Something that I have heard about Sarah Palin in the last five days that has improved my opinion of her is that she was apparently once a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Naturally, I have no objections to state secessionist movements or to any state movement that would consider secession as a legitimate option, and I would count it as one of Palin’s virtues if she was such a decentralist and states’ rights conservative that she endorsed the party’s platform in its entirety. However, I assume that she was drawn to the party more because it was a right-populist alternative to the GOP than out of any strong concern to break away from the U.S. It does seem inconceivable that McCain would have chosen her had he known about any ties to such a party, since the party exists to protest against the very central government McCain has spent most of his life serving.
At the same time, the McCain campaign’s insistence that Palin had nothing to do with the Independence Party tells me all that constitutionalists and decentralists should need to know about how this is going to go. Regardless of Palin’s ties to the Alaska party or to any conservative populist campaigns in the past, the GOP is going to try to make Palin respectable by Washington standards by dismissing and insulting as many people on the right as they can. There is certainly not going to be any effort to embrace Buchananites and Constitution Party members (including yours truly) to make any past Palin associations seem more “mainstream.” That being said, do Obama supporters really want to start an argument about respective connections to political fringes?