Palin in a $2500 jacket

Palin in a $2500 Valentino jacket

As The Politico has reported and The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein has elaborated (complete with a slideshow), the Republican National Committee has spent over $150,000 on clothing and makeup for Sarah Palin and her family since the beginning of September, including a single Needless Markup Nieman Marcus spree that ran to over $75,000.

Now, this may seem like a trivial issue to raise in the final weeks of a high-stakes political campaign, when genuinely important issues are on the table (and at least one side has been trying to talk about them)… but remember, these are the people who raised a hue and cry about John Edwards’ $400 haircut. This is the campaign that’s pulling out of swing states and crying about how it can’t afford enough advertising. And this comes when McCain and Palin are trying their damnedest to relate to “Joe the plumber” and other working-class, middle-American voters.

As HuffPo notes, according to BLS data, this is more than the average American household spends on clothing in 80 years. And those families in what Palin calls “real America” that McCain says are “hurting and angry” aren’t liable to be doing their shopping at Neiman’s or Saks, either.

The McCain campaign has tried to blow this off with a couple of brief statements and is desperately hoping it will go away. (It’s getting hard to keep track of just how often this campaign has shot itself in the foot in recent weeks.) That doesn’t seem to be happening, though, as the mainstream media is already picking up the story and running with it. (Underscoring yet again, if I may digress briefly, how the MSM is no longer driving the narrative in this election cycle but is instead following the lead of the blogosphere.) There is a lot of more important stuff going on in the news—but most of it has to do with the deteriorating economy and the suffering it entails, which doesn’t make this story look any better.

This isn’t the sort of news that just gives Dems cause to gloate and independents to question, either. It’s the sort of news that alienates loyal Republicans (especially contributors, many of whom are already disenchanted). As The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder observes,

Republicans, RNC donors and at least one RNC staff member have e-mailed me tonight to share their utter  (and not-for-attribution) disgust at the expenditures. …the heat for this story will come from Republicans who cannot understand how their party would do something this stupid.

Emerging commentary so far on political discussion boards seems to echo this sense of dismay among the GOP base. And defenders can’t even fall back on the claim that it’s just politics and “they all do it”:  per The Politico, “A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.”

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15 Responses to “Sarah Palin’s wardrobe scandal”
  1. Barb says:

    Well, well well. If the democrats aren’t showing their true hypocritical selves now. Anytime there is a mention of Nancy Pelosi’s wardrobe, everyone’s comments, “That’s sexist!”, “So what!”, “She has to look good”. But since Governor Palin is a Republican, well, different story. The press is free to criticize and berate. What’s really hypocritical about this whole thing is that Democrats keep trying to pass themselves off as the party of the people, they try to convince us that “They’re for the everyday people”. What a crock.

  2. ed says:

    without going into a long discourse about sarah and todds activities such as filing false reports about mike wooten 76 in fact,with 7 found true, slandering wooten by accusing him of workmans comp fraud,calling john glass of wasilla pd he didnt want wooten hired,firing a friend of sarahs because he was dating the x wife of one of todds friends.
    another curious incident comes to light when the community center was being built,todd and his contractor buddies built the home that they reside in today(just a coincidence im sure) leaving wasilla 14 million in debt , prodding walt monegan to fire wooten after he had already been punished with a 5 day suspension.
    its amazing that todd manages to keep up such a busy schedule. poking his nose into places it doesnt belong,keeping a job on the north slope.wanting to move monegan to another job in charge of alcohol licenses and bootlegging so she could move someone into the slot in order to fire wooten. wooten was transferred to anchorage where hes in charge of inmate movements.apparently wooten is doing well as i havent read anything else since the campagin was over
    my next question would be who in there right mind would want to wear todds used silk boxers. yuk !!
    i think palin should be billed for all the clothes since it seems shes kept some of them.
    palin was toild to get 6 outfits and a cap on spending of 20,000 dollars she could have got 10 outfits and still not gone over the cap, since the photos seem to suggest that shes kept some of the clothes she should be billed for them.
    sarah and todd act like they are untouchable. i cant think of single alternative where the clothes could be sold for a fraction of their original cost. who in the charity business would have a legitmate use for used silk boxers ?
    the only alternative is to bill palin for the clothes . then impeacher her and remove her from office

  3. […] SmartRemarks » Sarah Palin’s wardrobe scandal caption id=attachment_395 align=alignright width=300 caption=Palin in a $2500 Valentino jacket][/caption] As The Politico has reported and The. […]

  4. Kelly Karczmar says:

    I hear ya… though Sarah can’t hold a candle to Nancy Reagan, who I’m sure spent a comparable amount on single dresses. At least Sarah won’t be in the White House, replacing the china.

