In 2008, the Anchorage Daily News ran this deck bellow the headline: “NO MORE GUNS: Alaska State Defense Force stripped of many powers.”
Irony knows no bounds when it comes to the Tea Party.
In 2008, Tea Party Queen and Shoot ‘Em Up and Hang ‘Em Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) disarmed brigade members of the Alaska State Defense Force (think volunteer militia) at the recommendation of the state military officials, based on a report by an investigator with the Washington National Guard.
(I)n a major decision proving unpopular with at least some of the force’s roughly 280 members, the state is taking away the brigade’s guns.
Yes, Sarah Palin, as executive of the state, took away their guns. And no, conservatives, you can’t have it both ways. Clearly they gave Sarah Palin the report and she took executive action on it (also known as “tyranny” when a Democrat does it).
“The report does not say Westall was a bad commander,” Campbell said. “The report says the state defense force, it’s a voluntary organization, it’s part time, it’s dedicated volunteers serving their state, but they don’t have the intensity of training, the skill sets the National Guard has.”
As a result, Campbell recommended to Gov. Sarah Palin that brigade members should no longer be armed.
The state also read a report on said militia, and yet the state was not accused of hating Republicans. Do not try this on a national level.
A report ordered by George W. Bush’s Department of Homeland Security warned of right wing domestic terrorism, writing that “the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.” This caused massive right wing hysteria by the usual suspects. Michelle Malkin quickly donned her Republican Poutrage, and the Drudge and Breitbart followed with their angry misunderstandings of reality.
The report was unveiled in April of 2009, during the beginning of the Obama administration, and so naturally Republicans screamed and hollered about how it hurt their feelings to have a federal agency report the facts until the agency decided not to distribute the report to law enforcement. (No such whining when the same agency released a report on left wing terrorism.) This was before the Obama administration figured out that catering to crazy only enables it.
Sarah Palin has a reputation as a great gun freedom fighter of the Right (in spite of her struggles with actually shooting a gun on her reality TV show). The fact that she directed her administration to disarm the militia in 2008 and yet we heard nothing of this during the 2008 election suggests that disarming the militia is equated with “liberty” and “loving the second amendment” when a Republican does it.
When a Republican is in charge, the cult salivates at the use of dictatorial power. It’s a form of security for them, resulting in what psychologists describe as an urge to be dominated and controlled, stemming from their deeply shameful suspicion that they can’t control themselves.1
We must remember Sarah Palin’s affectionate relationship with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is sending out his civilian armed posse to patrol for “illegal immigrants” and to “protect” the schools. It’s a wonder Palin didn’t explain to him that in her own state, they found that “administering a part-time civilian force brings a high liability risk to the state.” Yes, really.
Why is that? Because they are not trained as well as the professionals. Go figure. This conclusion comes dangerously close to suggesting that education matters, gravity exists, there is such a thing as expertise and that not everyone should be armed with a gun. But outside of their own actual records, Republican exceptionalism demands that we attribute equal weight to non-exerts and arm chair wannabes, lest we be called “elitists”.
All you need to do in order to represent second amendment “freedom” is pose with guns and put cross hairs on your opponents. You can disarm the militia in your state without DESTROYING THE CONSTITUTION so long as you have an “R” after your name. Also, posing while leaning on the flag in short shorts helps (warning: do not try this as a Democrat or you will be branded a hater of the troops and an enemy of freedom).
If you have a “D” after your name, don’t you dare even mention enforcing the existing gun safety laws, or else the Tea Party (read: Civil War Resentment Party) will denounce you as a “dictator” and threaten to throw you in jail for violating their imaginary Constitution. You know, the one they would have written if only they had won that awful war of “Northern Aggression”.
Remember patriots, image is everything. Substance zero.
Update: This is for the Palin fans. The question is, what would the right’s reaction have been if this same scenario had happened under President Obama. With a title reading “NO MORE GUNS” they would have gone insane. They’ve already jumped the “tyrant Hitler” shark over 23 executive actions that do little more than direct gun safety commissions and enforce existing laws. Only two address limiting the availability of a category of gun or a magazine capacity. If Obama ordered Arpaio’s posse to be disarmed because they were a “liability”, would the right be defending that as they are Palin’s actions?
1. Note: These are real psychological theories on authoritarianism that are worth a look if you want to understand the consistent hypocrisy of the right. The conservative base can be seen as suffering from a desire to submit to an authoritarian who represents “traditional values”. The underlying theory is that the authoritarian personality has a weak ego unable to manage their id impulses.
Alfred Adler proposed an alternative theory that power-over seekers are compensating for a feeling of inferiority, which might explain why Republican leaders are able to manipulate their base by stoking resentment of “liberal elitists”. Professor Bob Altemeyer expands on this theory in his book “The Authoritarians”. John W. Dean’s book, “Conservatives Without a Conscience” discusses the psychology of obedience to authority. For more on how the Republican fear that they can’t control themselves causes them to seek policies that impose rigid moral control, read “Red State Blue State”.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.