Frank Bailey was one of Sarah Palin’s earliest followers and supporters. Bailey, who is an Alaskan, was one of a handful of Palin’s closest confidants and contributed to the campaign that would bring the now former Alaska governor to office in 2006.
After the campaign, Bailey worked numerous jobs for Sarah Palin in the Alaska Governor’s office including serving as the director of board of commissions where he was responsible for vetting and placing numerous people in various government jobs. Those who closely follow politics know Bailey as one of the key people in the Troopergate case. Troopergate revolved around allegations that then Governor Palin tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job.
Today, Bailey admits having made mistakes in his new book Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin. For all the Sarah Palin books that have been written in recent years, Frank Bailey provides an insider’s view showing how Sarah Palin came to garner so much attention and what went on while she was Governor of Alaska. He also provides an up close and personal view of one of America’s most famous politicians.
Below is the transcript and audio of an almost 40 minute interview I had with Frank Bailey. We discuss a broad range of topics about Sarah Palin. Additionally, we the state of politics and the media climate in America are discussed. You can read and listen to the whole interview below.
Listen to the Frank Bailey interview:
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Chris Yandek: The difference between your book I think everybody else’s book is that you were there and you saw these things. I think this a very honest portrayal where you really see how Governor Palin handled the daily life of a governor. And there are some positives but there’s also a lot of negatives. I wonder looking at writing this book if you think maybe you have shown the reason why she should never be elected to political office ever again?
Frank Bailey: “Boy, I certainly from my experience, that is my conclusion. I believe that, that is exactly where the reader will go as they trace my experiences that she should not be the leader of this country. However, I’ve got to say that everybody makes mistakes and at some point some of those actually look back and see that, boy I really don’t like some of the choices that I have made and they make adjustments. I certainly don’t count anybody out from that.”
CY: Looking at, though, going from an average person who ends up being one of the half dozen people that become close to Sarah Palin, I wonder looking back on this experience, what does a politician need to represent to the country?
FB: “I believe, I still hold to the notion that politicians can make mistakes, but just be honest. When they attempt to do something and fail, be up front with their constituents whether it’s Alaskans or American people. And just let them know that we tried and we failed. And I think that people are forgiving of that. I believe that the makings of a leader are someone who is principled, somebody who is strong and someone who is honest. And the details that we lay out in Blind Allegiance, they show that this person, if she was those things in 2005 like many who were close, who worked on that campaign really believe she was, she veered from those things. And that’s sad. That’s a ton of wasted potential.”
CY: Why did she drop her principles?
FB: “I think power. I think power was the first point. Later it became the limelight and money. It was sad to see. You trace my journey and the points, even with the actions that I was involved in and the things that I regret not speaking up about. And you get into this rationalizing mentality that the end justifies the means and that getting her there is worth all the dishonest things that we did to actually get here there. And that’s, yes, politics are ugly, nobody’s perfect, but it’s truly just not right.”
CY: From a Fox News article, that was printed a few days ago, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see this or not, but this is what Palin had to say about you and the book, “I say it unequivocally that Frank Bailey has some ethical problems of his own. In fact, out of the 25,000 employees that I was in charge of … and with the $14 billion that we were working on … only one person in the entire administration had to undergo ethics training. … It was Frank Bailey who (is) still under investigation today,” Ms. Palin said. Thoughts?
FB: “Well, part of what she says is accurate. I did take ethics training. If people look into that situation, it was essentially my attempts to on the request of Todd Palin I must say, but my attempts to get two departments talking with each other, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Administration. What is amazing to me in that statement that she’s missing is that she is the only governor in the history of Alaska that has ever been found to of abused her powers as governor. If you look at the Branch Law Report, it was unequivocal that she did that and, of course, she’s whitewashing over that completely.”
CY: She further noted it was 25,000 emails and that these things were taken out of context in your book and that doesn’t really distract her. You really don’t believe that this is not going to affect her in some way do you? I mean as thin skinned as you say she is, I mean this has gotta impact her in some way.
