In her time as governor, Sarah Palin was lavish with praise at times, quick to criticize her aides and also unapologetically impulsive.
In one exchange, Palin aide Bruce Anders said he worried that her very gushing praise for an op-ed writer’s piece in support of her oil and gas policies would eventually become public. Palin said she was happy to provide an “attaboy” to writer Jomo Stewart, and said she wouldn’t apologize for going with her gut.
“C’mon Bruce — it was an innocent, random, quick act of kindness to respond positively to Jomo’s op-ed. I did not think of political ramifications — and I will not bother thinking of political ramifications when I compliment someone for good efforts,” she wrote. “Jomo’s op-ed was unsolicited, from the heart, and powerful. I loved it. I told him so.”
In another case in June 2007, she criticized aides for failing to alert her to a fire that devastated a school, and noted that another politician was quickly on the scene and on television showing his support.
“Our DPS comm people should have notified me — instead saw it on the news,” she wrote.
Palin spends a considerable amount of her early months after winning the governor’s office minding requests from supporters to get onto state boards and commissions, and checking on their progress in being appointed. She raised concerns with staff that she kept hearing criticism that her most avid supporters weren’t succeeding in winning spots to state posts.
She asked in one case about whether supporter Mark Fisch had gotten onto a board, and that it was tough keeping track of these kinds of individuals. She noted the “frustration I hear from others too, who say we’ve forgotten the good folks who got us here ... and that we’re plugging in Murky, Binkley and Knowles’ people more often than our own. ”
Several times, Palin mixed work and family in her e-mails with key aides, as when planning an Easter meal in 2007. Palin alerted her household manager that she wanted to host an Easter meal for single staff members who wouldn’t be able to visit with their families on the holiday. She also stressed that she needed vinegar to dye eggs with her girls. She also said she’d be willing to cook the meal herself, if the last-minute idea was “too much” of a burden on her household staff.
“Please tell Stef we may invite a few ‘homeless’ staffers over for Easter meal. I feel sorry for some of these single staffers who have no family down here! I want to invite them to come have lunch or something that day so they have at least a bit of a fun thing to do — but certainly don’t want to burden house staff with this idea,” she wrote in a long e-mail.
“Stef could just perhaps add a few extra ingredients in anything to make a bigger meal — plus we have the leftover stew from last night — it can be very simple with no need for staff to do anything extra b/c this would just be a casual gathering of a few folks who would appreciate any home cooked meal during this busy time in the session.”
She ended: “Hope Stef wouldn’t feel burdened at this last-minute idea (and I can certainly pull together something myself for Sunday if this is too much! It seems there are ingredients and foodstuffs all over in the pantry!)”
After hearing in April 2007 that an Alaska dairy operation called Matnasuka Maid Dairy, run by the state Department of Agriculture, was “hemorrhaging” money, Palin responded quickly that she would consider making personnel changes.
“Big issues with MatMaid and Ag. I’m anxious to start tackling them,” she wrote from an education conference in Arizona. “Change in persons calling some shots at Ag is in order. We certainly can’t ignore the growing problems in that arena.”