Tag Archives: Washington D.C.

What’s Ahead For Gov. Palin? Seven Challenges

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

It appears that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will probably be back on the national scene in two years campaigning as the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election.  We here at the Sarah Palin Truth Squad have decided to continue posting information about Governor Palin in anticipation of that race.  Today the Anchorage Daily News published the following article by Tom Kizzia on the political future of Gov. Palin.

For two months she basked — and sizzled — in the world’s hottest celebrity spotlight. Now Sarah Palin has come home to begin the last two years of her term as governor of Alaska.

Everything has changed: Palin’s personal horizon, her relations with the state’s other elected officials, the public’s sense of who she is.

Palin returned to her office Friday amid a brutal crossfire between detractors and defenders in the McCain camp. At the same time, however, a new national poll said 64 percent of Republicans consider her their top choice to run for president in 2012.

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Palin Too Close for Comfort in this Presidential Race

Number One Observatory Circle in Washington, D.C. is the official residence of the Vice President of the United States.

Number One Observatory Circle in Washington, D.C. is the official residence of the Vice President of the United States.

Today in the Washington Post Opinions section Colbert King considers the REAL possibility of a Vice President Sarah Palin.  Given what we know of Gov. Palin’s governing style in Alaska, imagine what she and her husband Todd Palin could do with access to the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon at her (and his!) beck and call?

It’s time to start taking Sarah Palin seriously.

Though the latest polls show the Obama-Biden ticket ahead, the Alaska governor is still uncomfortably close to becoming vice president of the United States. The thought should concentrate the mind of every American who remembers the abuse of executive power by the administration of Richard Nixon. Just look at what Palin has done, in a short time, with the authority delegated to her by Alaskans.

The “Troopergate” report, conducted by an independent investigator and released Friday by a bipartisan legislative committee, tells the tale. It documents the campaign that Palin and her husband Todd waged to get her former brother-in-law fired from the Alaska state troopers.

Palin did, indeed, have the authority to dismiss the state’s public safety commissioner, the report says. But she violated a state law, the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, which prohibits state officials from taking actions that benefit personal interest. According to the report: Palin abused her power as governor when she “knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired.”

I shudder to think of the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon at her beck and call.

The role played by Todd in carrying out his wife’s vendetta was highly unusual. He had no official duties in government. He acknowledged, however, that he made numerous calls to state officials to press his case against the governor’s ex-brother-in-law.

It’s been well reported that Todd Palin’s involvement in his wife’s official business unsettled some Alaskans. He has been known to sit in on the governor’s meetings, use her office for his own meetings and intervene in state business using his status as “First Gentleman.” Clearly, he’s a man with a lot of time on his hands.

What if he assumed the same role in Washington? Imagine Todd in a town that has no use for snow machines (which he loves to ride) or work for commercial fishermen (of which he is one, during the summer months). What would he do? Would he follow the vice president to her White House office? Join her meetings in the Situation Room? Sit in on her daily national security briefings?

Where does Todd Palin stand on America anyway? Neither he nor Sarah Palin ever explained his seven-year membership in the Alaska Independence Party, a group that seeks a vote on secession from America. “I’m an Alaskan, not an American” was the slogan of the party’s founder, Joe Vogler, who also said “I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions” and “I won’t be buried under their damned flag.” What made Todd Palin hitch his wagon to that anti-American train when Alaska offered the Democratic and Republican parties?

Troopergate shows the Palins to be small-bore people unable to distinguish selfish personal interests from official responsibilities. Imagine the power of the U.S. government at their disposal.

The prospect of Vice President Sarah Palin is no laughing matter.

Palin Too Close for Comfort

Meet Sarah Palin’s Radical Right-Wing Pals – Extremists Mark Chryson and Steve Stoll

Gov. Sarah Palin in North Olmsted, OhioWe have survived another week of Gov. Sarah Palin’s dangerous character assassinations against presidential candidate Barack Obama in which she whipped up McCain supporters to the point where some in the crowds were even shouting “terrorist” and “kill him” in reference to Sen. Obama.  Tremendous mainstream media coverage has been spent debating Barack Obama’s past “extremists” connections, while virtually little if any attention is given to Gov. Palin’s own personal and political extremists associations.