FB: “People need to understand that this story would not have been written if she was what she says she was. If she truly was the person that she puts herself out there to be, honest, caring, that conservative Christian mantle, then there would be no Blind Allegiance. She could’ve told the story. As far as this affecting her, she actually has mentioned that this book is one of the quote practical issues that she is using. She didn’t link the things together directly, but in an interview with Greta a few weeks ago, that’s what she said.”
CY: What do you mean? Are you saying she’s using this book as an example for how she can become a better person is what you’re saying?
FB: “No, no, no. I think this book is a tremendous practical distraction to her making the decision to run for president.”
CY: Oh, so you’re telling me that this book is impacting whether she’ll run or not because people are going to look at this? I agree with you.
FB: “I believe so.”
CY: Moving forward on that, I wonder did anyone in the Palin camp try to prevent this book from coming out?
FB: “They did not. Certainly some folks came forward who were close volunteers and they were not, they were concerned. They were close friends of mine. They worked deep in the campaign and they mostly were concerned for me that the backlash from the Palins would be tremendous and it would bring a lot of heat on my family. Quite honestly, that’s the cost that I counted in 2009. I knew this would be tough. I knew it would take on a lot of heat and criticism, but it would be worse on my conscience to stay quiet and not tell this story.”
CY: The fact that she is employed by Fox News, I was just really shocked in so many ways that you ended up on Sean Hannity’s program. And when I looked at that interview in general, I thought two things. Number one, he didn’t really even attack any of the issues in your book. And number two, he couldn’t get over the fact that maybe the cover of the book was photoshopped and that you were actually getting paid for, wow, writing a book.
My question to you is, listen, I’m an independent, social liberal person and fiscally conservative, but what I will to say to you is what I can’t understand is that, why did Sean Hannity have you on if anything else just to try to rip you apart and defend Sarah Palin’s honor?
FB: “Really, I believe he proved the title of the book. Sadly, for whatever reason, I think Sean is where I was four or five years ago. People call me, I write about it that, Frank, you were the first Palin-bot in Alaska. And yes, that was a tough interview, but it was amazing to me that the truth in the book he did not want to address. We talk in Blind Allegiance about how like with Jim Minnery when she got, dig up sex offender records and criminal records on this person up here in Alaska, conservative guy. You know, her M.O. is to press the right buttons to get people involved and to attack that messenger, to demonize the messenger.
We show several examples of that. One of them has resulted into a lawsuit recently after our book was leaked where a man, people call it the lemonade stand story where this guy was absolutely demonized for just wanting a quieter neighborhood. So it was sad for me to see Sean take the bait. One of the first comments he made before the camera ran was, ‘Frank, you attacked me in your book.’ ‘Sean, did you read my book?’ He said, ‘No. But I know you come after me.’
And I said, I was trying to remember the exact words we had used and I just couldn’t pull them out of my head at the time. And I went back and realized the stuff we used about Sean was that he was enamored with her and that he appeared like he had taken silly pills. Hardly an attack for a guy like Sean Hannity. It was very eye opening I must say, but I’m glad I did it.”
CY: I want to say before we move on from that, the mainstream media on both ends of the isle I think has let the American public down. I don’t care if it’s Fox News. I don’t care if it’s any of the other major networks. I don’t care if it’s any of the other publications. I don’t care if it’s any of these online left leaning, right leaning blogs, anything in the middle. I think that the media has let people down in general. The fact that he did not even read your book and it seems to be a common thing among mainstream journalists that they don’t read the book and I read the book. That it just goes to show you how superficial much of the mainstream media can be today and have you learned that lesson from this?
FB: “Chris, you are so right. It’s like the days of Watergate are over where true investigative journalism actually digs in and finds out the truth and puts these things together. Rarely does that happen. Specifically with Palin, it’s interesting because some of the Left comes out with crazy accusations. People ask me if she was unfairly targeted during the VP election, yeah, she got some very unfair crazy accusations, Trigg’s not her kid and all this dumb stuff.
Ok, but the problem is the right then never holds her accountable because she plays them. I’m the victim. Brush them off as the lamestream media. So they never hold her accountable. So the service is never done to the American people that she’s truly vetted. She’s in this perfect position where she can dismiss her detractors and kiss up to the people who love her.”
