The trove of more than 13,000 emails detailing almost every aspect of Sarah Palin’s governorship of Alaska, released late on Friday, paints a picture of her as an idealistic, conscientious, humorous and humane woman slightly bemused by the world of politics.
One can only assume that the Left-leaning editors who dispatched teams of reporters to remote Juneau, the Alaskan capital, to pore over the emails in the hope of digging up a scandal are now viewing the result as a rather poor return on their considerable investment.
Mrs Palin, who suddenly resigned as Alaska governor in July 2009, is no longer a public official. She holds no position in the Republican party. Despite the media hubbub that surrounds her every move, she is unlikely to be a candidate for the White House in 2012.
She is, however, viewed with a kind of horrified fascination by many in the media, who faithfully records everything she says and does while at the same time decrying her as ignorant and even evil.
Whether or not she runs for the White House – and the solid consensus among Republican leaders is that she won’t – the scramble over the Palin emails confirms her status as a pivotal figure in the race to challenge President Barack Obama next year.
To an extent, the emails remind Americans of the person they saw take the state at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota nearly three years ago – refreshing, plain-speaking, open and uncomplicated.
Since then, her image has hardened into one of a brittle, even paranoid, politician who seethes with resentment, feels aggrieved and entitled and is intent on pursuing celebrity even at the expense of her family.
Mrs Palin as a person has become so remote that it is hard for to assess how much, if any, of that widely-held caricature has a basis in truth. The email release could mark the end of a chapter of what conservatives have termed “Palin Derangement Syndrome”. Her enemies in the media appear to have overplayed their hand.
Expressing a sentiment that will resonate with many, Greta Van Susteren, a Fox News anchor who is close to Mrs Palin, argued that she had been subjected to “a media colonoscopy” by news organisations on “a mission to destroy”.
With a film entitled The Undefeated, chronicling Mrs Palin’s rise to prominence, about to air, the former Alaska governor is doubtless hoping that harsher perceptions of her can be blunted. (Full Story here)