Palin's Political Payback To Her Black-Helicopter Buddies
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This morning I interviewed John Stein, the former Wasilla mayor who was defeated by Palin in 1996 by using "a quiet campaign by some Palin supporters raising emotional issues like abortion and gun control, which had no apparent tie to municipal politics" -- and as Phil Munger notes, a whisper campaign that Stein was secretly Jewish (Stein is a Lutheran).
According to Stein, Palin's main base of support in that election (and subsequent Wasilla campaigns) was derived from her fellow congregants at Wasilla Bible Church and the larger evangelical Christian community. But it also included some of the Mat-Su Valley's biggest far-right nutcases -- to the extent that she even attempted to reciprocate by appointing one of them to the city's planning commission.
The connection revolves mostly around three men known to have far-right leanings in the community: a builder named Steven Stoll, a computer repairman named Mark Chryson, and a third man named Mike Christ. All three subscribed to a bellicose, "Patriot" movement brand of politics -- far-right libertarianism with a John Birch streak.
According to Stein, Steven Stoll -- whose local nickname, according to Phil Munger, is "Black Helicopter Steve" -- was involved in militia organizing in Wasilla the 1990s, and subscribed to most of the movement's paranoid conspiracy theories: "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."