In an excellent in-depth examination by Max Blumenthal and David Neiwert, and with research support by the Nation Institute Investigative Fund, Salon.com published yesterday a lengthy article for voters’ consideration on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ties to “radical” right wing leaders.

On the afternoon of Sept. 24 in downtown Palmer, Alaska, as the sun began to sink behind the snowcapped mountains that flank the picturesque Mat-Su Valley, 51-year-old Mark Chryson sat for an hour on a park bench, reveling in tales of his days as chairman of the Alaska Independence Party. The stocky, gray-haired computer technician waxed nostalgic about quixotic battles to eliminate taxes, support the “traditional family” and secede from the United States.

So long as Alaska remained under the boot of the federal government, said Chryson, the AIP had to stand on guard to stymie a New World Order. He invited a Salon reporter to see a few items inside his pickup truck that were intended for his personal protection. “This here is my attack dog,” he said with a chuckle, handing the reporter an exuberant 8-pound papillon from his passenger seat. “Her name is Suzy.” Then he pulled a 9-millimeter Makarov PM pistol — once the standard-issue sidearm for Soviet cops — out of his glove compartment. “I’ve got enough weaponry to raise a small army in my basement,” he said, clutching the gun in his palm. “Then again, so do most Alaskans.” But Chryson added a message of reassurance to residents of that faraway place some Alaskans call “the 48.” “We want to go our separate ways,” he said, “but we are not going to kill you.”

Though Chryson belongs to a fringe political party, one that advocates the secession of Alaska from the Union, and that organizes with other like-minded secessionist movements from Canada to the Deep South, he is not without peculiar influence in state politics, especially the rise of Sarah Palin. An obscure figure outside of Alaska, Chryson has been a political fixture in the hometown of the Republican vice-presidential nominee for over a decade. During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.

Palin backed Chryson as he successfully advanced a host of anti-tax, pro-gun initiatives, including one that altered the state Constitution’s language to better facilitate the formation of anti-government militias. She joined in their vendetta against several local officials they disliked, and listened to their advice about hiring. She attempted to name Stoll, a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as “Black Helicopter Steve,” to an empty Wasilla City Council seat. “Every time I showed up her door was open,” said Chryson. “And that policy continued when she became governor.”

When Chryson first met Sarah Palin, however, he didn’t really trust her politically. It was the early 1990s, when he was a member of a local libertarian pressure group called SAGE, or Standing Against Government Excess. (SAGE’s founder, Tammy McGraw, was Palin’s birth coach.) Palin was a leader in a pro-sales-tax citizens group called WOW, or Watch Over Wasilla, earning a political credential before her 1992 campaign for City Council. Though he was impressed by her interpersonal skills, Chryson greeted Palin’s election warily, thinking she was too close to the Democrats on the council and too pro-tax.

But soon, Palin and Chryson discovered they could be useful to each other. Palin would be running for mayor, while Chryson was about to take over the chairmanship of the Alaska Independence Party, which at its peak in 1990 had managed to elect a governor.

The AIP was born of the vision of “Old Joe” Vogler, a hard-bitten former gold miner who hated the government of the United States almost as much as he hated wolves and environmentalists. His resentment peaked during the early 1970s when the federal government began installing Alaska’s oil and gas pipeline. Fueled by raw rage — “The United States has made a colony of Alaska,” he told author John McPhee in 1977 — Vogler declared a maverick candidacy for the governorship in 1982. Though he lost, Old Joe became a force to be reckoned with, as well as a constant source of amusement for Alaska’s political class. During a gubernatorial debate in 1982, Vogler proposed using nuclear weapons to obliterate the glaciers blocking roadways to Juneau. “There’s gold under there!” he exclaimed.

Vogler made another failed run for the governor’s mansion in 1986. But the AIP’s fortunes shifted suddenly four years later when Vogler convinced Richard Nixon’s former interior secretary, Wally Hickel, to run for governor under his party’s banner. Hickel coasted to victory, outflanking a moderate Republican and a centrist Democrat. An archconservative Republican running under the AIP candidate, Jack Coghill, was elected lieutenant governor.

Hickel’s subsequent failure as governor to press for a vote on Alaskan independence rankled Old Joe. With sponsorship from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Vogler was scheduled to present his case for Alaskan secession before the United Nations General Assembly in the late spring of 1993. But before he could, Old Joe’s long, strange political career ended tragically that May when he was murdered by a fellow secessionist.