CY: Ok, continuing on, two weeks ago, your book comes out and then last week Sarah Palin has her bus tour. Coincidence and what did you make of the bus tour?
FB: “Well, if it was try to distract from the fact that the book, which some are saying, I’m not convinced that is the case, but I think it worked to some degree. It changed the discussion. It was all about the bus tour. The problem is, the bus tour to some degree didn’t go so well. There’s the Paul Revere stuff. There’s kind of the mess ups. Sort of beating up on the fellow conservatives on the day of their announcing and things like that. So I don’t know that it was, I think it showed Palin for Palin. Seeking that limelight, craving it at all costs.”
CY: We as individuals can’t know everything about everything, but don’t you think for example as you say in the book, as she was getting prepared I believe for the vice presidential debate, she didn’t know Africa was a continent. Now going back to the whole thing about the Paul Revere story and the inaccuracies, I mean, my question to you is, that, you know what? We don’t have to know everything, but we should know basic facts if we’re running for office and we should know about the history of our country and we should know basic geography. Wouldn’t you agree with me on that?
FB: “I definitely would agree and the sad thing is, when you get sort of drunk with power, you start forgetting that you need to continue to be schooled. I think Bill Kristol actually said several months back that he’s disappointed that she hasn’t boned up and studied up and Bill Kristol was one of her early cheerleaders. And it’s very true, she doesn’t think that she needs to sit down and learn.”
CY: Do you think she’s not running? I don’t think she is.
FB: “I don’t believe she is.”
CY: Isn’t this just another money PR campaign to make a ton of money?
FB: “I think that sometimes and then other times it looks like she’s testing the waters to see. Her negatives are so high. They’re hovering between 58 and 63. It’s hard for me to imagine, but I believe that she is about herself. That she really has lost her way from those values that even conservatives saw her as championing. That is scary to me. You mentioned something Chris about people not doing their homework, you know, I’ve done a lot of interviews over the last couple of weeks and some of the most disappointing ones are the ones that just come out with the kind of Palin camp talking points. They didn’t take the time to actually read the book and see that yes, Frank Bailey made a lot of mistakes and you can see that in the book. I own them. I regret many of them, but it’s really sad.”
CY: Well, I think the entire media circuit is to blame by continuing to giving Palin all this media attention. Why do they keep giving her coverage? Is it just too easy?
FB: “It’s a cross between a rock star and a train wreck. People are fascinated no matter what’s happening. They latch on to it and they glue on to it and it’s hard to break away. It’s the best way I can describe it.”
CY: But isn’t it fair in some ways, just using this comparison because this is the best way I can come up with it, isn’t it almost like Sarah Palin is the Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian of the political world?
FB: “I think that’s pretty fair. I really do.”
CY: You know, I mean, and I think that we’re a society that for whatever reason likes to pay attention to train wrecks.
CY: Moving along, April 2010 was the trial of the person who hacked her email account. You had to be there because you had to provide information. Was that the last time you saw Sarah Palin?
FB: “Yes. It was. I didn’t, I think maybe I saw her and Todd just briefly from a distance. Before that, the only time I’d talked with her was October of 2009 about a year earlier preparing for that same trial.”
CY: Before the McCain/Palin ticket was formed, she noted to you that she was only going to be a one-term governor, but she doesn’t finish her term. For all the hours you spent helping her win the Governor’s office, she ended up quitting. I feel like we have this part of society today that now champions people like Ms. Palin even though they are quitters and I don’t think that sets a good example. Finish what you start. What are your thoughts on that?
FB: “Chris, not only myself, but many people were so disappointed with that decision. To me, if, there were so many emails we couldn’t print cause there were. You see my journey. But in February of 09, she says, ‘I’d quit tomorrow if I could find the message.’ That was basically the first shot that being governor just wasn’t that fun anymore. You saw sort of this wave of bad blood follow her and she never knew how to rise up above it, things about the frivolous ethics complaints certainly had happened.
