Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sarah Palin and the John Birch Society?

In 1995, Sarah Palin, as a member of the Wasilla City Council, was photographed reading a publication of the John Birch Society, as Ben Smith reports in, "What's on the Desk?":

Palin John Birch Society

In a picture supplied by Sarah Palin's family to the Associated Press, Palin appears with some rather odd reading matter: The magazine of the ultraconservative John Birch Society.

The picture, dating to 1995, when Palin was a member of the Wasilla City Council, ran beside a
profile of Palin in Saturday's New York Times. The magazine, The New American, is sitting on top of her calendar on her desk, unopened.

The current, and then-, president of the group, John McManus, confirmed that the cover fit the description of a 1995 issue of the magazine. The headline, "Con-Con Call," refers to discussion at the time of a constitutional convention. The headline appears above a picture of then-Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, who had floated the notion as a way of returning the balance of power back toward the states. But the author warned that the convention could actually be a devious ploy aimed at increasing government power.

McManus said Palin wouldn't have had to have any connection to the society, or the journal, to have wound up with that issue on her desk."Any attempt to link her to the John Birch Society would be ridiculous," he said of speculation on the
liberal blogs that first noticed the magazine.

Let's think about this.

Palin, as a member of the city council, with mayoral aspirations - and perhaps ambitions for higher state office - may have been intrigued by cutting-edge issues in federalism and local government, such as "devolution" and "reinventing government" (which were the rage in public policy the 1990s). Or, perhaps a municipal colleague gave her a copy of the New American to look over. Maybe Palin admired Utah's Governor Leavitt (on the cover), who made his mark in state government leadership issues during Palin's tenure, and was president of the Council of State Governments in 1996...

In other words, Palin might have no more interest in an extreme right ideological 'zine than she might in a copy of Vogue featuring the latest in haute couture.

Or, as the Smith article notes:

"This photo from the early to mid 90s shows the Governor having her photo taken in front of a three ring binder of information from local citizens presented regularly to Wasilla council members by the town clerk," said Palin spokesman Michael Goldfarb. "These binders featured material given by members of the public to all council members."

In other words, the magazine's just a routine piece of city government literature made available to all council officers.

But don't try and tell that to Dave Neiwart, of course, who's at it again with more of his "pseudo-fascist" smear jobs, "Is Sarah Palin A Closet John Bircher?":

The Birchers are best known for their ardent McCarthyism and their long career in promoting cockamamie conspiracy theories about supposed Communist infiltration of government -- not just in the '50s and '60s, but well into the late '80s, until the fall of the Soviet Union. At that point, they simply picked up the same act and transferred it to promoting similar theories about the "New World Order" under Bill Clinton in the 1990s. (Chip Berlet has one of the best disquisitions on the Birch Society's long career.)

These same theories were the raison d'etre of the militia movement -- and indeed, the Birch Society ardently promoted the militias and related "Patriot" activity. I used to see their material on sale at militia gatherings regularly.

One can see where this is going...

Apparently, Sarah Palin, in 1995, was a proto-fascist, white supremacist, separatist extremist, no doubt with supposed ties to anti-government fundamentalist organizations such as "The Order" or the "Silent Brotherhood."

The problem, of course, is that the closest anyone can get to substantiating such claims is by noting that Governor Palin attended meetings of the Alaska Independence Party, and her husband, Todd, was briefly a member of the group around the same time, 1995.

That's it ... So why the fuss among the nihilists at Daily Kos and Firedoglake?

Cinnamon Stillwell provides the clues (via GSGF):

There's a new affliction sweeping the nation, and it's known as Palin Derangement Syndrome. The phenomenon is similar to Bush Derangement Syndrome, a term coined by political columnist Charles Krauthammer to describe the personal animosity and irrational hatred directed at President Bush by his leftist opponents. But this time, Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, is the object of wrath.

The feeding frenzy began with the news of Palin's selection, but it was her electrifying speech at the Republic National Convention last month that really set it off. In one fell swoop, Palin managed to energize the Republican base, breathe life into the McCain campaign, launch some very effective jabs at Barack Obama, and quite possibly, attract the support of the 18 million Hillary Clinton voters.

The attacks on Palin have ranged from patronizing to vicious to fantastical. She has been caricatured as an inexperienced rube, a baby-making automaton, an uneducated underachiever, a bad mother, trailer-park trash, a rightwing religious fanatic, a sexual fantasy, and of course, a fascist. No subject has been deemed taboo in the effort to take Palin down.

It's true: Absolutely nothing has been considered too low, or too vile, in the weeks-long and completely psychotic campaign of defamation and destruction against Sarah Palin and her family.

As Dr. Rusty Shackleford notes:

I just happened to have been forwarded an e-mail to the DU post earlier by a rabid Obama supporter trying to convince me that Sarah Palin is a right-wing lunatic. The original "gotcha" find was posted here and quickly went viral in lefty circles - including several Kos diaries linking it and tying the accusation to false rumors circulating that Sarah Palin belonged to the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party.

Yep, a "right wing lunatic." I guess if the left can conjure up a few more of those, they'll be able to seal a Barack Obama electoral fraud on the American people in November.

That is, if they don't completely alienate "small town" Americans across the country first (the more likely scenario, amazingly).