Hickel rejoined the Republican Party the year after Vogler’s death and didn’t run for reelection. Lt. Gov. Coghill’s campaign to succeed him as the AIP candidate for governor ended in disaster; he peeled away just enough votes from the Republican, Jim Campbell, to throw the gubernatorial election to Democrat Tony Knowles.

Despite the disaster, Coghill hung on as AIP chairman for three more years. When he was asked to resign in 1997, Mark Chryson replaced him. Chryson pursued a dual policy of cozying up to secessionist and right-wing groups in Alaska and elsewhere while also attempting to replicate the AIP’s success with Hickel in infiltrating the mainstream.

Unlike some radical right-wingers, Chryson doesn’t put forward his ideas  freighted with anger or paranoia. And in a state where defense of gun and property rights often takes on a real religious fervor, Chryson was able to present himself  as a typical Alaskan.

He rose through party ranks by reducing the AIP’s platform to a single page that “90 percent of Alaskans could agree with.” This meant scrubbing the old platform of what Chryson called “racist language” while accommodating the state’s growing Christian right movement by emphasizing the AIP’s commitment to the “traditional family.”

“The AIP is very family-oriented,” Chryson explained. “We’re for the traditional family — daddy, mommy, kids — because we all know that it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And we don’t care if Heather has two mommies. That’s not a traditional family.”

Chryson further streamlined the AIP’s platform by softening its secessionist language. Instead of calling for immediate separation from the United States, the platform now demands a vote on independence.

Yet Chryson maintains that his party remains committed to full independence. “The Alaskan Independence Party has got links to almost every independence-minded movement in the world,” Chryson exclaimed. “And Alaska is not the only place that’s about separation. There’s at least 30 different states that are talking about some type of separation from the United States.”

This has meant rubbing shoulders and forging alliances with outright white supremacists and far-right theocrats, particularly those who dominate the proceedings at such gatherings as the North American Secessionist conventions, which AIP delegates have attended in recent years. The AIP’s affiliation with neo-Confederate organizations is motivated as much by ideological affinity as by organizational convenience. Indeed, Chryson makes no secret of his sympathy for the Lost Cause. “Should the Confederate states have been allowed to separate and go their peaceful ways?” Chryson asked rhetorically. “Yes. The War of Northern Aggression, or the Civil War, or the War Between the States — however you want to refer to it — was not about slavery, it was about states’ rights.”

Another far-right organization with whom the AIP has long been aligned is Howard Phillips’ militia-minded Constitution Party. The AIP has been listed as the Constitution Party’s state affiliate since the late 1990s, and it has endorsed the Constitution Party’s presidential candidates (Michael Peroutka and Chuck Baldwin) in the past two elections.

The Constitution Party boasts an openly theocratic platform that reads, “It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.” In its 1990s incarnation as the U.S. Taxpayers Party, it was on the front lines in promoting the “militia” movement, and a significant portion of its membership comprises former and current militia members.

At its 1992 convention, the AIP hosted both Phillips — the USTP’s presidential candidate — and militia-movement leader Col. James “Bo” Gritz, who was campaigning for president under the banner of the far-right Populist Party. According to Chryson, AIP regulars heavily supported Gritz, but the party deferred to Phillips’ presence and issued no official endorsements.

In Wasilla, the AIP became powerful by proxy — because of Chryson and Stoll’s alliance with Sarah Palin. Chryson and Stoll had found themselves in constant opposition to policies of Wasilla’s Democratic mayor, who started his three-term, nine-year tenure in 1987. By 1992, Chryson and Stoll had begun convening regular protests outside City Council. Their demonstrations invariably involved grievances against any and all forms of “socialist government,” from city planning to public education. Stoll shared Chryson’s conspiratorial views: “The rumor was that he had wrapped his guns in plastic and buried them in his yard so he could get them after the New World Order took over,” Stein told a reporter.

Chryson did not trust Palin when she joined the City Council in 1992. He claimed that she was handpicked by Democratic City Council leaders and by Wasilla’s Democratic mayor, John Stein, to rubber-stamp their tax hike proposals. “When I first met her,” he said, “I thought she was extremely left. But I’ve watched her slowly as she’s become more pronounced in her conservative ideology.”

