"Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin" paints a scathing portrait

A biography of Sarah Palin by a former staffer depicts Palin as ill-prepared, immature, vindictive, and unethical.

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    Palin's supporters say the tell-all biography by Frank Bailey is "fiction" created by a disgruntled former employee.
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It’s hammer time again. For Sarah Palin, that is.

Another scathing portrait of the former Alaska governor and John McCain’s 2008 running mate is on bookstore shelves, this time written by ex-Palin aide Frank Bailey.

“Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin” is the juicy tell-all that Mr. Bailey and two co-authors crafted out of between 50,000 and 60,000 e-mails that Bailey saved from correspondence with his former boss. In the book, Bailey, who worked with Ms. Palin in her 2006 gubernatorial campaign and through her stint as governor, depicts Palin as ill-prepared, immature, vindictive, and unethical.

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Early reviews of the book, which leaked before its publication date this week, offered up juicy morsels on America’s favorite Mama Grizzly while simultaneously suggesting that readers won’t be surprised by Bailey’s exposé. Palin-haters will see confirmation of their suspicions while fervent fans will cry foul at Bailey’s somewhat less-than-principled means.

More on that later. First, the revelations:

• “Palin emerges as a woman far more interested in power, fame and fortune than in the day-to-day grind of governing,” writes a reviewer for The Washington Post. That became apparent after Mr. McCain’s failed bid for president in 2008, Bailey writes in the book. After returning to Alaska, Palin told Bailey as early as February 2009 that she would "quit tomorrow" as governor if she could find an adequate excuse to give Alaskans. Ultimately, “she resigned in July 2009, saying she didn't want to be the same kind of "lame duck" governor who announces she's not seeking re-election, only to travel the state or the world riding out their term,” according to a piece in USA Today.

• Palin was plain unreliable, writes Bailey, according to the Associated Press’s review. “Getting Sarah to meetings and events was like nailing Jell-O to a tree,” Bailey wrote. “On the campaign trail and as governor, Sarah went through at least ten schedulers, with few lasting more than months. Nobody wanted the job because Sarah might fail to honor, at the last minute, the smallest commitments, and making excuses for her became a painful burden.”

• Writes The Washington Post: “Bailey realized [Palin] was ill-prepared for political superstardom soon after she was tapped for a spot on the Republican presidential ticket with John McCain.” “Incredibly, I mostly still believed in the myth of Sarah and her ultimate mission,” Bailey writes. “However, a piece of me could see she was in over her head.”

• In the book, Bailey also claims that Palin coordinated with the Republican Governors Association in violation of campaign rules during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

• He paints Palin as paranoid and writes that she sees conspiracies against her everywhere: “She believes that there are these powers of evil that are surrounding her. She believes that her offices are bugged.”

• Bailey also comments on Palin's vindictive nature, which Morris described in the San Francisco Chronicle as “two eyes for an eye. You don't just go after someone who you think is slighting you, you trade slight for destruction.”

Overall, writes The Washington Post, “’Blind Allegiance’ is so full of Palin’s pettiness and incompetence that it defines her as little more than a small-town politician at a loss on the larger stage.”

It continues, “Blind Allegiance” “will confirm what Palin's critics already believe and will be derided by her proponents as nonsense from a disgruntled former staffer” all the while offering an “up-close peek into the mind and motives of a highly visible politician who still manages to cloak her essence.”

Palin’s proponents, it turns out, have plenty of fodder with which to accuse Bailey and his methods.

First, the e-mails. State ethics laws bar executive officials from using information obtained on the job for personal gain if the information has not been publicly disseminated. The Alaska Attorney General's Office is investigating whether Bailey’s use of the e-mails violated state laws.

And according to SarahPAC spokesman Tim Crawford, Bailey himself is no paragon of principle. “Frank Bailey was the only member of the Palin administration to be found to have acted unethically – twice,” Mr. Crawford told Politico. “He is currently under investigation again by the state attorney general. Then, as the administrator of certain e-mail accounts, he acted unethically by appropriating account information he was entrusted to protect.”

He went on to dismiss Bailey as a disgruntled former employee. “Gov. Palin suspended Bailey and refused to hire Bailey when he sought a position on her vice presidential campaign staff and later with SarahPAC,” he told Politico. “Mr. Bailey has an axe to grind and abandoned truth in his book…The book belongs on fiction shelves.”

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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