Sarah Palin's Emails: Former Palin staffer discusses

Jun 13, 2011

Alaska on Friday released more than 13,000 e-mails from Sarah Palin's time as governor. Former Palin aide Frank Bailey chatted about the contents of the e-mails, some of which he used in his tell-all book "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years".

Good morning everyone. 

Sarah Palin's fame implicitly sends a message that resonates around the world that America's needs to invest more in our educational system. Would we tolerate the shallow rhetoric that she and a television station run by Roger Ailes if our nation did its research and were smarter than this? What are your thoughts about gullibility, and how we as a nation can become stronger through increased awareness and research.

We live in a soundbyte era unfortunately.  It is up to the individual to dig deeper than what is being spoon fed to them.  I hope those looking up to Palin's credentials do the same with Palin as there are untruths about her on both side of the aisle. 

From the email, Palin is obviously a smart, dedicated, caring leader -- pretty much the opposite of the media caricature. Why do you think the media is so desperate to destroy her? Why did you decide to write a slimy tell-all book?

No hatred whatsoever and I'd say fair question.  People deserve to know the truth and folks such as yourself who clearly support her have an obligation to do your homework if you're going to trust her.  I challenge you to read the book, more conservatives are doing so and realizing the story is not what they expected.  It hits hard yes, but whether you come to the same conclusion I do or not, it is full of truth. 

Ask yourself this, why is it that Elizabeth Hasselback, John Ziegler and others tried to get a response directly from Todd or Sarah Palin and could not get return phone calls? 

I challenge you to dig deeper.

If you were such a Palin insider, why is your name not among the 50 or so in the acknowledgements of "Going Rogue"?

Wasn't my book.  You'd have to ask her. :-)

It has been alluded to that you, and other of the Palin expose book authors, have full knowledge that the Trig pregnancy was a lie; a premeditated hoax. For those of us who have devoted the last 3 years of our lives to establish this as fact, we look forward to it being put forward in the mainstream media. Palin's unconscionable fraud speaks volumes about the moral character of a potential future leader of our country. At what point would you feel it to be your utmost Christian and patriotic duty to reveal what you know or think? Via what medium would you reveal this, and when? Thank you Frank - your book was a terrific first step in getting out the long-quashed truth.

Thank you for reading it.  Many people are enjoying the story.

I have to disagree with you on this point though, to know knowledge Trig is their child. 

Yes, in many areas, she is not the honest, principled person she puts herself out there to be, but this topic is not one of those areas.

However she benefits from the sympathy generated by the controversy of it all (odd as that sounds).

I worked on the Obama campaign, and of course we discussed Mrs. Palin. We'd discuss her effect on the campaign, whether she'd make a good VP, etc. But very often the conversation ended with "You know, she reminds me, I've never visited Alaska but have always wanted to."

Funny.  You should visit!  Incredible place up here.

Do you think Linda Perez and Sharon Leighow did an honest job to get all Palin emails involving state business released in response to the request? Do you believe that Sarah Palin- who was asked by Perez and others- to go through her Yahoo account and provide all state business-related emails to them actually did so? Or do believe that there are still a number of emails from her Yahoo account that should have been released and have not been? Do you happen to have any examples?

Fair question but very difficult to answer.  It would take me months to go through what the State is releasing.  I think though that this question will be answered over time as other email accounts come out.

There were hundreds of stories written about Palin's email over the weekend, but now total silence from the WaPo, NYT, etc, who ginned up the campaign to dig through the email. Is that because the email put Palin in a positive light? Is this just more media bias?

I can only speak for myself.  I want accuracy.  There were "high points" in Blind Allegiance where the reader traces through some incredible moments in history through my perspective.

There are also low points.

Both of which are seen through my eyes. 

Do keep in mind that these emails only go up until Sep of 2008.  If there are other requests forthcoming they will show more of a change in Palin after she returned from the veep campaign.

You can't read the Nixonian ways of the "lemonade stand" story without shaking your head in disbelief, and this occurred in late spring 2009. 

One of the things I took away from the Palin emails was her seeming inability to prioritize her battles, especially to recognize which ones were not worth fighting. I was amazed, e.g., at her concern at pushing back against a negative comment re her not having made an appearance at a Miss Alaska pageant. Don't you think that if she'd just ignored it, it would've gone away quickly and permanently? Now, with the big email dump, her efforts to fight back against it will live on for years to come. There were other instances of Palin's disproportionate responses to the most minor matters reported in the media as well, which leads to my question: If Palin is incapable of picking her battles judiciously, isn't that a strong sign of her unfitness to be President, or a heartbeat away therefrom?

Excellent perception.

