Sarah Palin has long been rumored to be a libertarian Republican. Her first campaign workers and manager for her races for Wasilla Mayor in the 1990s were libertarians. She was was viewed for many years as the unofficial leader of the Alaska GOP's libertarian wing. In 2005, early on in her race for Governor, her opponents on the conservative side, started a whisper campaign, "Palin is really not a Republican, she's a Libertarian." She was also criticized in the GOP primary for having once openly supported reform of marijuana laws and having defended bar and tavern owners from religious conservatives who wanted to zone them out of town.
Palin's extensive libertarian background
In 2005/06 she attended two meetings of the Libertarian Party of Alaska at the invitation of Party Secretary (and Anchorage Libertarian supper club chairman) Rob Crist. Later in the campaign 3 of the 4 Executive Committee members of the ALP endorsed Palin, including Chairman Jason Dowell (the 4th was serving in the Army stationed in Iraq at the time.)
Dowell (photo) even held a sign for her the day before the election, right by her side, for 3 hours on a busy Anchorage street corner. When he first arrived, Palin excitedly screamed to all her supporters, "The Libertarians are here... The Libertarians are here... They're backing my campaign!"
The Libertarian candidate for Governor Billy Toien officially backed Palin 3 days before the election, urging via email blast to all Alaska Libertarians "Don't vote for me; Vote for Sarah." This earned Toien a big bear hug for Palin upon her victory on election night in front of nearly 1,000 political watchers at the downtown Egan Center in Anchorage.
Very early on in the GOP primary races for President in 2007, Palin in an interview strongly hinted that she was leaning Ron Paul for President.
Early in 2008 Adam Brickly, a self-described "libertarian-conservative" along with Libertarian Republican Steve Maloney, formed Draft Sarah Palin for VP. Another self-described "libertarian" Glenn Beck was the first national Television News host to have Palin on his show as a guest.
During the 2008 Vice-Presidential campaign, Palin was identified as a libertarian Republican for the first few days after her selection, but then the media template quickly shifted to her being a member of the religious right.
It now appears that the libertarian Palin may be back in full force.
Passionate support for libertarian Republican Rand Paul
From The Hill:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) on Wednesday night hailed what she said was a "libertarian streak" in American politics.Radical for Capitalism
Palin praised Rand Paul's win in a Kentucky Republican primary for Senate earlier this week, saying that candidates like him would be key in this fall's elections.
“Seeing that libertarian streak of his — that is what we need to balance out the leftist liberal overreach of government that’s in power right now," Palin said during an appearance on the Fox Business Network on Wednesday night. "Rand is going to be great.”
Rand Paul is seen as more of a libertarian Republican in the mold of his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who was also the Libertarian Party's candidate for president in 1988.
Later in the piece Palin emphasizes her hard-line free market philosopy:
“There’s no accountability [in government]," Palin said. "And that’s why people want to fire those people and bring in new people with a greater sense of what the free-market principles should be.”Some have questioned Palin's libertarian credentials over the years. Purist libertarians, most assuredly those from the antiwar faction of the libertarian movement, have been particularly vitriolic in attacking Palin as "not really a libertarian" due to her pro-national security, pro-military stance.
This despite her extensive background as a movement libertarian.
Even so, her passionate support for Rand Paul's candidacy, and her most recent comments praising libertarians as published by The Hill, may now finally silence even the most hardened Palin critics in the movement.
Photo above Sarah Palin waving signs with supporters in Anchorage during the 2006 race for Governor.