One regular target of Palin’s ire is Andrew Halcro, her former gubernatorial opponent, who raised questions about her use of state resources for family matters and her alleged attempts to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper.
“Halcro is a liar,” Palin wrote in one e-mail in February 2008, when she instructed staffers to push back on erroneous assertions by Halcro. “The mainstream media going to him as a credible source is pathetic.”
Walt C. Monegan, who was fired as public safety commissioner in connection with the trooper controversy, said Saturday that the e-mails show how Palin was “obsessed” with petty issues. “What you’re getting is a glimpse of somebody who is much more focused on themselves than the job they’re supposed to be doing,” he said.
Another regular target was former state senator Lyda Green, a fellow Republican from Wasilla who was the subject of dozens of scathing e-mails. Green said in an interview Saturday that the animosity appeared to stem from her history as an ally of former governor Frank Murkowski (R), whom Palin despised.
“If you did not agree with Sarah, if you questioned Sarah, then you were just on the outs. You could never go back. There was no purgatory, no limbo,” Green said, adding that Palin showed little interest in the details of policies or legislation.
“When you’re busy going after people, you’re not thinking about concepts, great ideas and policies,” she said. “That’s not Sarah Palin.”
The e-mails that were released by state officials reveal little about Palin’s approach to policy, focusing instead on the nitty-gritty details of politics, such as board appointments and dealing with her image. While she could run on a partial record of service and bucking party leaders in Alaska, “there is a weak side because she resigned rather quickly,” said Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist.
“She was a governor who was in perpetual motion and really excelled at her regional issues and was enthusiastic and seemed to be genuine and down to earth, but she quickly grew a thicker skin once she was thrust into the national spotlight,” Bonjean said. “The e-mails show her to be a really competitive person, who is not used to losing. She is going to be out there as a force to be reckoned with, whether she runs or not, and try to see to it that Obama loses.”
But Rich Galen, a Republican consultant and former aide to Newt Gingrich, said the e-mails add very little to what the public already knows about the former Alaska governor.
“I will be shocked when we get through the 24,000 pages if there is any nugget that adds anything other than proof to what people already know about her, which is that she’s petty and vindictive against people she dislikes and charming to people she does like,” Galen said, adding that, “she won’t be a candidate.”
Staff writers Robert O’Harrow Jr. in Juneau, Alaska, and R. Jeffrey Smith in Washington contributed to this report.