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Wardrobe Malfunction

November 8, 2008 · Leave a Comment

We now have the most believable narrative yet explaining how Palin could end up with $150,000 in new clothes from upscale retailers like Neiman Marcus.

You’ll recall that when the story first broke the Palin camp claimed that the clothes were bought by the RNC almost against Sarah’s knowledge or wishes, that they were bought with the specific intention of returning a large number of items (a form of home-shopping, I suppose), and finally that the clothes were the property of the RNC and would be given to charity after the election.  To my ear these sounded like after-the-fact spin.

The account now given by those within the McCain campaign tasked with managing Sarah Palin sounds much more believable.  It is hard, however, to parse truth now that the Palin and McCain camps have turned to finger pointing and recrimination.

In the latest account Nicole Wallace suggested to Palin that she get 3 outfits for the Republican National Convention, and 3 more for after the convention, expecting a price tag of $20,000 – $25,000.  Instead what they got were receipts for clothes for the whole family, luggage, jewelry and a wide range of luxuries for the whole Palin clan, and the price tag was the widely reported $150,000.

This account seems believable because of things we’ve learned about Palin’s tenure as Governor, and a tendency to treat the trappings of public office as an opportunity to treat the whole family to a little splurge.  Palin billed the state her allowed travel per diem for 300 days in one year, most of which were spent in their own home.  Palin repeatedly brought her husband and children on official trips, even though they had no official role, and billed the state.  She even went so far as to go back into the official “paper trail” and adjust the receipts to try to claim some reason for those family members to be on the trip.  One private group who had asked Sarah to speak in New York was then surprised to be asked by the Governor to invite one of her daughters, and then even more surprised to see that a number of luxury hotel rooms were booked so that Sarah’s daughter could travel in style.  Furthermore, Sarah Palin then failed to claim as income State reimbursements for family members travel expenses, something that should be required if there was no State interest in their travel.

Palin now claims that the shopping spree was all the RNC’s idea.  But the story that she was asked to shop for a few new clothes and then the whole family went on one of those timed romps through Neiman’s like the winners of some crazy game show seems more consistent with the record.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics · Todd
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Everywoman Spends $150,000 on Clothes

October 22, 2008 · Leave a Comment

It turns out that the Republican National Committee has shelled out $150,000 for Palin’s wardrobe since her selection as McCain’s running mate.

Now I’m sure that it’s important that candidates look good, photograph well, and not be caught in the same outfit across multiple nearly concurrent photo opportunities. I’m also sure that it’s more expensive to appropriately outfit a woman candidate than a man, because the reality is that a man can get away with a few good suits, a few shirts, and an extensive collection of snappy ties, while women’s fashion requires greater variety and more special outfits.

The reason that I think this story is interesting is because of what it says about the candidate, and what it says about her party.

As for the candidate, the reality is that you simply can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a person of the people, the common man or woman, and imply, as Palin does, that she is from the “real, pro-America” part of the country, with all of her down-homeisms and appeals to small town virtues, and then blow $150,000 of donor’s money on your outfits while the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is happening and scaring the beejeezus out of the country.

The second reason is that I think it reveals what a lot of people have come to believe – that the Republicans have been most excited about Palin because she looks good. Clearly they didn’t care about her lack of experience, education or intelligence. But she looks great in a tight sweater (just like Katherine Harris – see http://hatepalin.com/2008/10/sarahs-future/).  And I think that the cynical and sexist Republican party looked no further, and was willing to open the purse strings to make sure she did just that.  Look good.

In all fairness, I’m sure it’s very difficult to find a conservative, attractive, young-ish woman in the Republican party.  Most of the much more qualified Republican women of stature are older, and wouldn’t address McCain’s glaring age issue.  And the Republican party has not been especially welcoming to women or embraced issues of particular importance to women.  As a result, there simply aren’t as many women in the party who have been elected to office.  So McCain and the RNC did their desperate “hail Palin” long pass into the endzone.  Just like in football, it’s high risk, and it fails more often than it succeeds.

But when you’re down and time is running out you take bigger risks.  And, apparently, you need more expensive clothes too.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics
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