You are exactly right. 

I used to tell her "Sarah Alaskans need to hear it when you are wrong.  Just admit it."  She would reply immediately saying "Frank if I do that they'll play it on a loop over and over again in the media." 

She is right, they might, but if she actually owned what she did wrong and people continue to attack her, they'll look mean and petty for doing so.

Being dishonest to cover an error never advances your cause.

Again great perception, one of the highlights of Blind Allegiance is her inability to rise above the tiniest criticism.  Not the sign of a leader.

Do you think there will be any real revelations from the Palin emails or is this just another sideshow as Palin's star fades slowly in the West ?

I believe folks would see much more from her emails in 2009.

The sad thing is that those who worship her, will not actually do the research themselves.  Very sad, and I know, because I've been there and tried to justify the unjustifiable. 

Mr. Bailey, Do you expect your book to be as successful, as the media attempt to uncover myriads of smoking guns from the release of the Palin e-mails? How much of your "15 minutes of fame' have elapsed?

I can only hope that folks will learn from my mistakes.  I get notes constantly from folks across the political spectrum who are thankful for the honest portrayal.

 

What would you say are some of the bigger differences between politics in Alaska and politics in the lower 48?

It is tough to say.  Some folks stayed up all night reading the book and were crying the next morning that the political system has descended into this.  Others read it and said, "That isn't so bad."  I guess it depends where you live.

Bottom line, the public AND the media need to do a better job holding our leaders accountable. 

Is it true that Sarah Palin spent many afternoons at home, rather than in the office working? How would you describe her work ethic?

I have to stick up for her in a sense here.  She is a very hard worker and being a Governor is a 24/7 job so you're always "on".  The problem comes moreso as to WHAT she would spend her time on.

Getting bogged down by normal elements of being Governor like media personalities who attack your policies is part of being Governor.  She could never rise above that stuff.  A true leader needs to be able to handle themselves in that environment. 

What was the nature of the ethics training you were required to undergo by the state? How long were you required to participate in this training?

Great question.  If you read the Petumenos Report you'll see that I didn't violate the ethics act, but came dangerously close to it.

The crux of the issue was me trying to get two departments to talk to each other (Dept of Admin and Dept of Transportation) so break a logjam and hire a long-standing vacancy with a much needed person.  A constituent was frustrated he couldn't get hired, when the dept wanted to hire him.  I got the two talking, and he was eventually hired.

However in Alaska someone in the executive branch can not effect the hiring of someone into a collective bargaining unit.

The ethics training I took covered all of this issue.

I have to say, this was only one of other issues that I sadly charged forward trying to fix a problem without having all of the facts.  Fast paced environment is  no excuse.  While I did check my actions with my bosses at the time, I should've done my homework and looked for the pitfalls.

Two things, since these are Palin camp talking points.  The hiring, was at Todd Palin's request.  And Sarah Palin was the only Governor to be found to have violated her position by abusing her power in the Branchflower Report.

Long answer, but very fair question thanks for asking it!

Do you think public officials should be able to communicate privately with advisors to work out ideas? Don't you think digging through her email is a slimy move that turns off good Americans from running for office and just leaves us with the Weiners of the world?

Yes, and no.  Executives do need to be able to communicate with their inner circle privately.  This is why there is deliberative and executive privilege (the redactions).

However we must keep this in mind.  The truth is not slimy or creepy.  When a leader IS what they say they will be, there are no "other side of the story" books that show their claims to be false. 

Is it too much to ask our leaders to simply be what they say they will be?  Or have we lost sight of that completely?

I hope not.

Frank, Just wondering with your book out, and your long time relationship with the Palins, whether they still communicate with you. Truly a brave thing you did, to go public with your story. Sunshine is a Powerful Disinfectant -Justice William Brandeis

Wow I love that quote.  Thank you. 

I truly hope Sarah will read the book and quietly digest and reflect on it.  Many many other volunteers have stepped forward quietly (or some publicly) and backed up what I write about my former boss. 

It would be a brave thing for her to do and commendable.

Folks I am sorry but I need to head out. 

If you haven't checked out the book yet you can see the synopsis at www.blindallegiancethebook.com.

Thanks for the excellent questions I am sorry I didn't get to all of them this time. 

~Frank

In This Chat
Frank Bailey
Frank Bailey was the Palin campaign administrator for the successful 2006 primary and general election campaigns. Once Palin was elected, Frank became deputy director of the Palin/Parnell transition team and later director of the State of Alaska Office of Boards and Commissions. Frank currently lives in Anchorage with his wife, Janeen, and their two children. He manages their small family business and serves as the interim music director for Rabbit Creek Community Church.
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