Frank Bailey's Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin, the first tell-all book from a member of Palin's inner political circle, was released Tuesday, and the reviews are in. Drawn from more than 50,000 emails, the former aide's "confessional memoir" of Palin's run for governor of Alaska, and her two and a half years on the job, paints a "scathing" portrait of a vindictive, untrustworthy, and ethically challenged politician more interested in fame and fortune than governing. Now that the partially leaked manuscript is a full-fledged book, what new revelations does it hold? Here, five of the best:
1. Palin engaged in dirty tricks
Much of the book centers on the many terrible things Bailey agreed to do as Palin's "enforcer," says Becky Bohrer for the Associated Press. But one instructive tidbit is Palin's "smear" of a neighbor who complained about excessive tourist traffic near the governor's mansion: She sent daughter Piper out to sell lemonade, then used her bully pulpit to accuse the neighbor of protesting children at play. Friendly bloggers portrayed the complaining neighbor as "sick," "unhinged," and "drug-addicted." That neighbor "learned firsthand why so few people were willing to speak out against Sarah Palin."
2. She may have broken campaign rules
Bailey claims that Palin and the Republican Governors Association (RGA) coordinated on her successful 2008 run for governor, which would be a violation of campaign rules. In one anecdote, Bailey describes Palin walking into an Anchorage hotel "over and over and over" while the cameras rolled for an RGA ad. Hmmm, "an early preview of her reality-show days?" asks Anna North at Jezebel.
3. Palin is notoriously flaky
Bailey says he finally gave up on Palin when she ditched a mid-2009 anti-abortion rally that she had repeatedly agreed to attend — her umpteenth no-show. "Getting Sarah to meetings and events was like nailing Jell-O to a tree," he says, adding that she burned through 10 or more schedulers, who rarely lasted more than a few months on the job. "Making excuses for her became a painful burden."
4. She was in way, way over her head
Bailey says Palin cared so little about facts and issues that she didn't even read the op-eds that she had people write under her byline. Indeed, Bailey's book 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," says Steven Levingston at The Washington Post. In Bailey's words, "her priorities and personality are not only ill-suited to head a political party or occupy national office, but would lead to a disaster of, well, biblical proportions."
5. Palin is furious with Bailey
"Palin's team is already pushing back hard," says Politico's Andy Barr. They don't dispute the authenticity of the emails undergirding the book, but they say they've been "framed to distort events." According to Palin's camp, Bailey is an unethical, "disgruntled former staffer with an axe to grind," who's just out for the money. Bailey is also under investigation in Alaska over his use of the emails. After talking about all the "disagreeable" things he did for Palin, knowing they were wrong all the while, "Bailey engenders little sympathy," says The Post's Levingston. If anything, he's "the narrator of his own political horror story."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- Why America needs more billionaires
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
Subscribe to the Week