We're talking here about the Alaskan Independence Party -- the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.
Alaska Dispatch asked Tea Party-endorsed, Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller about this just before the Fourth of July weekend. He claimed to not even know what the platform of the AIP might be.
Say it ain't so, Joe. You're a bright guy, a West Point and Yale-educated guy, and a former resident of Fairbanks, home of the late, great AIP founder Joe Vogler. All Alaskans, even those who didn't like Vogler's politics, liked Vogler. He was Alaska independent to the core.
That's something that doesn't require a party. It just is. Still, there is an Alaskan Independence Party and it has a pretty Tea Party-sounding platform:
- "Full compliance with the constitution of the United States of America."
- Support for "states' rights, individual rights, property rights, and the equal footing doctrine as guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States of America and the state of Alaska."
- "The rights of all Alaskan residents to entry upon all public lands within the state, and to acquire private property interest there in, under fair and reasonable conditions."
- "Abolishing and prohibiting all property taxes."
- "Complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska in conformance with Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the federal constitution.
- -Repeal of "all bureaucratic regulations and judicial rulings purporting to have the effect of law."
- Support for "the right of the individual to keep and bear arms."
- Support for "the privatization of government services."
If you like the Tea Party, you gotta love the Alaskan Independence Party, so why has it been shunned even by Alaska politicians?
Onetime Gov. Sarah Palin sort of started this when she was running for vice president back in 2008. Remember, the mainstream press -- what she now calls the "lamestream media" -- tried to call her out for AIP ties, and the John McCain campaign retorted in the L.A. Times that the Palins were "proud Americans" and attempts to link them to the AIP were "a smear"?
But wait, isn't the claim that association with the AIP is a smear really a smear on the AIP, which wants only liberty and a statewide vote on possible new relationships with the U.S. government -- back to territory status, on to some sort of new partnership with the federal government, or even far ahead to a new nation named Alaska?
That might sound a little out there to some, but consider that the United Nations approved slicing and dicing the Balkans into a bunch of nations so small they wouldn't even qualify as boroughs in Alaska.
"Aren't most Alaskan Independence Party members a bunch of radicals and Kooks?" the party itself posits on its website. "A: The party has its share of individualists, in the grand Alaskan tradition. No longer a fringe party, the AIP is a viable third party with a serious mission and qualified candidates for elected offices."
The late Wally Hickel, twice governor of Alaska, understood. He was one of those individualists, and the last time he was elected governor it was on the AIP ticket, and at least one other Alaskan now seems to get it:
Todd Palin, the husband of ex-Gov. Sarah, was for years a registered AIP party member, and now he's helping out with the campaign of Tea Partier Miller. Maybe Todd should tell Joe that an attachment to the Alaskan Independence Party is not something you need to hide, at least in Alaska. The words "Alaskan" and "independence" have deep and significant meanings in the 49th state.