Thursday, October 23, 2008


" I know what Americans are going through. Todd and I, heck, we’re going through that right now even as we speak, which may put me again kind of on the outs of those Washington elite who don’t like the idea of just an everyday working class American running for such an office."  -sarah palin on the hugh hewitt show, 8.30.08

photo: jim watson/afp/getty images

elitist is what elitist does.

according to reports, a team of stylists shopped for, and purchased palin's wardrobe (classified as "campaign accessories") and spent $75,062 at neiman marcus and $49,425 at saks fifth avenue. apparently, palin was not present for the shopping spree.  it is safe to say there are few plumbers, six-packers or wal-mart shoppers that can fathom spending $150,000.00 on lip-stick, hair-do's, dresses, black boots and red pumps, for a 10 week campaign.
so much for mccain & palin's hyperventilation about the re-distribution of "joe-the-plumber's" wealth.  and what about the already forgotten other joe, the wal-mart-shopping "joe-six-pack."  palin doesn't talk about him anymore.  the plumber's hegemony over the six-pack was swift.  the six-pack is so last-month's fashion.

and then there is obama "the elitist." in terms of campaign-trail-red-meat, this is one of the most relished mccain/palin character attacks.  ironically, it turns out that obama is happy wearing and repairing his old suits.  

how common.

hypocrisy is always the politician's achilles heel.  most of the "joes" in the world can smell hypocrisy through their flat screen televisions.  for palin to sell herself as an "everyday working class american" and participate in this silliness is not only disingenuous, but really poor image management.  and even worse politics.  

the purchases were bound to be made public.  forget the terrible judgement, the "straight talk express" dropped the transmission on this one.  we are talking about the most elementary of tasks  expected from a competent campaign: build an image that is honest and has integrity to the existing identity of your subject.  is neiman marcus, saks fifth avenue and barney's new york really where sarah palin would normally shop? did anyone in the mccain campaign ever hear of "mr. populist" john edward's $400.00 haircut and the charges of hypocrisy that dogged him ever since? 

no matter how petty the criticism may seem at a glance, this wardrobe fiasco is yet another pockmark on a politician who is as much out of touch as she is "out of her league." in the history of american campaigning, nobody has ever gotten a wardrobe "allowance," let alone such posh digs that would take a 30-year mortgage for the average american to afford.

the "obama is an elitist" charge suddenly rings hollow.

for grins, here's a brief comparison between where most of the "joe's" shop and where the palin stylists shop.  we all know that "save money. live better" is the tag line for the behemoth super-discount store, "wal-mart."  and we all know that regular neiman marcus shoppers are predominantly wealthy.  but if you dig a little further into the neiman marcus website, you'll find just how well the corporate office knows its clients: "For over a century, The Neiman Marcus Group has stayed focused on serving the unique needs of the luxury market. Today, that commitment is stronger than ever...The Neiman Marcus Group stores.. offer upscale assortments of apparel, accessories, jewelry, beauty and decorative home products to the affluent consumer. " how many neiman marcus consumers drop $75,000.00 at a pop?

let's add some mathematical perspective. to date, palin has been campaigning for about 7 weeks.  after dividing $150,000.00 by the amount of days she's been on the campaign, you get a little over $3000.00 per day, including weekends. that is truly haute couture.

this wardrobe faux pas puts extravagance on parade.  those with a tin ear may not have heard, but the rest of us are concerned that the drumbeat of bad news in the u.s. is growing louder. americans lost 159,000 jobs last month.  that makes 1.51 million jobs lost for 2008, a six-year high.  the nation's unemployment rate hit 6.1% in september and is expected to climb. 

it's no surprise that republican strategist, ed rollins chided, “It looks like nobody with a political antenna was working on this."

people wonder how sarah palin can keep a straight face while aggressively selling whoppers to all the joes in the country.  she would have you believe she's just an average working "hockey-mom," meanwhile she slips into something more comfortable, like "living the life of riley."  

what the mccain campaign seems to have misunderestimated is that this sort of out-of-touch-display reminds us what we are trying to move away from in this country: the scourge of dysfunctional and unrestrained consumption during an historic, economic downturn.

this issue alone won't doom the mccain/palin ticket.  not by a long shot.  but for most americans during this campaign season, palin's $150k for "campaign accessory" clothing will be considered a major re-distribution of wealth.  

for the g.o.p. hopes, there are now pockmarks aplenty.

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