But as a leader, we expect our leaders to be able to take the high road and deal with these crazy things. If you can’t handle a chronic ethics complainer, how can you put yourself out there and say that you could essentially lead the free world and you know talk about intelligibly the Middle East and Israel and North Korea and things like that. It just, her quitting is not the sign of a good leader. She disappointed a lot of people in Alaska.”
CY: The American public is always saying how many politicians from both parties are only looking out for their individual interests. I think this is obviously an ongoing problem in Washington and of course obviously the state world. After all the media, book and other financial opportunities started rolling in for Ms. Palin after that 2008 Presidential election, you make it very clear in the book she wasn’t fully focused on her daily duties as the Governor of Alaska. Doesn’t she in many ways represent the self-interest political officials we need to get rid of to have a better government that she always would attack?
FB: “I believe she does represent that and I would love to see more leaders essentially. I’m gonna quote Chris Christie here because he essentially said, ‘Look, you hired me to do a job. I’m here for four years. I’m gonna do that job and if you don’t like the job I do, fire me.’ That to me is the kind of strength that we should see. That I’m gonna do it no matter if it’s tough or not and it really doesn’t count on the political wind or rigging the little online polls or anything like that.
I’d love to see that sort of principle show up and we just did not see that in our boss. There was big state business going on at the time. I talk about the Letterman insult with her daughter and how she milked that for six media cycles, six entire days and she could not break away with that, from that. There was big stuff going on with oil and gas up here in Alaska and she wanted nothing to do with it.”
CY: The way you describe it in the book, Governor Palin was most worried about her public image in a way a pop culture celebrity would make sure her team of people were doing the best to only paint positive images of them in the media. Did Sarah Palin care most about her image over any issue of government policy or substance?
FB: “She did and I don’t believe she was that way in 2005. I think that crept in, in 2006. Some of it is the anatomy of politics anyway. You certainly want to put your best foot forward, but we also need our leaders to be honest. One of the, it’s small, but it’s also most candid, the stories we tell in there is where she wrote her own letter to the editor and then got someone else to sign it.
It was later published falsely thinking that person had written it representing that to the paper. This lauding letter about herself was printed under someone else’s name making it look like Alaskans loved her and we did a lot of things like that. She was obsessive about these little online web polls. We would do everything we could to vote as many times and set computers up to automatically paint the picture that she was something that she was not.”
CY: You know Frank, I think we’ve moved to this era of entertainment where people are famous for being famous over substance, but contributing nothing worthwhile to society is dominating entertainment and now politics. Just because Sarah Palin is likeable to some doesn’t mean she should have a political post and if she’s going to be worried about people saying and writing negative things about her and polls that are not going in her favor, you really shouldn’t be in office.
Because guess what? The Current President of the United States of America, whether you like him or not has gotten more hate requests [sic] and more death threats than any other president I believe in the history of the United States of America. So if you’re gonna worry about hate and you’re gonna worry about people saying negative things about you, you shouldn’t be in political office. Do you agree with me?
FB: “I absolutely do and some of these little, you can see entire days in the book that are consumed by just petty, these petty, petty slights that people would say. I mean, transcribing radio shows and trying to gin up callers to take radio hosts to task and things like that should not consume the days of an executive.”
CY: You define her as a micromanager, which is impossible to do. One story for example, she got mad while running for governor, you had gone out and you had gotten her a good deal on some of these campaign signs for like $2000 and she was really disappointed that you didn’t run it by her. It seemed like one day she liked you, the next day she had a bone to pick with you, the third day you were just pushed aside. You were neutral. You were there, but you weren’t interacting with her. Is that the best way to explain it?
FB: “Yeah, yeah. We, on the inside we joked of it as a getting voted off the ship and so you know there’s about three of us, even Todd himself would joke about this sometimes that we’d get frozen out and we would kind of take a break for a while. Then we would get sucked back in and all of a sudden she’s your best friend again. It’s just a weird personality trait that we all sort of got used to about her.”
CY: Is your former boss everything that’s wrong with America right now? A lot of image, but no substance or lacking substance more or less?
FB: “Boy, I would rather say that my former boss shows someone who lost her way, who really at one point had those values that she was championing and lost it for greener pastures of fame and fortune and craving that limelight. That to me is very, very sad.”
