Inside Palin’s life in Alaska

When she is in-state, she spends most of her time secluded in her Wasilla home on Lake Lucille. She’s alleviated the need to pop out to do TV, having recently added a studio as an extension to her house. In the past, she was often spotted shopping at Target and Walmart; these days, she sends Bristol to the store, to avoid being mobbed by friends and well-wishers.

On one hand, “you can’t do anything because everybody’s watching when you go to the bathroom,” says Eddie Burke, a Palin family friend who says he lost his job as a radio talk-show host after skirmishing with a Palin critic who worked at the same station. On the other, Burke says, she’s facing the allure of big-money book deals. “So did she leave for money? Probably so.”…

Walt Monegan knows what it’s like to have friction with the Palins on the grand scale. His firing as Palin’s public safety commissioner led to the Troopergate investigation. Monegan is still struggling with the fallout years later. The former Anchorage police chief still breaks down in tears when reminiscing about his time on the beat. If Palin does make a bid for the presidency, Monegan is sure to be held up by opponents as a case study in how she can wield power vindictively. He strongly cautioned against a future President Palin.

“I think it’d be a train wreck. You need to have a thick skin in public service, especially if you’re going to be a boss of any sort. People are very opinionated; they will go up and tell you what they think about you, where you’ve gone wrong. You have to listen to them. You don’t shut them off, you don’t turn your back on them, and you certainly don’t attack,” Monegan said. “In her case, she is not mature enough or doesn’t understand that or she has such a large goal that she feels she knows what’s best for everybody, doesn’t really need any other input.”