This story has bounced around a few days before Politico picked it up today. A former aide to Sarah Palin has tried for almost 18 months to find a publisher for his gossipy tell-all about the former governor of Alaska. Palin’s team told Politico that Frank Bailey is the “quintessential disgruntled employee,” which seems rather obvious from the limited excerpts quoted in the article:
The still-unpublished manuscript, obtained by POLITICO, reveals Palin, as a candidate for governor, penning letters-to-the-editor in praise of herself, to be sent under other names. It blames the candidate for inflaming, rather than ignoring, scurrilous rumors. And it quotes her pledging to avoid appearing on any network other than Fox News, referring to the rest as “the bad guys.”
The content of the unpublished manuscript, written by Frank Bailey, was first reported by the Anchorage Daily News.
A Palin ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Bailey and Palin corresponded and that the former aide had access to Palin’s passwords and her email account. But the Palin ally said that the content should be viewed through the lens of Bailey being “the quintessential disgruntled employee” who had been denied senior jobs he sought, cut out of Palin’s vice presidential campaign, and been caught up in the “Troopergate” scandal — details Bailey confirms in the proposed book, which is titled “In Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of our Tumultuous Years.”
Maybe someone should work on the title. “Blind Allegiance”? His allegiance seems to have been pretty conditional on getting favorable positions in the Palin administration, and when he didn’t get them, the allegiance apparently turned into dislike rather easily.
Now Bailey wants to cash in on his proximity to a media magnet, which is hardly unusual; in fact, it’s rather surprising that we haven’t seen more of this with Palin. The question is why Bailey can’t sell the manuscript. With all of the intense interest and intense dislike for Palin among progressives, it’s hard to imagine how a publisher would take a pass on the project — unless it’s so bad that it’s unpublishable.
Ben Smith and Andy Barr offer these clues:
Yet despite the intense interest in his subject, Bailey, who has reportedly been marketing his draft since the fall of 2009, has had difficulty selling it to a publisher – a likely reflection of his primary focus on the small world of Alaska politics. He co-wrote the book with Jeanne Devon, publisher of the anti-Palin website Mudflats, and Ken Morris, a Palin critic and former Wall Street executive.
The insular scope shouldn’t be an insurmountable problem, especially with the intense interest in Palin and her time in Alaska. Media outlets sent dozens of reporters to Wasilla to scope out Palin’s record as mayor, for instance, while at the same time studiously ignoring Barack Obama’s track record in Chicago and Springfield. The partnership with Devon and Morris are probably more of an issue. Even a hostile publisher is going to want a book to have some sort of argument for independence and credibility.
The article quotes several passages from Bailey’s book, but none of them seem to rise to a level of scandalous behavior or shocking revelation. Palin obsesses over her media image? Well, maybe, but few politicians at the national level don’t. Palin confidentially told Bailey “I hate this damn job”? Even people who love their jobs have those moments, especially jobs with large responsibilities. Bailey wonders why Palin decided to get caught up in the Carrie Prejean controversy in May 2009:
Concludes Bailey after the episode: “The question we failed to ask was: What does this possibly have to do with being governor of Alaska? While it had nothing to do with Alaska, it had plenty to do with publicity. Fox News made this an ongoing story, giving it wall-to-wall coverage. Sean Hannity in particular latched on with both hands. With Sarah suddenly an outspoken supporter, he had gorgeous Prejean on one arm and sparkling Governor Palin on the other. He appeared a happy man.”
It’s not exactly an unfair question, but it also presumes that every other governor ignores national stories and keeps themselves insulated, which is hardly the case. Palin by this time had already become a national political figure, especially on conservative issues through the burgeoning Tea Party movement, and had been outspoken on social issues since the presidential election. It’s hardly surprising that Palin would want to work to keep up a national profile, which is harder to do from Alaska, both for the grassroots leadership she wanted to provide and for her own political ambitions. While it’s a fair point for criticism from the perspective of Alaskans, it’s hardly the mystery or the anomaly Bailey suggests.
If an author with inside knowledge of Palin’s operations can’t sell a book critical of Palin in 18 months, then I’d guess that the book is the problem.