Look sharp.

When I read the story about the RNC’s $150,000 clothes shopping spree for Sarah Palin, my heart sank. It was the usage of “appears to spend” that did it, which was in early versions of the story; I thought it was going to be like that “Cindy McCain wears a $380,000 outfit” story, which was, sorry, pure bullshit. Ninety percent of the figure was based on some jeweler’s estimate of what her earrings might cost, although the jeweler never got to check them out with the loupe. I thought the next line would be, “And that yellow Oscar de la Renta dress was spun from pure gold, it looks like. Let me redo the math.”

But this is a little better-sourced. In August, no expenses stated; in September, $49,425.74, plus $4,716.49 on hair and makeup, and isn’t it ironic that we all know there’s no way that much could have been spent on Grandpa Simpson, and Sarah Palin is actually a very pretty woman. Beautiful, even. And so you get the basic irony at the heart of femininity — the better you look, the more you have to spend to make people think so.

Let’s just talk makeup now. Some years ago, before Photoshop, some magazine — Harper’s, I think — ran a copy of the itemized bill submitted by the photo retoucher who worked on a famous magazine cover featuring Michelle Pfeiffer. It went on and on, dozens of places where the airbrush had been used to cover that wrinkle or smooth over that skin booboo. The joke of the list was that the picture had run under a cover line that read, “Michelle Pfeiffer is perfect exactly the way she is,” or something similar. There was another list going around at the time, a makeup artist’s detailed plan for giving Brooke Shields the no-makeup look on another magazine cover. It required 57 separate products costing about $450.

A person who can feel no empathy with another can’t be fully human, so here’s my soft spot regarding Palin: I know, looking at her, that when you’re a woman in the public eye, you just can’t win. To be sure, she looks sensational on the campaign. But if she didn’t, if she showed up for speeches in something she found at the Wasilla T.J. Maxx, there’d be another kind of hell to pay. You might as well look your best while you’re taking shit for stuff you have no control over.

And yes, maybe it’s true that this was all Palin’s doing, that the RNC staffers tried to get her to shop at Dress Barn and she waved her imperious hand in the air and said, “Designer or else, little missy, or you’re going back to D.C. on the next plane. You can take your chances with the Bushes and see how it goes.” But I doubt it. A job needed to get done fast; note how many charges are to department stores in the Twin Cities. The jaw does drop at the $150,000 figure, but my friends? That’s what happens when you pay full retail. They probably got nicked for a “personal shopping” charge, too.

Don’t Republicans know what Hollywood does? You pay a call on the designer and make an arrangement. You wear their clothing somewhere it’s guaranteed to get photographed, and the bill disappears. Well, wait a minute: Nancy Reagan did this and got called on it, so maybe not. Still. Someone at Neiman Marcus saw these folks coming and rubbed their lucky Rolex.

Here’s the ridiculous part, however: Instead of, y’know, owning it, the McCain camp made it worse:

“With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses,” said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. “It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.”

I want to know when that church rummage sale is going to be. (Even though Sarah wears a much smaller size.)

But as I said before: You just can’t win. We’ve become a nation of Robin Givhans, hunting the next Pulitzer in a piece about the semiotics of asymmetrical buttons. Much of her stuff rings a little too snarky for me — hasn’t she ever looked into her closet on a given morning and despaired? doesn’t she ever have PMS Wardrobe Madness? — I’m very glad she does what she does, because occasionally it serves as the national response to such sartorial oddities as the John Roberts family press conference. (I watched that one thinking, “Where do you even buy seersucker short-pants suits and saddle shoes for little boys these days? Does Nordstrom’s have a special department behind a secret door?”)

Frankly, Palin has been making such a mess of things on the trail, it’s probably just as well that she looks good doing it. If her hair was a mess at the same time, it would be too easy for the RNC to say, later, “Oh, that crazy lady…”

Sorry for the late start today, folks — another sleep deficit payback. Back to speed and ready to rock. So, rock on.

Posted at 12:29 pm in Current events, Popculch |

67 responses to “Look sharp.”

  1. John D. said on October 22, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Nancy. You’re going soft. Have some coffee. No one outside of Hollywood or the investmemt banking wives clubs spends $150,000 on new outfits. Cetainly appears a little hypocritical from a “hockey mom” touting the real Americans living in smalll towns and shopping at WalMart.