Palin was well aware of Chryson’s views. “She knew my beliefs,” Chryson said. “The entire state knew my beliefs. I wasn’t afraid of being on the news, on camera speaking my views.”

But Chryson believes she trusted his judgment because he accurately predicted what life on the City Council would be like. “We were telling her, ‘This is probably what’s going to happen,'” he said. “‘The city is going to give this many people raises, they’re going to pave everybody’s roads, and they’re going to pave the City Council members’ roads.’ We couldn’t have scripted it better because everything we predicted came true.”

After intense evangelizing by Chryson and his allies, they claimed Palin as a convert. “When she started taking her job seriously,” Chryson said, “the people who put her in as the rubber stamp found out the hard way that she was not going to go their way.” In 1994, Sarah Palin attended the AIP’s statewide convention. In 1995, her husband, Todd, changed his voter registration to AIP. Except for an interruption of a few months, he would remain registered was an AIP member until 2002, when he changed his registration to undeclared.

In  1996, Palin decided to run against John Stein as the Republican candidate for mayor of Wasilla. While Palin pushed back against Stein’s policies, particularly those related to funding public works, Chryson said he and Steve Stoll prepared the groundwork for her mayoral campaign.

Chryson and Stoll viewed Palin’s ascendancy as a vehicle for their own political ambitions. “She got support from these guys,” Stein remarked. “I think smart politicians never utter those kind of radical things, but they let other people do it for them. I never recall Sarah saying she supported the militia or taking a public stand like that. But these guys were definitely behind Sarah, thinking she was the more conservative choice.”

They worked behind the scenes,” said Stein. “I think they had a lot of influence in terms of helping with the back-scatter negative campaigning.”

Indeed, Chryson boasted that he and his allies urged Palin to focus her campaign on slashing character-based attacks. For instance, Chryson advised Palin to paint Stein as a sexist who had told her “to just sit there and look pretty” while she served on Wasilla’s City Council. Though Palin never made this accusation, her 1996 campaign for mayor was the most negative Wasilla residents had ever witnessed.

While Palin played up her total opposition to the sales tax and gun control — the two hobgoblins of the AIP — mailers spread throughout the town portraying her as “the Christian candidate,” a subtle suggestion that Stein, who is Lutheran, might be Jewish. “I watched that campaign unfold, bringing a level of slime our community hadn’t seen until then,” recalled Phil Munger, a local music teacher who counts himself as a close friend of Stein.

This same group [Stoll and Chryson] also [publicly] challenged me on whether my wife and I were married because she had kept her maiden name,” Stein bitterly recalled. “So we literally had to produce a marriage certificate. And as I recall, they said, Well, you could have forged that.'”

When Palin won the election, the men who had once shouted anti-government slogans outside City Hall now had a foothold inside the mayor’s office. Palin attempted to pay back her newfound pals during her first City Council meeting as mayor. In that meeting, on Oct. 14, 1996, she appointed Stoll to one of the City Council’s two newly vacant seats. But Palin was blocked by the single vote of then-Councilman Nick Carney, who had endured countless rancorous confrontations with Stoll and considered him a “violent” influence on local politics. Though Palin considered consulting attorneys about finding another means of placing Stoll on the council, she was ultimately forced to back down and accept a compromise candidate.

Emboldened by his nomination by Mayor Palin, Stoll later demanded she fire Wasilla’s museum director, John Cooper, a personal enemy he longed to sabotage. Palin obliged, eliminating Cooper’s position in short order. “Gotcha, Cooper!” Stoll told the deposed museum director after his termination, as Cooper told a reporter for the New York Times. And it only cost me a campaign contribution.” Stoll, who donated $1,000 to Palin’s mayoral campaign, did not respond to numerous requests for an interview. Palin has blamed budget concerns for Cooper’s departure.

The following year, when Carney proposed a local gun-control measure, Palin organized with Chryson to smother the nascent plan in its cradle. Carney’s proposed ordinance would have prohibited residents from carrying guns into schools, bars, hospitals, government offices and playgrounds. Infuriated by the proposal that Carney viewed as a common-sense public-safety measure, Chryson and seven allies stormed a July 1997 council meeting.

