What Are People Making of Sarah Palin’s E-mails?


Yesterday, a trove of Sarah Palin's e-mails — the ones sent to and from Palin's official governor's address between December 2006 and September 2008 — were released to the public. While journalists are still scrambling to make sense of the exchanges, here are a few of the prevailing ideas about Palin's complex mind, exposed by the e-mails:

The AP notes that Palin had long been eying the spotlight, and even the 2008 veep spot:

Much of the country was taken by surprise when Sarah Palin became the Republican vice presidential candidate in August 2008, but newly released emails show the little-known Alaska governor was angling for the slot months before Sen. McCain asked her to join him on the ticket. Earlier that summer, Palin and her staff began pushing to find a larger audience for the governor, nudging the McCain campaign to notice her.

In June, spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton sent Palin a draft of an op-ed piece carrying the governor's name that would be pitched to national publications "beginning with the New York Times." Palin responded the following day, writing: "Pls print.

Politico longs for the Sarah of yesteryear, claiming the e-mails expose a softer, kinder Palin, whom we've lost:

She was hands-on and averse to partisan politics. She championed openness in government and had normal relations with the media. She was a little starstruck by her interactions with national politicians but unafraid to do battle with the chief executives of the world’s largest oil companies. The emails from her governorship brought back the memory of a ... charismatic, competent woman. This was the vice presidential candidate John McCain’s team thought they were getting, before her darker tendencies — defensiveness, thin skin, grudge-keeping — hardened into tics.

The Washington Post, however, believes Palin seems like pretty much the same woman we know now:

Palin ... displayed many of the same strengths, and shortcomings, as Alaska governor that she would later bring to the national stage. Blunt and impatient, Palin derided “old school” politicians and bureaucrats and acted as a champion of populist interests on issues ranging from energy policy to women’s rights. Her relations with fellow politicians, including many Republicans, were often strained, and she relied heavily on her husband, Todd, and a close-knit group of aides to help cope with crises and shape policies.

The New York Times notes how quickly Palin rose from rural politics to super-stardom:

“Can you believe it!” she wrote in response to a staff member’s “Wow governor” message that Friday in late August when the choice was announced. “He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you.” Not two days earlier, Ms. Palin had been dealing with the sometimes mundane matters of one of the nation’s least populous states ... One moment she was immersed in board appointments and the Miss Alaska beauty pageant, the next she was receiving advice from the likes of Newt Gingrich and fielding questions from the national news media.

A close look at the crucial period when she rocketed onto the national stage shows that there was almost no warning of what was about to happen. And, as many asserted at the time, the vetting process of the vice-presidential candidate appears to have taken just a few days.

Many outlets point out that there was indeed a time when Palin wouldn't attack any and all of Barack Obama's actions:

Just a few weeks earlier, Ms. Palin had seemed happy to have any national attention. In August, when Barack Obama, then a senator from Illinois and the leading Democratic candidate for president, mentioned a natural gas pipeline that was proposed for Alaska, Ms. Palin complimented his “great speech” and asked that her staff “take advantage of this” by publicizing it. “Pretty cool,” she said in a follow-up note. “Wrong candidate.”

But we're going to wait until her Gchats leak. That's when we'll find out who Sarah Palin really is.