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  2. nancy said on October 22, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    But here’s the thing: I don’t think she spent the money. I don’t think she even tried on the clothes. I seriously doubt she saw price tags. I think it was “give me your sizes,” a quick consult with a Republican Tim Gunn for a consensus on style and color, and then it was just point, point, point, that one, that one, not that one. She probably has an arrangement that lets her return anything that isn’t right for her. Even at designer prices, it takes time to spend $150K on a bunch of career separates. And time isn’t something she has a lot of.

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  3. moe99 said on October 22, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    You are way too charitable given how repubs jumped all over dem’s haircuts (edwards and clinton)

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  4. Jolene said on October 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I was surprised that the McCains didn’t just pick up the tab. I think it’s their their tastes and habits that are reflected in the decision to shop at Neiman’s and Saks rather than, say, Nordstrom.

    I actually felt sorry for her when I heard that they were going to give the clothes to charity. Politically, I have no sympathy for her, but, as a person, she’s taken a lot of hard hits. Seems like she should at least get some pretty clothes to .take home.

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  5. Laura said on October 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I feel zero outrage about SP’s wardrobe. Mostly, I think it kind of sucks that she has to give it back. What is she going to wear when she gets a show on Fox News?

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  6. beb said on October 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    What moe99 said. After the whacks John Edwards got for brushing his hair, a $150,000 clothing bill is outrageous. I’m sure she could have bee out-fited just as well at mid-line stores for a tenth of this.

    Of course, the qurestion to be asked is: who gave this story to the Politico? Someone had an ax to grind because I don’t think most reporters look to clothing expanses in a campaign report. Someone has it in for Sarah Palin.

    Besides me….

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  7. Catherine said on October 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Oh goody, are we going to talk about clothes today?

    I think this is my new fashion mantra: “You might as well look your best while you’re taking shit for stuff you have no control over.”

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  8. Jeff Borden said on October 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    All of Nancy’s points are well-taken and, of course, they underscore the sexism, latent or rampant, that women in the public eye face. Much was made of Hillary Clinton’s downmarket pant suits, etc. Not so much coverage of Joe Biden’s hairplugs and whitened teeth.

    The issue here is the tone deafness.

    McCain and the GOP have been trying to turn Barack Obama into an elitist fop for months. This is not an easy thing for a guy like McCain, since he is one of the wealthiest senators in D.C. We all know he and his wife own eight homes and 13 cars. And, of course, this narrative completely ignores the difficult times Obama faced growing up with a single mother, who sometimes needed food stamps to get by, and the fact that he was raised by grandparents of modest means and pretty much worked himself up to the position he now occupies.

    But Palin has been able to play this class card as an authentic middle-class, working mom. She could rail about her affinity with hockey moms and Joe Sixpacks ad infinitum and snark endlessly about that snooty Harvard graduate who dares to pronounce Pakistan correctly.

    Now, that narrative is unraveling. Fast. The story about her charging Alaska for travel for her kids to watch daddy in a snowmobile race or attend a conference while staying in five-star hotels is something most of us can’t identify with. The clothing expenditures –and I agree with Nancy that Palin probably was not involved in these shopping sprees– knock another big hole in this “I’m just like you” subterfuge.

    People who have watched 30% of their life savings evaporate. . .who nervously confront potential job losses. . .who’ve seen grocery bills, energy bills, health care bills, etc. spiral every upward. . .can’t help but feel a little resentment over a political campaign that drops that kind of cash in the fanciest stores.

    As someone who shudders to think of another shallow, incurious, no-nothing ideologue rising on the American political stage, I want Palin to get beaten badly. But we should be casting our votes based on the lousy judgement of McCain in selecting her and, quite frankly, on her for accepting “without blinking.”

