Friday, December 2, 2011

Literary Ipecac

Blind Allegiance
I believe I’ve mentioned that my goal is to read 52 books this year. I’m up to 48, after finishing this one, Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of our Tumultuous Years, by Frank Bailey. Bailey jumped on the Palin train early on, working as her go-to guy for scheduling and other daily duties. Some of those duties included pressuring various people to fire Mike Wooten (infamously known as Troopergate), taking the fall for it, and covering up what Palin knew about it. Of course, he’s deeply regretful for the part he played in such underhandedness. He is now, anyway. But hey, I’m sure his god forgave him for it.

Bailey invokes his godliness early and often, and he was one of those who believed that God had chosen Palin to run. He writes plenty about the unethical practices and questionable statements that occurred often in Palin’s Alaska governorship, and how he knew it was wrong at the time, but went along with it all because he believed in Palin and thought she was exactly what Alaska needed.

He also writes often about how beautiful Palin is (I believe he even once used the word ‘sexy’), including this when he first started working for her campaign:

“A radiant smile, framed by chocolate colored eyes that would later charm hardened members of the media like Bill Kristol and Sean Hannity, lit up the room.”

[gag] He mentions the fawning adoration of Hannity, as well as the team that interviewed Palin when McCain was considering her for his running mate, not realizing that he comes across every bit as pussywhipped. It’s a wonder his marriage survived his working for Palin, because it seemed obvious to me that he had a major boner for her. (As a man devoted to his family and God, I’m sure he’d deny that. Comes across loud and clear in his writing, though, in my opinion.) Bailey was also Todd Palin’s sycophantic sidekick, doing his bidding concerning the Wooten matter to curry favor with the Palins. He was immediately convinced that Wooten was a “loose cannon” and should be fired, just because the Palins said so. He reminded me of the fat kid who lets the popular kids pick on him and pretends to be in on the joke, and loses every shred of self-respect in the process.

In fact, by the time I finished this book, I wasn’t sure who I disliked more—Palin or Bailey. I already knew that Palin is a moody, conniving, vindictive, bullying, power-hungry, unstable grifter, so Bailey didn’t tell me anything new there. However, he did tell me that he’s a pathetic, easily manipulated loser whose adulation of such a woman deluded him into believing that she was capable of being Governor, and that it was okay to bend the ethics rules if it helped her. I wanted to grab him by his pudgy shoulders and shake the stuffing out of him and say, “Wake up, you idiot!” (A smack across the face would probably have been in order, too.) He did start figuring things out—finally!—and wrote this about her vindictiveness and ability to hold a grudge, as he was watching the election returns:

“Experiencing emotional difficulty managing a state with fewer than a million people, what would President Palin do if a rogue nation like North Korea went nuclear? Would she be preoccupied with typing messages on the Anchorage Daily News blog? Would she use the FBI to monitor Dan Fagan’s radio show or dig up dirt on Katie Couric? The IRS, would it suddenly run audits of former political opponents, bloggers, or editorial critics? Would she fire dissenting voices and find out too late they were right and she was wrong—as she’d done with the entire Board of Agriculture and Conservation over the Matanuska Maid Dairy debacle in 2007? Did we want Sarah and her thin skin anywhere near that red button after that 3:00 a.m. phone call, as Hillary Clinton had warned of Barack Obama during their hotly contested primary races?”

No shit, Sherlock! I guess I can give him a little credit for finally wising up, but it should never have taken that long. I was left with a thorough feeling of disgust at the end of this book. To borrow a couple of Palinisms, what a “flippin crap cluster.”