  5. […] Sarah Palin’s wardrobe scandal As The Politico has reported and The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein has elaborated (complete with a slideshow), the Republican National Committee has spent over $150000 on clothing and makeup for Sarah Palin and her family since the … […]

  6. phil from new york says:

    I suppose it says something about this clothes controversy and how it resonates with everybody that it has generated the largest number of comments in your blog’s short history.

  7. srethng says:

    “JAZ”, this is a question to you. Are you a McCain staff writer, as I have seen this same comment everywhere from you? Are you on the payroll for John McCain, getting paid to cut and paste this response as many places as you can?

  8. Hamish says:

    JAZ, Styrofoam blocks can actually be bought reasonably cheaply. How can you call someone “dressed up” in an outfit costing a few thousand dollars representing you. Is that how much your outfits are worth? Maybe you deserve someone like her who will take away your freedom to choose, tax you higher, while giving herself a tax break and lying her way to the top. I’m glad you like giving people money to buy things you could never afford, because you’d have to get used to it with Snow White and Grumpy in charge.

  9. View from Here says:

    First it was essentially revealed (albeit with a show of delicacy) that Mrs. Palin is a crook, and now we learn she’s a fake. I find it truly frightening that the United States executive branch could soon be presided over by an eccentric “maverick” who chose this individual as his running mate. If McCain wins, this nightmare will not only predictably lead to a constitutional crisis, but will ultimately do even more harm to the reputation of the evangelical Christian movement than the outrageous, religiously motivated scam put on as a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit last year at a “natural history” museum in San Diego. See

  10. michael says:

    So, JAZ, just why do working moms need to be “dressed up” to enhance their image? Isn’t being a working mom supposed to be Palin’s and the GOP’s advantage in the campaign? Aren’t working moms “real Americans”? You know, those of us who shop at Walmart for our Chinese-made basic necessities? If their image needs enhancing, could it be because being a working mom isn’t sufficient training to be vice-president?

    For what it’s worth, my son’s working mom—a teacher in a small midwestern town, working in a school that can’t afford to offer her health insurance—hasn’t spent as much money on makeup in her entire life as Palin has spent in just one month. Who’s going to level the playing field for her? Joe the Plumber and his unpaid tax bill? McCain’s Wall Street cronies? Halliburton?

    It’s nice to know that the GOP faithful prefer to pay for their candidates’ image and corporate welfare to paying for roads, public transit, quality education, or Social Security. It explains a great deal about the past eight years.

  11. Carl says:

    Actually, the Palin’s are worth about 2.2 million. The Governer/Beauty Pageant queen should buy her own clothes.

  12. Toppergem says:

    Leveled the playing field? Really, you have to be kidding! How much of a financial contribution did you make to the RNC. I am shocked that the money of hardworking individuals went to purchase clothing many will never be able to afford. And the part about giving the clothes to charity is a joke. The charity should be named the Palin and Family Fund.

  13. JAZ says:

    Verging on recession, I’m just wondering how much of the little people’s money was spent by the Obambi campaign on just one of his styrofoam columns in Denver never mind the twelve that adorned the stage.

    As a female RNC contributor, I’m proud that my donations went to “dress up” Governor Palin to represent working mom’s like me. I’ll take investing in that type of positive image building over styrofoam columns any day.

    The Palins are not rich DC inside Senators like the Obambis, Bidens and McCains. They don’t have Oprah and Hollywood supplying her wardrobe. I’m glad the RNC levelled the playing field for this terrific woman.

  14. Oliver Grill says:

    The Republican Party has become one of lies, distortions and miss information. Why or how, they can allow people in
    the crouds of people that come to hear those lies, yell out things like, “Kill him,” He’s a torrisit,” He’s a Muslum,” and other lies that might possibly place his person, and or his family in danger, shows how low the People running for the highest office in American, are willing to go. Ms Palin is right, lets leave it in Gods hands. If She and McCain lose, we
    will have our answer as to what GOD thinks of their run as our leaders…… I really feel sorry for the Bible thumping
    Religous right in this country, who think they should tell everyone how they should live their lives. God, Protect me from that person who hides behind his so called Religion! They are to supid to realize that the GOP are using them by fooling them into thinking that they both are for the same thing. Both, can always put that Religion where their hearts should be….

  15. Rita Ainley says:

    This should let people know, that if the Republican Party will spend that kind of money just to make their candidate look good then, what they will do with the taxpayer’s money once they are in office. Those of us that are labeled middle class, shop for our cloths at Wal-Mart, because that’s all we can afford, after we pay our bills and taxes and Insurances

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