Friday, October 24, 2008

Petunia Palin

When I lived in California my mortgage (house bond) payment was about $1500 a month. It was an old mortgage which I inherited from my late husband who had bought the house with his then-wife during the mid Eighties. In Silicon Valley at the beginning of the new millennia, this was considered a low monthly payment for a 3 bed 2 ba ranch style house. So reasonable, in fact, that the people who bought the house in early 2004 had a monthly payment of over $4000 a month for that same house.

Today, the US is in financial crisis and people are losing their homes right and left…even devout Republicans who’ve pinched their pennies to be able to donate a few bucks here or there to their favourite political party. Some of these people are among those who have lost their jobs and are losing their homes but have not yet lost their faith in the Republican Party.

So, I wonder what they think of this : . Will the same people who, in the last election, excoriated John Kerry for a $400 hair cut, find a way to excuse the GOP’s spending $150,000 at Saks and Neiman Marcus to gussy up their favourite lipsticked pig? In a time when people are finding themselves being booted out of their homes, how does McCain explain spending more than $500 in campaign funds on a pair of designer shoes? And who got the benefit of the almost $5000 spent at a high end men’s retailer, Atelier, McCain or Palin’s husband?

Macy’s got almost $10,000, Bloomies got more than $5,000, and the campaign even spent money at a couple of baby stores. All in all, it adds up to more than $150,000…enough to pay my old mortgage for nearly two years…and they managed to disgorge this impressive chunk of money in just one month!

Who knew that getting on the ticket was a ticket to a whole new wardrobe at no personal cost? Is this a precedent set for the future, a way to allow a female VP or Prez to acquire a public wardrobe at a cost not borne by her own pocket? Yah, the article says that the clothes are ultimately destined for charity, but let’s get real here…my clothes are ultimately destined for charitable donation, too…but not until I have worn them…and worn them…and worn them some more. Exactly which charity is going to receive $150,000 worth of barely worn high-end designer labels from top retailers? And when? Cos honey, I want to be first in line on the day that happens!

Interestingly, the Dem’s monthly financial disclosure report doesn’t seem to have an “itemized coordinated expenditures” or “campaign accessories” category in which red leather jackets and Ferragamo shoes can be explained away. In fact, nothing in any of the Dem’s monthly financial statements indicates these kinds of expenditures on the candidates or any of their family members.

So what does this mean? I dunno…but it doesn’t surprise me that Palin is gaining personal advantage without spending a cent of her own money. “ …Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business…The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.”

I’m not going to go into the ethics of these revelations, but I do have to wonder if Palin can tell the difference between public and private funds and when is the appropriate time to use each one. I once had a sister-in-law who was afflicted with a similar condition: she simply could not draw a line between hers and anybody else’s…if you loaned her something, she took it as a gift and you never got it back. She couldn’t even tell the difference between your name…and credit rating…and her own. She once assumed the identity of a family member and financed a new refrigerator on that person’s credit…which she promptly “forgot” to make payments on. Palin reminds me of this (thankfully) former member of my family…rearranging right, wrong, and reality to her best advantage, regardless of the rules the rest of us play by. What part of the national budget is going to become the hiding place for her personal expenditures if she becomes VP or, heaven forefend, President?

Interestingly, Michelle Obama cuts a stylish figure…she reminds me of Jackie Kennedy when Jack was campaigning…on her own dime. In the same month that RNC forked over 150,000 smackers to drape the pit bull of the tundra, the DNC shows no personal expenditure for either of their candidates or the candidates’ families.

So, I am wondering…how does the RNC justify taking their pet pig to places like Nieman Marcus and Saks 5th Avenue for lipstick? Couldn’t she find decent clothes in places like Sears and JC Penney’s if she couldn’t afford Bloomies et al on her own income? Who dresses Michelle Obama? Where does she buy her clothes and, more importantly, who pays for them?

Most important of all, if you are a person feeling the pinch of today’s failing economy and you managed to squeeze out some money to donate to your favourite political party, how would you feel if your money had been spent to buy designer clothes from stores you can’t even afford to browse in? How would you feel if your party spent, in a single month, more than 100 times your monthly mortgage payment for fancy duds that they say they are going to donate to charity (I’m thinking $150K spent at Walmart would have clothed a lot more of the unfortunate than the same amount spent at luxe department stores)?

The whole thing stinks of elitism and a complete disregard for the sensibilities…and pocketbooks…of the average voter. I would have had a lot more respect for McCain and his entourage and sycophants if they’d told Sarah “You need to hire a stylist and get some new threads…but nothing too ostentatious because people who are worrying about losing their jobs and their houses might be offended if we look like insensitive spendthrifts...oh, and leave the kids at home with Grandma,” and then ignored her outstretched palm.

But that’s not the Republican way, now is it?


  1. Obama and Biden buy their own clothes, as does Michelle Obama, who caused a run on a $148 dress last summer after wearing it on a national talk show.

    What's more, a recent NYT article indicates that at least a few of the stores where the $150K was spent cannot match the reported expenses against their receipts.

    Under the campaign finance laws John McCain worked to pass, any clothing purchased with campaign funds must be taxed as income, and any tax deductions from a charitable donation are limited to the depreciated value of the clothes -- which will NOT be $150K.

    I think "Caribou Barbie" has some 'splaining to do.

  2. I am from Blog Catalog and what caught my eye was your remarks to the thread "Is blog catalog dying?" I have just now read your first (to me) post and can hardly type this fast enough to go back for more. I love your style! Consider me a follower and I am also subscribing to your RSS. I am so impressed. I am sure I will comment more. Again I love your style,

  3. Palin is point blank, a joke. Now she is going "off ticket" and has her own agenda which is great actually. Maybe more Republicans will be as disgusted with her as the rest of us and not be stupid enough to chance her ever being anywhere close to the White House.

    Sarah and Todd are now being investigated about the legitimacy of Todd being able to build a $500,000 mansion on his own with some help from a few "buddies" which all went on when the sports arena just down the street from them (which Palin approved) was being built. These two are used to getting something for nothing with the taxpayer picking up the bill one way or the other.

  4. I think the whole part about them 'donating' their 150k lot of clothes to charity is an act of saving face. On top of that, anyone that buys these clothes at a thrift store/Salvation Army are not going to be paying $3 for a dress. I guarantee you it will be priced somewhere out of reach. Even then, why does someone who needs warm clothes need designer clothes? It doesn't make sense. If I were to try to feed a hungry village, I think it would be insulting if I bought them a kilogram of caviar for $25,000 USD. They'd have been better off if they didn't try making it right by saying they'd donate it. Only makes them look more frivolous.


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