubling for many reasons.  Besides her obvious lack of experience, abuses of power as governor, and apparent ignorance concerning national and international issues, Palin also is a far-right extremist.  I have decided to list my Top Ten Reasons why I am convinced that Palin is an ultra-conservative fanatic that makes Pat Robertson or maybe even David Duke look moderate.

    1.    Sarah Palin and her husband Todd are former associates and long-time supporters of the anti-American, secessionist-based, Alaskan Independence Party (AIP).   Supporting a statewide “vote” for Alaskan secession from the U.S., the fringe AIP touts itself as a “states rights party.”  As one AIP leader states, the party has “a plank that challenges the legality of the Alaskan statehood vote as illegal and in violation of United Nations charter and international law.”  AIP’s founder, Joe Vogler, has repeatedly professed his “hatred” for the American government.   As reported by ABC News, AIP leaders have claimed that the Palins are former members of the party and attended statewide conferences in 1994 and 2000.   Though official records indicate that Palin has been a registered Republican since 1982, nothing has disproved the AIP claim that Palin was an active supporter of this rabidly anti-American party.  Besides, one can certainly be a “member” of more than one party simultaneously. More telling is the fact that Gov. Palin sent an official videotaped message to the AIP’s annual convention in early 2008, in which she endorsed their “party’s vision” and referred to AIP as “inspiring:”
    2.     Palin is a Christian fundamentalist extremist who endorses a church that condones modern-day witch-hunts.  For years, she was a member of a Pentecostal church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, which not only speaks in tongues and conducts faith healing, but also believes in exorcisms and witch-hunts.   In fact, her former preacher and spiritual mentor, Pastor Thomas Muthee, purposively incited violent mobs in Kenya that physically drove alleged “witches” from various towns and villages.  Such activities are clearly sexist and are a centuries-old form of “spiritual warfare” directed against influential women living in traditional communities.

    3.     Palin is a theocratic extremist who believes that God actively supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and even the construction of oil pipelines in Alaska. As she told the Wasilla Assembly of God in June 2008, the Iraq war and the Alaskan pipeline were part of “God’s Plan.”   She also takes pride in the fact that her minister, the witch-hunting Pastor Thomas Muthee, beseeched God to help get her elected governor. 
    4.     Palin is an apocalyptic survivalist who currently attends a church whose main tenet is the belief that Alaska has a “special role” in God’s divine plan for the “last days.”  The Wasilla Bible Church, of which she and her family have been members since 2002, actively promotes the radical survivalist view that Alaska will provide a “shelter” as a “refuge state” in the aftermath of the impending apocalypse.
    5.     Governor Palin has an extreme position on abortion rights.  For years, she has advocated the nationwide criminalization of abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.  Going beyond the primary conservative approach of calling for the overturn of Roe v. Wade (which would return the issue back to the states), Palin favors national legislation and a constitutional amendment that would criminalize abortion in all states, with only one exception: If the mother’s life is in imminent obvious danger.  In fact, she stated as a gubernatorial candidate in 2006 that she would oppose abortion “even if her own daughter was raped.”   So if Palin has her way, she would legally force a 16-year old girl who was raped by her uncle to carry the fetus to term.

    6.     Palin is a rabid homophobic extremist.  For starters, her current church clearly advocates the “conversion” of gay men and lesbians into “heterosexual Christians.”  As reported by the AP, one of her church’s major theological tenets is known as “pray away the gay,” which Palin apparently supports, judging from her active support of Wasilla Bible Church’s programs and philosophy. More importantly, at the beginning of her administration, Palin actively supported a bill that would have denied state benefits for gay partners of public employees.  As governor, she also sought to remove books from public libraries that were gay-tolerant.  Like other far-right extremists, she supports a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage nationwide.  She also opposes hate crime legislation that includes provisions for sexual orientation.  So, this supposedly “Christian church lady” apparently does not think that the law should offer any legal protection to the victims of hate crimes whose attackers were motivated by anti-gay bigotry.
    7.     Palin is an anti-environmental extremist.  She not only constantly demeans science, but also decries mainstream scientific theories of climate change.  Disagreeing with her running mate on this position, Palin has repeatedly argued that global warming is not man-made, but rather a “natural” phenomenon.  Moreover, she favors opening up Alaska’s entire protected wilderness areas (including ANWAR) to oil exploration and development.  In a recent interview, as reported on ABC News, Palin stated, “A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.”
    8.     Palin is a jingoistic bellicose extremist in foreign policy.  Like Bush and McCain, she favors rash military action as a substitute for genuine diplomacy and careful negotiations with other countries.  Though her ignorance about the Bush Doctrine was revealed in a recent ABC News interview with Charlie Gibson, she nonetheless reaffirmed her belief in American unilateralism and preemptive military attacks on sovereign nations.   Moreover, when asked about her response to alleged Russian aggression in Georgia, she indicated that the U.S should consider going to war with Russia if further “unprovoked” incursions occur.   If Palin indeed welcomes Alaska’s role in the Apocalypse, then she may get her wish if a U.S.-Russian war is ignited over a small obscure former member of the Soviet Union. 
    9.     Palin is a major “gun nut” who believes that the Second Amendment is absolutely sacrosanct.  Like the most extreme members of the NRA, Palin is opposed to virtually all forms of gun control – including waiting periods for gun purchases and bans on assault weapons.  As a gubernatorial candidate, she even argued that gun control was “as much of a threat to families as drugs and gangs.”  Talk about right-wing erroneous hyperbole.  No wonder Palin received the NRA’s “highest possible rating” while running for governor in Alaska.   Palin recently claimed that she would be one of the most pro-gun vice-presidents in American history.”
    10.  Palin has taken numerous other extremist positions on a whole range of issues. For example, she actively supports and promotes “abstinence only” sex education in public schools.   She favors the teaching of religious-based creationism in biology classrooms, including the “young earth” theory that promotes the ardently unscientific idea that dinosaurs coexisted with mankind literally thousands of years ago.  As one commentator noted recently: “It is quite scary that someone who rejects the fundamentals of basic science, and who shows such a shocking inability to engage in rational thought, could wind up being a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

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