Hey, kids! Did you know that Alaska is not just an enormous wonderland of pristine wilderness and endangered species/inconvenient surface layer blocking our access to crude oil, but a real state, with a governor and senators and Republicans and everything? While we were agog at events in the lower 48 Tuesday, there was serious craziness going down at the GOP's annual picnic (where else?). Details after the jump.

As the state's Republicans travelled through the bitter cold via dogsled* to the picnic, they were divided: locked in a three-way primary in the gubernatorial race, with the incumbent, former Senator Frank Murkowski, polling at something like 17 percent. The poll leader is CRAZY MAVERICK Sarah Palin, who is on the outs with the Alaska GOP leadership becase she thinks they're corrupt and they think she's a CRAZY MAVERICK. But a party picnic is a place to put aside those sorts of internicene squabbles, belly up to the barbecue, and play nice.

Well, maybe not so much. A bunch of Palin supporters showed up with signs and t-shirts and they were chanting and being boisterous and then ... well, here's what Palin said in an email to an Alaska political blogger:

You missed a very bizarre Republican Party picnic of my supporters, a 70-yr-old lady wearing a Palin t-shirt, was told to get off the sidewalk by [Republican Party of Alaska] attorney Bill Large. He pushed her. He called my group of supporters "communists" and demanded they leave the public sidewalk area of the picnic pavilion. When later told he needed to apologize to the lady for pushing her and calling her a communist (I was there -- I saw it), he said he didn't call her a communist -- he "called all of you communists" ... Large told me to "get your people away from the door and get your signs down", I had never met Large before so I asked him who he was -- he said "you know who I am... and what are you going to do now? Start crying like you did on the Mike Pocaro show?" It was very strange. He was so mad and confrontational he was shaking and sweating.

We have no idea what the "crying on TV" thing is about, but anyone who can send Wonkette video will earn our everlasting approbation.

Large himself responded:

Large said he's seen this e-mail. "The one where I'm referred to as sweaty?" (Large is, indeed, a large man, but said he was outweighed by the Palin folks 10-to-1.)


He'd didn't want to go into a lot of detail, but said he "did not shove or hit anyone. It was quite the contrary." Was he hit? "I don't want to talk about," he said.

Awww, did the big bad sweaty lawyer get hit by a 70-year-old lady and a girl? A crazy, maverick girl?

Another account of the fracas, from the Anchorage Press' Flashlight column, had more details:

When Large told the Palin supporters at the picnic that he was asking them, on behalf of the Republican Party, to disband, they drew closer. Then Palin made her way to the front of the group and put her hand on Large's arm. "Don't touch me!" Large said, shaking her hand off. Next, Palin's father, Chuck Palin, put his hand on Large's arm and asked who Large was and why he was yelling at Chuck Palin's daughter.

Um. We think having your dad bail you out reduces your crazy maverick cred.

Large declined to answer. So Chuck Palin squeezed Large's arm. Later, Large would say that Chuck Palin punched him and that he was being constantly "poked," but Flashlight only saw some squeezing. "Don't touch me!" Large yelled again. Then he called the whole group Brown Shirts, referring to members of the Nazi Party.

"He called us Brown Shirts!" someone yelled.

"What's a Brown Shirt?" someone else asked.

"Well then, communists!" Large yelled, louder. He was visibly upset now.

Everyone knew what "communists" meant. They were Republicans, after all. So they drew still closer.

We don't know what's funnier: the historical ignorance of the Palinites, or the fact that Large recognized the ignorance and then came up with a new insult that they'd understand so that they'd know that they'd been insulted. Even when you're surrounded by an angry mob led by an arm-squeezing dad, it pays to be polite.

*Yes, Alaskans, we know that it's actually warm in the summer up there, and that you have cars there now. We're going to make fun of you anyway.

Showdown at the Kincaid Chalet [Anchorage Daily News]

Seeing red [Anchorage Press]


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