Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Everyone's talking about the $150,000 the Republican National Committee has spent on Sarah Palin's clothes and hair in the weeks since she was put on the ticket, and even some Republicans are reportedly disgusted. Me, I'm struck by this:

An additional $4,902.45 was spent in early September at Atelier, a high-class shopping destination for men.

Have you seen the Atelier Web site? Check it out. I'll wait.

Or read some shopper reviews:

For me, this was just exciting to see the fashion forward vision of the aforementioned designers, because God knows I can't afford $1200 boots.

This is where the RNC shopped for Todd the snowmobiler? Or Track the GI? Or Levi the hockey-playing teen daddy?

What was purchased?

Did the RNC buy the Carol Christian Poell see-through T-shirt, the Ann Demeulemeester knitted hood/scarf, the Miharayasuhiro wool pant with wrap detail, or the Julius cowhide fingerless gloves -- all of which, I'm sure, would keep a Palin man toasty warm at a Toledo campaign appearance or on a moose hunt?

OK, sorry -- that's nasty. I'm picking the most outre items; there are some perfectly reasonable suits and so on for sale at Atelier. (Pretty much all in black, of course, but that's New York.) But I don't even understand the thinking. You're selling these people as jes' folks -- and this is where you send them?

I can only guess that no one in the McCain campaign or at the RNC can bear to even talk to whoever's doing this wardrobe stuff, out of fear of catching frou-frou cooties. Surely the campaign could have asked for tasteful but simple and down-to-earth.

Come on -- fake it better, folks. You're embarrassing us.


There's also this:

The entries also show a few purchases at Pacifier, a top notch baby store, and Steiniauf & Stroller Inc., suggesting $295 was spent to accommodate the littlest Palin to join the campaign trail.

Well, I have to cut the Republicans a break on that last one -- I assume what's meant is Steinlauf and Stoller, which sells button and zippers and other such items to the rag trade, as well as to consumers; that's a reasonable expense. (Although I can't help thinking about TBogg's remark after Palin dropped the puck at a Philadelphia Flyers game: "Why did Sarah Palin have four Oreos glued to the front of her coat?")

Pacifier, though, seems kinda high-end -- a lot of $900 strollers there. (By contrast, Walmart's most expensive stroller is under $400, and it's a triple.)

But that's nothing compared to Palin's decision to make Alaska taypayers shell out for her kids' travel:

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 love the way Palin effectively turned the kids into state workers:

In July, the governor charged the state $2,741.26 to take Bristol and Piper to Philadelphia for a meeting of the National Governors Association. The girls had their own room for five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for $215.46 a night, expense records show.

Expense forms describe the girls' official purpose as "NGA Governor's Youth Programs and family activities." But those programs were activities designed to keep children busy, a service provided by the NGA to accommodate governors and their families, NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear said....

In February 2007, the three girls flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. Palin charged the state for the $519.30 round-trip ticket for each girl, and noted on the expense form that the daughters accompanied her to "open the start of the Iron Dog race."

The children and their mother then watched as Todd Palin and other racers started the competition, which Todd won that year. Palin later had the relevant expense forms changed to describe the girls' business as "First Family official starter for the start of the Iron Dog race."

Reformer? Don't make me laugh. If you sent Sarah Palin back in time to any of the most corrupt, nepotistic, can-you-put-my-cousin-on-the-payroll? political machines in American history, she'd feel right at home.

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