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  9. LAMary said on October 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Career separates? Are you serious? Someone, somewhere noted that her jacket at the RNC convention speech was Valentino and went for about four grand. Those cute little jackets are all in the 600-1100 range, I’ll bet. Little black pencil skirts are 500 bucks at that level of store. There is also a lot of tailoring going on there and for women that is very expensive. You don’t pull stuff off the rack and have it fit your butt the way her skirts do. Lots of fitting there. I think they got an after hours visit to Saks or Neimans or whatever it was in Minneapolis, had a stylist hand her stuff to try on, and had a seamstress there on the spot. You pay extra for speedy service as well as for the personal service. The stylist’s fee goes in there too. I used to have a neighbor who was a stylist for a few c-list types, and she made a lot of money.
    Sarah’s walking around in 3 or 4K worth of clothes whenever you see her, trust. Even the nice white blouse. I’m betting it’s over 200 bucks worth of nice cotton.
    And in case anyone thinks this goes against her principles, those cute eyeglasses she has? She had those already and those frames go for about 700 dollars. She likes the nice stuff.

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  10. Scout said on October 22, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Don’t worry about McCain, they’re spending big bucks on him too:

    “Remember last month when Republican presidential nominee John McCain got made up by the American Idol make-up artist?

    Well, it wasn’t a one-shot deal. The make-up artist to the wannabe-stars is getting paid beaucoup bucks to make McCain, 72, more telegenic.

    Tifanie White, who reportedly has done makeup for the shows “So You Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol,” was paid a total of $8,672.55 in September by the McCain-Palin campaign, according to the campaign’s latest monthly financial report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission. She was paid $5,583.43 the previous month, records show.”


    I’m definitely in the wrong business. Ms White made as much as I lost in my 401(k) last month.

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  11. LAMary said on October 22, 2008 at 1:20 pm


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  12. LAMary said on October 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    I slip into catty retail bitch mode very easily, so forgive me, but Ms White should tone down the bronzer lines under the cheeks. Without good lighting they look like shit.

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  13. nancy said on October 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Ditto on the bronzer! I was thinking that last night. With such good bone structure, she should always go for less-is-more (while allowing for the mercilessness of HDTV).

    Something I didn’t get to, however: What about the money spent on clothes for Palin’s family? There was a four-figure charge to a menswear shop (Levi’s suit, I’m guessing), and to a baby boutique. But that made me think how the Palin kids dress, and I have to say: I’ve never seen so much black on children outside of a funeral parlor. Bristol was probably going dark to cover up her belly, but even li’l Willow wears black, too.

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  14. Gasman said on October 22, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Jeff B,
    Amen! The McCain/Palin smear campaign is still trying to paint Obama as being elitist. Obama was finally able to pay off his law school loans after his first book sold well. Elitists don’t get college loans. As for Sarah the Reformer not being held responsible for her stinkingly decadent wardrobe, I say “bullshit.” Can you imagine the outcry from the right wing bloviators if it had been Michelle Obama that had run up such a bill?

    This is just more evidence of Palin’s imperious arrogance concerning her regal treatment. From the CNN story regarding her children’s “official” duties for the State of Alaska:

    “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.”

    Sarah Palin effectively paid $3K for her kids to attend day care in Philadelphia. THAT was their “official” duty! Boy, that Anchorage/Philly commute sure is a bitch. After concerns were raised about the state paying for her kids travel expenses, she “amended” official financial statements to reflect these preposterous “official” duties. Could these amendments be illegal, along with the bogus claims? If her children were on official business, would that violate federal child labor laws?

    Palin deserves everything that is coming her way, and then some. She has been portrayed as the über-moralist reformer, the pious Christian reformer, the scion of virtue and goodness that should be grafted onto the Washington political scene to bring about ethical reform. She is an ignoramus that believes her own hype. I will thoroughly enjoy watching her downfall.

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  15. brian stouder said on October 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    the word hereabouts is that Sarah Palin is coming to Fort Wayne on Saturday. If it’s an outdoor event, she might wear that sexy red leather thing that she seems to favor…

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  16. MichaelG said on October 22, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I dunno. I can’t get too worked up about La Palin’s make over just as I couldn’t get excited about John Edwards’ haircut. What would people be saying if she showed up on the national stage in the same rags she schleps around Wasilla in? This is a no win situation for her. The deal with Clinton’s haircut was that he held up traffic while he was getting barbered. That’s different.

    What I can get bothered by is Palin fiddling her expense account. That’s just a no-no. I understand her wanting to have her kids around but she needs to pay for that herself. Nobody made her run for public office or get pregnant once there. The worst is the hypocrisy.

    Mary, that Bobby Flay show is an example of precisely what I was talking about. Why does cooking always have to be competitive or against a clock or have some other hook? TFN has been losing viewers in droves (including me) and still can’t figure it out. I like Bobby Flay well enough in his straight cooking shows. He and Mario and especially Emeril put TFN on the map.

