When The Message Is A Mess

When David Neiwert, an expert on extremist groups in the Northwest, and I concluded our exhaustive investigative report for Salon.com about Sarah Palin’s involvement with the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party, we emailed the McCain camp a detailed synopsis of our findings and requested a response. We were met with silence.

But when Neiwert appeared on Tuesday on Rick Sanchez’s CNN Newsroom, the McCain-Palin campaign went into full damage control mode, blasting out an indignant statement in the middle of the Neiwert’s segment. The statement, written by McCain deputy communications director Michael Goldfarb, a neoconservative former Weekly Standard editor, reads:

CNN is furthering a smear with this report, no different than if your network ran a piece questioning Senator Obama’s religion. No serious news organization has tried to make this connection, and it is unfortunate that CNN would be the first.
We are trying to arrange to have one of the Governor’s people come on air to respond in the event you do run this piece.

By referring to Obama’s “religion,” the McCain-Palin campaign, obviously attempted to provoke the most inflammatory charge leveled against Obama’s character: What religion is he? Is he a crypto-Muslim?The McCain campaign also asserted an equivalency between Obama’s religion and Palin’s political ties to a far right group. The McCain campaign suggests that Obama’s religion and Palin’s politics are both beyond the pale, as it were. But the rapid response raises another question: Is this a disciplined campaign messaging operation? Does the McCain campaign really mean what it suggests?

The McCain-Palin response to our report came as the already beleaguered vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was suffering a damaging series of setbacks, including the resignation of Alaska’s rural affairs director, claiming as a reason the governor’s lack of commitment to racial diversity in her administration. That blow immediately followed my video report in The Daily Beast on Palin’s strained relations with Alaska’s African-American community.

Though McCain-Palin campaign condemned the report on her links to the AIP piece as a “smear,” the facts went unchallenged.

The campaign would not, and could not, discredit the revelation that Palin worked hand-in-glove with former AIP chairman Mark Chryson to undermine the character of her opponent in Wasilla’s 1996 mayoral election and sought to advance Chryson’s agenda once she was elected. As Chryson told us, Palin supported his lobbying to loosen local gun control laws, an effort he initiated to facilitate the formation of anti-government “Patriot” militias. Palin also invited him before Wasilla’s city council to denounce a local ordinance to ban guns from schools and bars.

The McCain-Palin campaign also offered no explanation for why Palin attempted to appoint Steve Stoll, a John Birch Society activist, to the city council seat she had vacated, overlooking Stoll’s reputation in Wasilla as “Black Helicopter Steve,” a conspiratorial figure rumored to have buried high-powered automatic weapons in his front yard in case the New World Order arrived. When a council member who considered him a “violent influence” blocked Stoll’s nomination, Palin considered consulting attorneys about a backdoor means of appointing him.

The strange saga that began during Palin’s early political career, when she cultivated close political ties with an anti-government extremist organization that helped her advance her ambitions, now has turned increasingly strange as the McCain handlers seek to suppress factual reporting of her past. These tactics, especially equating Palin’s politics with Obama’s religion, only underline the questions about Palin’s background, as well as about the McCain campaign’s ability to control its message in the critical three weeks before Election Day.

7 thoughts on “When The Message Is A Mess

  1. Greg Bacon

    Between this and Joe the Plumber, who needs TV’s and their boring soap operas?

    Joe the Plumber story springs more leaks

    And as for that unscripted moment that ended up on Fox News, the one at a rally where he questioned Sen. Barack Obama about the American Dream – and whether he’d have to pay higher taxes under Obama’s plan?

    Seems Joe, who is actually Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, told the conservative Web site familysecuritymatters.org that catching the Democratic presidential candidate off guard “was actually my intent.”

    For one, Wurzelbacher’s expressed concern about paying more taxes looked a bit tarnished with the revelation that he owes Ohio about $1,200 in personal income taxes, according to the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records. And there’s a 2007 civil filing that shows a record for a $1,200 owed to a creditor, St. Charles Mercy Hospital.

    So Wurzelbacher has an active lien on his property filed in January 2007, records from the Ohio Department of Taxation show.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/17/MNQ013J6JV.DTL

    And Joe served in the US Air Force between 1992-95 in, you betcha! Alaska.

    He said he was born in the Toledo area, lived until he was 13 in the Florida Panhandle area, went to Springfield High School, and then entered the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at an Air Force base in Alaska from 1992 until 1995. He said he was honorably discharged.

    http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081016/NEWS09/810160418/-1/NEWS

    This is getting beyond bizarre.

    One Alaskan AF base is Elmendorf, is less than 40 miles from Sarah’s town of Wasilla.

    No wonder Joe called off the media tour, there were too many dangling threads and coincidences lying about.

    Either the Republican Dirty Tricksters are getting lazy or they’re so damend arrogant that they’re getting sloppy.

  2. HopenotHate

    Why can’t someone expose the cover-up and ridiculous hoax about Bristol Palin’s first child? Granted, the McCain camp has bought off the Johnston’s and the hospital she gave birth in is run by Sarah Palin’s church, but there must be someone with evidence in Alaska willing to speak up rather than cash in.

    The emails Palin refuses to release likely have references to the actual circumstances surrounding Bristol’s 2007 pregnancy-leave from school, the planned adoption of her baby Trig, and the Sarah-Palin-pregnancy hoax cover-up.

    McCain-Palin cannot let this come out before the election because this, unlike her numerous ethics scandals and shocking ignorance, is something her loony base would actually care about. For that same reason, it needs to come out. Her base vote in lock-step along a radical-right wing agenda.

  3. Max

    While in Alaska, I heard lots of wild stories about Bristol and Levi Johnston. Most of them came from credible sources: former classmates of theirs. But I have decided (at least for now) to leave these rumors alone. Going after Palin’s kids is kind of gratuitous at this point.

  4. ottoline

    So now, a year later, the rumors/stories have become more fully documented. Rather than a gratuitous effort to stop Palin, it seems to me that babygate should be reported on since she is still going strong and apparently will get away with her fake pregnancy. I still agree that no one should go after the kids (i.e., no need to identify the bio parents of Trig) , but it seems undeniable now that Palin was not pregnant with Trig and perpetrated a hoax of amazing scope, considering her use of that pregnancy to support her bankrupt family values stance. Take a look at the various compilations of photo evidence of SP with a flat stomach weeks before the “birth” of this child. How can it be that responsible reporters are ignoring this story?

    http://www.ottoline.net/PalinHoax/index.shtml

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