This may be the back-and-forth smackdown that doesn’t go away.

Both Ashley Judd and Sarah Palin have hubbies who love to win races. Within days of the 21st Century’s most laughable active politician forming a fundraising PAC for her cause, activist actress Judd is helping the Defenders of Wildlife raise funds for their causes. Palin is now calling Judd and opponents of killing wolves from planes and helicopters "an extreme fringe group."

Is the race now on to see who can raise the most money – Palin or Judd? Perhaps.

Ashley Judd is married to 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner, Dario Franchitti. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is married to 2007 Tesoro Iron Dog winner, Todd Palin. Both Franchitti and Todd Palin are entered in the 2009 events. This year’s Indy 500 will be on May 24th. This year’s Iron Dog – a 2,000 mile snowmobile race from Fairbanks Alaska to Nome and back – begins this Saturday morning, at 10:30 a.m.

Here’s an interactive gallery of the Iron Dog teams, so you can keep up with them during the 2,000-mile race.

Both Ashley Judd and Sarah Palin support their husband’s sports endeavors. Both support sports in general – hockey in particular. [Basketball, too – thanks, dakine01]

Palin began her descent into becoming the early 21st century’s most laughed-at American politician with a 2008 GOP National Convention speech containing a high number of whopper lies, even for a politician. She was against a bridge that she had actually supported. She claimed to be building a gas pipeline that may never be built. And so on. But her speech’s reference to hockey moms, pitbulls and lipstick quickly entered the lexicon of statements ripe for parody.

Here’s a photograph of Ashley Judd in a hockey jersey, posing for a promo for her hometown University of Kentucky Wildcats. I can’t find any pictures of Palin in a hockey jersey, but here’s one of her throwing out the puck at a Philly game last fall, where Palin was booed.

So Judd’s and Palin’s husbands are motor sport race winners. Palin and Judd are hockey supporters. All this is competitive. And, now they are competing with each other in the fundraising arena.

The week before Palin’s latest foray into the national spotlight – her Alfalfa Club weekend – she announced the formation of a political action committee. We won’t get more than quarterly reports on how SarahPAC is doing, but I’m predicting it will do fairly well. This woman is not going away soon.

This past week Ashley Judd narrated a fundraising video spot for Defenders of Wildlife that has gotten far more attention in the national media in a few days than has Palin’s PAC in almost two weeks. I suspect it will make a lot of money for Defenders of Wildlife in the short term. But unless they market the idea and expand upon it, it will see diminishing returns.

As an Alaskan, I’m appalled at the levels of misinformation about Alaska hunting I’ve heard or read in the national media since Judd’s video came out Thursday. I was listening to Mike Reagan’s Air America radio program last night, driving home from the opera in Anchorage. Reagan and his callers were spewing so much inaccuracy, I started laughing out loud.

Here’s what the Defenders of Wildlife should do right now: HIRE SHANNYN MOORE!

Have somebody who has an intrinsic understanding of Alaska, is staunchly progressive, and understands media advise this fundraising program.

Shannyn wrote a brilliant essay yesterday for Huffington Post on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game predator control program. If you want to read one article that will help inform, entertain and motivate you on this set of issues, go read Shannyn’s essay. Here are a couple of Alaska-quality nuggets of gold:

Ashley Judd is right. Sarah Palin is wrong. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is clueless and should have a nice big cup of STFU.

How do I know? I have been fighting the Alaskan Government Policy of Aerial Wolf Hunting for much of my life. The wolves of Alaska don’t know they are Alaskan…or American. Wherever you are, these wolves are part of your world. They represent the best part of the Last Frontier; its wildness, its mystery and its promise of adventure. In short, they represent hope.

Their ongoing slaughter is whittling away the wolves’ urgent and important role in maintaining healthy moose and caribou populations. In addition, the extermination is having an unknown and unquantifiable impact on peripheral prey animals and ecological systems. Sarah Palin has completely ignored the scientific findings of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Faith based science doesn’t make credible policy.

Sarah Palin’s unbridled ambition and Bush-like lack of curiosity is akin to a jet engine on a golf cart. You don’t know where she’s going, but if you’re a passenger, you should probably wear a helmet and carry a barf bag. Elisabeth Hasselbeck was made from the same Mean Girl factory; same intel, less horsepower.

On The View, the not-so-clever Hasselbeck followed typical Republican strategy: Make stuff up, and then change the subject to something completely unrelated…like abortion! Killing wolves saves babies!

Is it too late to vote her off the island?

Do we have a problem with doctors performing abortions from helicopters or planes? No. SHUT UP, Elisabeth! Just because you can see Sarah Palin on your Blackberry doesn’t mean either one of you are right.

Anyway, the Defenders of Wildlife, hoping to use Palin as a tool to bring in funds, have made a challenging decision. With some outside help, this program could have legs. But, if the Defenders, like many similar wildlife-concerned non-profits, fail to bring this discussion to a higher level than a duel between two competitive chicks with motor-sports driven husbands, their campaign will simply spin out or run out of gas.

Update: Just before he’s scheduled to head his snowmobile out on the long trail to Nome, Todd Palin has been cited for contempt by the Alaska State Senate. I doubt it will slow him down or speed him up.



Alaska progressive activist, notorious composer and firedoglake devotee.