With the bill still in its formative stages, Carney was not even ready to present it to the council, let alone conduct public hearings on it. He and other council members objected to the ad-hoc hearing as “a waste of time.” But Palin — in plain violation of council rules and norms — insisted that Chryson testify, stating, according to the minutes, that “she invites the public to speak on any issue at any time.”

When Carney tried later in the meeting to have the ordinance discussed officially at the following regular council meeting, he couldn’t even get a second. His proposal died that night, thanks to Palin and her extremist allies.

“A lot of it was the ultra-conservative far right that is against everything in government, including taxes,” recalled Carney. “A lot of it was a personal attack on me as being anti-gun, and a personal attack on anybody who deigned to threaten their authority to carry a loaded firearm wherever they pleased. That was the tenor of it. And it was being choreographed by Steve Stoll and the mayor.”

Asked if he thought it was Palin who had instigated the turnout, he replied: “I know it was.”

By Chryson’s account, he and Palin also worked hand-in-glove to slash property taxes and block a state proposal that would have taken money for public programs from the Permanent Fund Dividend, or the oil and gas fund that doles out annual payments to citizens of Alaska. Palin endorsed Chryson’s unsuccessful initiative to move the state Legislature from Juneau to Wasilla. She also lent her support to Chryson’s crusade to alter the Alaska Constitution’s language on gun rights so cities and counties could not impose their own restrictions. “It took over 10 years to get that language written in,” Chryson said. “But Sarah [Palin] was there supporting it.”

With Sarah as a mayor,” said Chryson, “there were a number of times when I just showed up at City Hall and said, ‘Hey, Sarah, we need help.’ I think there was only one time when I wasn’t able to talk to her and that was because she was in a meeting.

Chryson says the door remains open now that Palin is governor. (Palin’s office did not respond to Salon’s request for an interview.) While Palin has been more circumspect in her dealings with groups like the AIP as she has risen through the political ranks, she has stayed in touch.

When Palin ran for governor in 2006, marketing herself as a fresh-faced reformer determined to crush the GOP’s ossified power structure, she made certain to appear at the AIP’s state convention. To burnish her maverick image, she also tapped one-time AIP member and born-again Republican Walter Hickel as her campaign co-chair. Hickel barnstormed the state for Palin, hailing her support for an “all-Alaska” liquefied gas pipeline, a project first promoted in 2002 by an AIP gubernatorial candidate named Nels Anderson. When Palin delivered her victory speech on election night, Hickel stood beaming by her side. “I made her governor,” he boasted afterward. Two years later, Hickel has endorsed Palin’s bid for vice president.

Just months before Palin burst onto the national stage as McCain’s vice-presidential nominee, she delivered a videotaped address to the AIP’s annual convention. Her message was scrupulously free of secessionist rhetoric, but complementary nonetheless. “I share your party’s vision of upholding the Constitution of our great state,” Palin told the assembly of AIP delegates. “My administration remains focused on reining in government growth so individual liberty can expand. I know you agree with that … Keep up the good work and God bless you.”

When Palin became the Republican vice-presidential nominee, her attendance of the 1994 and 2006 AIP conventions and her husband’s membership in the party (as well as Palin’s videotaped welcome to the AIP’s 2008 convention) generated a minor controversy. Chryson claimed, however, that Sarah and Todd Palin never even played a minor role in his party’s internal affairs. “Sarah’s never been a member of the Alaskan Independence Party,” Chryson insisted. “Todd has, but most of rural Alaska has too. I never saw him at a meeting. They were at one meeting I was at. Sarah said hello, but I didn’t pay attention because I was taking care of business.”

But whether the Palins participated directly in shaping the AIP’s program is less relevant than the extent to which they will implement that program. Chryson and his allies have demonstrated just as much interest in grooming major party candidates as they have in putting forward their own people. At a national convention of secessionist groups in 2007, AIP vice chairman Dexter Clark announced that his party would seek to “infiltrate” the Democratic and Republican parties with candidates sympathetic to its hard-right, secessionist agenda. “You should use that tactic. You should infiltrate,” Clark told his audience of neo-Confederates, theocrats and libertarians. “Whichever party you think in that area you can get something done, get into that party. Even though that party has its problems, right now that is the only avenue.”

