Thursday, October 23, 2008

Palin is a well dressed hypocrite?

Hypocrite Sarah Palin apparently wears fancy clothes and believes tax payer money should fly her children around the world. There is a scary level of entitlement there that is reminiscent of Bush, and his 'mandate'. According to the NY Times, the RNC "spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue in September for Ms. Palin and her family." I [surprisingly] liked one of the comments by a host on The View: "I don’t think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks". The beauty of this clothing controversy is that Michelle Obama has been repeatedly slammed for being 'elitist', and in particular was heavily criticized for a 'designer' dress that she wore on the View. This dress ended up being a $148 off-the-rack number. You can check out a fluffy discussion of the issue below.

In related news about misuse of money, yesterday it was revealed that Palin used government money to have her daughters to travel with her, and later had official documents changed to reflect that they were on official business. When the organizers of these events were interviewed many of them stated that the Palin clan played no role in the events and often they were surprised they even showed up.
In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

She apparently also charged the state of Alaska to stay in her own home, according to the WaPo:
She wrote some form of "Lodging -- own residence" or "Lodging -- Wasilla residence" more than 30 times at the same time she took a per diem, according to the reports. In two dozen undated amendments to the reports, the governor deleted the reference to staying in her home but still charged the per diem.
Gov. Sarah Palin is clearly saying one thing and doing another. I admit that image is important, but really, $150,000 on clothes seems excessive. Just as important as showing that your words are more than just rhetoric?

This coming from the Govenor who championed selling the state plane on eBay, albeit at a huge loss. She and her daughter stayed in a $700 per night hotel for a week, when the conference was only one day. I think that this is excessive. She needs to pay for the extra dates herself. The thing that really makes me mad though is that Michelle Obama is the one who is painted as being an elitist.


Maggie said...

While I am nowhere near a fan of Palin, I do give her the benefit of a doubt on the clothing issue. It's very possible she didn't know how much they were spending or where the clothes came from. And I doubt she's in a position of real control based on how the campaign's been working.

But I do have plenty of problems with the way she used money in Alaska, including the examples you've cited. It's awful fishy for a supposed ethics reformer.

Maggie said...

One more thing. I noticed at the end of the article that the campaign also for some reason had to be an outfit for Palin's infant. I can at least kind of understand the decision to get Palin an appropriate wardrobe (though I think they could have done so for nowhere near that much money and don't know why the RNC felt the need to foot the bill) but an outfit for her kid? Seriously? She's had 5 kids and doesn't have baby clothes? Did Todd forget to pack an extra romper?

Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe we can give Palin the benefit of the doubt that she didn't know what the RNC was spending.

But seriously. It makes me sick that the RNC spent.that.much. That's over 3 times my annual salary!

Okay, I guess I could be glad that they're using this money to buy her clothes rather than, I don't know, spending it on decent ads that could win them the election. But really. A $7 billion bailout for the economy and they're spending $150K on clothes? Really?

Habladora said...

Alright, since this is mainly a feminist blog (and since I'm one of the contributors), I know you all won't fault me for asking - but doesn't it feel like going after the wardrobe costs for Palin and the wives is a gendered attack? I'm sure the male candidates are wearing some pretty expensive suits. I guess it is perhaps just trivial, like the Edwards haircut thing - but I felt like even that was used to make him seem 'sissy.'

Like Maggie, I'm far more interested in how she spent money as a governor and the decisions she's made with taxpayer money. I'm sure the wardrobe expenses are paid by the campaign.

frau sally benz said...

Habladora, I brought that same thing up at a couple of blogs yesterday. There has been no focus on the men's wardrobes, yet we know that Michelle Obama likes inexpensive clothing and Cindy McCain likes ridiculously expensive clothing. Just saying!

Anonymous said...

There are lots of perspectives here. The author of Feminist Finance did a post that argued we shouldn't criticize Palin for her wardrobe costs because she has to play by certain gender rules in order to be taken seriously. What I took from it is that, rather than criticizing Palin, we should be criticizing the institutions that place such restrictions on women in the first place. In my comments you'll see that I don't necessarily agree with a lot of the post, but Habladora's comment reminds me that there's a larger system here (of fashion rules) that we should be aware of.

I really would like to see the breakdown of what the campaign spends on each candidate. I think that might make for some productive discussion, especially in terms of sexist requirements for male and female "professional" dress. I seriously doubt either the RNC or the DNC bought McCain and Obama $150,000 worth of suits.

But I think what really upsets me is that by dressing Palin in couture (whether that was by her own choosing or not), there's a subliminal reinforcement of gender norms. And that, I think, is worth criticizing. Maybe we shouldn't be focusing so pointedly on the dollar amount. So really, we should be criticizing Palin and/or the RNC for reinforcing these norms about what a professional woman "should" wear and how she "should" look and how much money she "should" spend to be taken seriously.

As for the misappropriation of government funds for personal travel: I've been hearing about that for awhile now, and I can't think of anything new to say about it anymore. Not that I'm ignoring it per se, but I've commented on it elsewhere already. I sort of feel like I'm talked-out on that issue. But that's just me. I highly doubt that I've heard every perspective on the issue, I just am sort of beginning to feel that I'd be repeating myself in commenting on every blog entry about it, you know?

Anonymous said...

There has been no focus on the men's wardrobes, yet we know that Michelle Obama likes inexpensive clothing and Cindy McCain likes ridiculously expensive clothing. Just saying!

I don't know how I avoid it, but somehow I actually have managed to avoid almost all talk of the Michelle Obama/Cindy McCain wardrobe choices. Perhaps that has something to do with my news sources being confined to feminist blogs, Morning Edition, Rachel Maddow, and Daily Show/Colbert. But honestly, this blog was the first time I heard about that $148 Michelle Obama dress.

Not criticizing this blog, as I love it. I'm mostly laughing at myself. Sometimes, I can't tell if I'm being an irresponsible citizen for having such limited (and in two cases, fake) sources of news, or if I'm saving myself a lot of grief in the long run.

Maggie said...

On the men vs. women issue, I think it's a big barrel of worms. Any male politician is going to have a wardrobe full of suits and ties to get him through. But I'd argue that female politicians would be similarly outfitted. I don't really understand why Palin's current wardrobe didn't fit the bill.

Still, you have to acknowledge, especially with what we've seen in the last few years with Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, that a woman's fashion sense is always going to be appraised. Lord knows, I don't think I own a single outfit I'd be comfortable wearing in front of a national audience.

One more issue: women pay more attention to clothes and fashion as a whole. I don't care much about my own clothes, but I still look at red carpet slideshows. A woman in a position of national prominence will often project some kind of fashion sense and you can't deny that most women will respond to that in some respect. (I have to admit, I really like some of Palin's outfits. Those red shoes with the black suit, in particular.)

It's a rough situation, but I think Michelle Obama has handled it like a champ. Great clothes, always looks great, but she buys her own stuff on her own dime.