CY: I really thought this was just random for the pop culture world. You guys spent a lot of time voting in these media polls, but more specifically, you believe that there might have been a program that helped get Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol to the finale of Dancing with the Stars. I thought it was quite random, but quite interesting to look at. Tell me about that quickly.
FB: “Well, I was not involved in anything like that, that was certainly after I was sort of voted off the island of the Palins, but I do know that the folks around her very much were guys that helped out in these media pools and sort of propped up that image. So I could easily see that happen in the Bristol case, I just don’t know for sure.”
CY: During the investigation of Troopergate, which of you played a big part in and will be known probably for the rest of your life trying to get Sarah Palin’s ex-brother in law fired, you sent her your resignation numerous times, but she wouldn’t accept it. You even noted in the book she said at one point was going to quit if you left your job at the Governor’s office. You think that was just a play on her part to keep you around or do you think she would’ve really quit too?
FB: “I don’t think she would’ve quit also. I think politically I became a tremendous liability if I was no longer employed that, you know you gotta understand, this was a nightmare period of my life where me, a guy who loves to be behind the scenes does not like to talk to the media, have reporters showing up my driveway and me just wanting to sort of cut my losses and go and start my life over again and really reevaluate and that would’ve, me sort of unchecked and no longer under her umbrella would’ve – especially because she was VP [candidate] and she was on the trail, would’ve just been a bad, bad thing for her.”
CY: You note Todd Palin was good to his children and a good family man, but it seemed like all he ever wanted you to do was find ways for him and his family to get even with others that had double crossed them. Looking back on it, do you find his behavior somewhat disturbing?
FB: “Yeah. I mean, Todd’s a complex individual as well. You mention it that and we did in the book that he was a really good dad. He filled the gaps where Sarah, the executive, pretty much absent a lot of the time left, but you gotta understand, I mean, 30, 45 minute 60 minute phone calls three, four five times a week about these family vendettas, mainly [Mike] Wooten, but sometimes others bit me and many others. It’s just, those burdens, other people take those on. And again, being a leader, you can’t let those things consume you. You’ve got to be able to rise above that stuff and it comes with the family too. Todd certainly never could and neither could Sarah.”
CY: You were the director of board and commissions at one point and I just want to redefine this for everybody who’s listening to this is that you were responsible for appointing people in government right? Correct?
CY: Which means you had a really big job. Which means you had a lot of time investigating and vetting these people for these very important government jobs and part of your day was focused on the Palin agenda and the Palin people wanting you to get even with the people that had double crossed them. Don’t you kind of find that ironic? Like, why am I even here? I have all this responsibility. I mean, how am I gonna keep up with my work?
FB: “I use to say to my wife that 30 percent of my day was spent on my boards and commissions job. You’ve gotta understand, we’re talking hundreds of board positions. All the way from folks that manage and oversee our permanent funds, we’re talking 30-40 billion dollars. These are critical, critical spots all the way to the judgeships. And yet so much of it was consumed dealing with really Palin’s personality. It pushed my weeks up into the 70, 80 hour work week timeframe. Honestly, I just, I never should’ve sacrificed that much time away from my kids.”
CY: She seemed to have some issues, you mention in the book in one article you quoted, she called some of these Republicans old time, business as usual rich white Republicans is how I’m gonna paraphrase it. Do you think in any ways Palin had some liberal views and might’ve even been a moderate?
FB: “I think Palin is a populist. I think she finds these chords that resonate and you know, she called it the old guard. The old white men’s club, different things like that. And yeah, I think she wanted to sort of be all things to as many people as she possibly could. So certainly there’s a lot of effort to try to really touch and resonate. I mean, honestly, the thing about the lamestream media, there is a lot of mistrust with the media. She latches on to that and just rings that bell. It’s like a dog whistle. People just automatically distrust whatever they say. She’s learned to do that very, very well I think.”
CY: I want to go back to one thing quickly that I had mentioned to you earlier, the fact that she was like miles away from Mitt Romney’s announcement, presidential announcement event, you think that was not a coincidence? She says, oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to take the attention away from Mitt Romney, but wasn’t that a political strategy to take attention away from him? I mean she says she was sorry, but I can’t believe that. I don’t know what you think.