Clark pointed to Palin’s political career as the model of a successful infiltration. “There’s a lot of talk of her moving up,” Clark said of Palin. “She was a member [of the AIP] when she was mayor of a small town, that was a nonpartisan job. But to get along and to go along she switched to the Republican Party … She is pretty well sympathetic because of her membership.”

Clark’s assertion that Palin was once a card-carrying AIP member was swiftly discredited by the McCain campaign, which produced records showing she had been a registered Republican since 1988. But then why would Clark make such a statement? Why did he seem confident that Palin was a true-blue AIP activist burrowing within the Republican Party? The most salient answer is that Palin was once so thoroughly embedded with AIP figures like Chryson and Stoll and seemed so enthusiastic about their agenda, Clark may have simply assumed she belonged to his party.

Now, Palin is a household name and her every move is scrutinized by the Washington press corps. She can no longer afford to kibitz with secessionists, however instrumental they may have been to her meteoric ascendancy. This does not trouble her old AIP allies. Indeed, Chryson is hopeful that Palin’s inauguration will also represent the start of a new infiltration.

“I’ve had my issues but she’s still staying true to her core values,” Chryson concluded. “Sarah’s friends don’t all agree with her, but do they respect her? Do they respect her ideology and her values? Definitely.”

Meet Sarah Palin’s Radical Right-Wing Pals

Alaska National Guard General Changes Story; Palin Promotes

On the website, VetVoice, the “online home for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans” comprised of Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard members, along with veterans, veterans families and supporters, there is an excellent investigative piece by Brandon Friedman, published on September 9, 2008.  The article examines the entire sequence of events surrounding the “foreign policy” experience of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as “commander” of the Alaska National Guard, and how the story presented to the public has changed dramatically over the past week.

When John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, the campaign immediately began touting her experience–both foreign and domestic–as “commander-in-chief” of the Alaska National Guard.  But the reality of the situation–that Palin actually had little to do with the National Guard quickly became apparent.  In fact, the idea was undercut severely by comments made by the actual commander of the Alaska National Guard–its Adjutant General, Major General Craig Campbell.   When that happened, it eventually turned into somewhat of a national joke, culminating in the humiliation of McCain/Palin campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds on CNN when he tried to promote Palin’s “foreign policy” experience during the Republican National Convention.

It was getting bad for the McCain campaign because they couldn’t afford to lose the “experience” argument to the Obama campaign.

But suddenly–and strangely–the commander of the Alaska National Guard, Major General Campbell, changed his story.  By the end of the convention, he was praising Palin’s experience, talking on TV about how she had taken control of Alaska’s National Guard operations and how she was  a “great” leader.

Interestingly enough, Palin promoted him with his third star–to the rank of Lieutenant General–only three days later.  

Essentially, Campbell had been unhelpful to the campaign at the very least.  But all of a sudden he became one of Palin’s biggest supporters.  And he was then promoted to be one of the two highest-ranking state National Guard officials in the country.  See if this timeline is as eyebrow-raising to you as it is to me:

Sunday 31 August 2008: Major General Craig Campbell, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard, tells the AP that:

he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.

The quote is used against Palin throughout the media for several days

Wednesday 3 September 2008: Major General Craig Campbell does significantly more damage to Palin’s credibility in this piece in the Boston Globe:

And while the Alaska National Guard operates a launch site for a US anti-missile system at Fort Greely, about 100 miles south of Fairbanks, the Alaskan governor is not in the site’s chain of command and has no authority over its operations, according to Maj. Gen. Craig E. Campbell, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard who commands the roughly 3,800 state militia members.

“Our National Guard is basically just like any National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Craig E. Campbell, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard who commands the roughly 3,800 state militia members. Campbell, a native of Springfield, Mass., said by telephone. “You could call [Adjutant General] Joe Carter in Massachusetts and he would say he is organized the same way.”

Nor are the recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan by the Alaska National Guard under Palin’s purview, despite assertions this week by McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds to that effect. “She is head of the National Guard that has been deployed overseas,” Bounds said. “That’s foreign policy experience.”

Campbell also said that Palin has authority over the National Guard’s domestic missions — such as fighting wildfires and rescuing stranded residents, but that she has a limited role in determining how the forces are trained or equipped.

About 75 percent of the Guard’s budget, he said, is the purview of the National Guard Bureau in Washington, which is responsible for ensuring the Guard is prepared to be called up by the president in a time of war. Her primary role, he said, is in recruiting National Guard volunteers.

Campbell said he has met with Palin about once a month, but communicates with her by phone and email more frequently. Earlier this week, he noted, she ordered the Air National Guard to fly a planeload of supplies to hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast.

“She is very much engaged in what we are doing and she asks a lot of questions,” Campbell said. “Maybe not the most engaged, but definitely engaged.

She is very much involved in ensuring that I am recruiting enough people.”

Friday 5 September 2008: Only two days later, Campbell’s story has completely flip-flopped.  Now he’s suddenly praising Palin, appearing on Fox News to gush about what a superb commander-in-chief she is:

“I’ll tell you, in the last few days, I’ve been watching the press, and I’ve not been very pleased with what I’ve been seeing about the chastising of the National Guard by having it diminished by the insinuation that a commander-in-chief of the National Guard doesn’t really control the military. The National Guard has 500,000 people in it around this great country, serving in states and overseas. National Guards are state military forces run by governors, and Sarah Palin does it great.”

Here’s the video:

Monday 8 September: After the weekend–and after his complimentary remarks–Major General Campbell is promoted within the Alaska National Guard to the rank of Lieutenant General.  The promotion is not recognized outside the state of Alaska, but he is promoted with his third star, nonetheless.  Here is the release:

Major General Craig E. Campbell Promotion Press Release

Major General Craig E. Campbell Promotion Press Release

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release

7 September 2008

No. 08-153

Alaska National Guard Adjutant General Promoted

September 8, 2008, Camp Denali , Alaska – Before a formation of Alaska Air and Army National Guard members, the Alaska National Guard’s top leader was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General yesterday in front of the Guard’s headquarters building on Fort Richardson .  

Lt. Gen. ( Alaska ) Craig E. Campbell, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner of the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, received his third star, signifying Governor Sarah Palin’s support of the Guard and her commitment to reinforcing the cooperation between federal and state military assets.

Palin took the opportunity to promote Campbell ahead of any pending emergency that may occur with the upcoming fall storm season.  This allows Alaska to have more of a say in times of state disasters.

“This is about Alaskans serving Alaskans.  The promotion is a statement that the Alaska National Guard is the state military force responsible for responding to state issues, at the direction of the Governor,” Governor Palin said.  “The decision to promote the Adjutant General to Lieutenant General is based on a fundamental states’-rights stance, for which Alaska has a strong historical position.”

This issue gained momentum with governors following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the Department of Defense pushed a change in federal law that authorized the President of the United States to mobilize National Guard members to federal service in response to emergencies, without the consent of the governor.

The National Governors Association and the Adjutants General Association of the United States were unanimously opposed to this change, and the following year Congress reversed the law.  Concurrently, Alaska Statutes were changed to permit the governor to promote the Adjutant General to the state rank of Lieutenant General specifically for state service.  

Campbell was pinned with his third star by his daughter Amanda Rauckhorst and wife, Anne Marie Campbell.  Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell was also in attendance and spoke on behalf of Gov. Palin about the importance of the Alaska National Guard in securing the state.

“The action of promoting the Adjutant General to Lieutenant General ( Alaska ) in one way serves to strengthen the concept that the federal and state forces are co-equal partners in providing support to the state of Alaska ,” Campbell said.  “It is also a positive statement by Governor Palin that the Adjutant General, as a senior state official and cabinet member of a state entity, correctly relates to the senior appointed federal officials in Alaska , when supporting the citizens of this great state.”

Campbell will only wear the rank of Lieutenant General when he is in service to the state.  His federal rank will remain Major General.  This state promotion carries no financial benefit to Campbell .  When serving in state status, the Adjutant General receives commissioner pay and benefits.  When serving in active-duty status (federal), the Adjutant General is paid under the federally recognized rank of Major General.

Campbell now joins the rank of the adjutant general from the Texas National Guard, which currently has a lieutenant general as its top officer.   Georgia and Maryland have also had adjutants general as lieutenants general in the past.

If nothing else, this series of events raises serious questions about what’s going on.  And the media would be wise to probe this further.

Alaska National Guard General Changes Story; Palin Promotes

Major General Craig E. Campbell

Major General Craig E. Campbell