FB: “I am absolutely sure. She is very calculated. She views these things, you gotta understand there’s tornadoes going on in Massachusetts as they essentially drove around dangerously in the middle of the night to get to where they were going. There was a strong effort to be there. I had even heard Brian Kilmeade of Fox News actually on his radio show later actually call her out and say that she was classless for doing that. It wasn’t until that sort of pressure came out and some of her own Dick Morris, [Charles] Krauthammer, Brian Kilmeade, Neil Boortz and others actually start hammering her for that she actually felt like she needed to launch out to some sort of apology whether it was halfhearted or real.”
CY: Well, to end the book, what’s interesting to note, you really think even after all the fame and wealth she accumulated that her and Todd aren’t happier today, is the message here that Sarah Palin though she was able accumulate much wealth and fame will be looked back in time as a quitter, a comedic joke and someone who in the way of policy and substance lacked those contributions in government?
FB: “By some Chris, she will be. But by others, they look at her as their savior. That the world was against her and that she was fighting to do everything she can. Again, they prove our title of Blind Allegiance where they don’t truly look at the facts and that is what scares me, this sort of carte blanche worship of her and that sector of America is still alive and well out there. Honestly, it terrifies me because I’ve been there.”
CY: Well, you’ve been there and Blind Allegiance is the best title I can come up with for the book. There isn’t a better title, but you’ve been there. Why do people have that blind allegiance for her. Besides the fact, it’s like, she does have an education, ok. She has a college education, she went and she worked hard as a mayor and then she was a governor. And she worked with people who obviously were very intelligent in helping het getting her elected. But why the blind allegiance? My point is she’s no different than any other politician except she’s from a different state that a lot of people don’t think of very much.
FB: “Right. It’s, boy, I wish I knew. You divorce yourself from fact to get to that and to me, I divorced myself from values from the things that I was raised and knew to be right and honest and moral and to do everything I could to promote her. And that’s honestly what I hope people take away from the book is passion and politics. I don’t care what side of the isle you’re on is critical in the discussion today. It’s important, it’s commendable. I love to see people get involved no matter what their issue is. But don’t divorce yourself from the things that you know to be right.”
CY: And you really don’t think Sarah Palin knows who Sarah Palin is correct?
FB: “No. No. I don’t. I think she’s a shell of who she use to be.”
CY: Well, shells of who you used to be have celebrity and can continue on to be profitable, but looking forward from this, I wonder now looking at this Republican field and looking at the general election in general, who do you believe could be someone that the Republicans should nominate? Who are you, have you considered supporting anyone yet? Are you undecided? Where are you at this point and time?
FB: “I very much say I’m undecided at this point. I’m looking at some things. I just, I don’t know the field well enough to really comment at this point. There are little things that I like in different candidates. I love the entrepreneur spirit of Herman Cain. I love the government experience of Tim Pawlenty. I love the, sort of the chutzpah of Chris Christie. But I am certainly not sold on any one candidate at this point.”
CY: Will you ever get involved back in politics or was this it for you?
FB: “No. I have been since. I have helped some folks. I’ve consulted with some people up here and helped them out. Again, I commend people to passionately get involved in the system. A lot of people looked at me as the grassroots guy up here in Alaska. Just had a touch with a lot the hard working volunteers that really are the nuts and bolts of the campaign and I still stay in touch with those guys up here, just credible bunch of people.”
CY: My final question for you is looking at this entire situation, do you think you’re ever going to hear from Sarah Palin again or do you pretty much think that it’s over unless you run into her coincidentally. Do you think that it’s pretty much over that you will not be hearing anything from her on the book or anything else?
FB: “I don’t want to write anybody off. You know, I believe that people can sometimes look back and realize their ways. So I wouldn’t close that door. I certainly expect her to continue to attack the messenger. That was to be expected, but I would love to see her read this and own it and learn from it and reflect.”
You can purchase a copy and find more information about Blind Allegiance Clicking here
You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com