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  17. Joe K said on October 22, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Just remember, it wasn’t your money it was the rnc’s money, and they can spend it any way they want. In Clinton’s case he had half the airspace in California closed down for a haircut, That cost the American people money. Just saying.
    Now I am going to do what every American should do when things are going the way they are with the elections and economy. I GOING TO DISNEY WORLD. Fight it out amongst yourself’s I’ll tell Goofy hello for everyone.
    Back Monday.
    Pilot Joe

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  18. Gasman said on October 22, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    There is an incredibly vast gulf of spending choices between $150,000 and showing “up on the national stage in the same rags she schleps around Wasilla in.” That is precisely the point. Michele Obama manages to look routinely stunning and I’m willing to bet hasn’t spent anywhere near that amount. Palin is arrogant to point of imperiousness. She apparently feels entitled to such treatment as she has willingly adopted such ostentation.

    Today’s political quote comes from Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, and it would behoove the Republicans to commit it to memory:

    “Believing ourselves to be possessors of absolute truth degrades us: we regard every person whose way of thinking is different from ours as a monster and a threat and by so doing turn our own selves into monsters and threats to our fellows.”

    True dat, Octavio, true dat.

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  19. Kirk said on October 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I used to like Flay and the Southern guy, whose name I can’t remember, on ‘Grillin’ and Chillin’.’ But I did know a woman who worked in the kitchen at his Mesa Grill in New York who said that he liked to put his hands on the female help.

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  20. LA Mary said on October 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Octavio Paz has spoken the truth to me several times, Gasman.
    You know SP could have bought career separates from Banana Republic or something and looked just faboo if appearances were the only consideration. The designer stuff is just over the top.
    Joe, I don’t think any of us care what sort of clothes the RNC buys or how much they spend. We care that Ms Joe Sixpack (or Jane Winebox as Stephen Colbert says) is really more like a Jereboam of Cristal than a six pack of Oly. She isn’t dressing the part of the woman she says she is by a long stretch. Stop droppin the g’s Sarah. It clashes with the Louboutins.

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  21. John said on October 22, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    “She did a great job in those interviews. If you want to go with the gotcha questions that’s fine, that’s fine, I understand that. I get them all the time,” the Arizona senator said. “It’s easy to make fun of people and ask them gotcha questions. That’s fine. I understand how the game is played. But don’t think the American people buy that baloney.”

    He has totally lost it.

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  22. Rana said on October 22, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    And in case anyone thinks this goes against her principles, those cute eyeglasses she has? She had those already and those frames go for about 700 dollars. She likes the nice stuff.

    She also has more than one pair of designer glasses – which I find somewhat astonishing, both as an eyeglasses wearer (it can increase eyestrain, if you have a strong prescription, to switch between pairs) and as someone who thought that the $395 I paid for my current pair about three years ago was outrageous. I have that pair, and a pair of $250 prescription sunglasses that I’ve been wearing for the last eight years. I tend to feel that people who have more pairs than they need are vain – and have a lot of loose change lying around.

    So, for me, the idea that she’s “just folks” is laughable.

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  23. joodyb said on October 22, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Everyone knew when Sarah showed up in Dayton that fateful day she didn’t chose her ensemble. I bet if you looked back through the vids you’d see her in that jacket more than once before the RNC. there wasn’t time to shop. no one thought of it until the week before the convention. once she hit that stage i’m willing to bet a contribution to SP’s post-election wardrobe fund that cindy’s stylists had been busy at their cinderella tasks, because how could she stand on stage beside that ODL slicker cindy had on (actually reported at $3000, nothing for off-the-rack designer at Neiman’s). i only WISH i had the cash value for the Escada jackets ALONE that poured into the Xcel that night. there was some serious money here in town that week.
    i know i keep bringing up this name, but Rachel Zoe easily spent $50K on vintage at NY Fashion Week this year, from the looks of it. it takes no time at all to ring it up, even for a savvy shopper!
    at any rate, it’s what that Billy Crystal xter on SNL used to say: Remember, it’s better to LOOK good than to FEEL good.

    Kirk, i say yikes, but i believe it. ever watch him with the womens on Throwdown? creepEEE.

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  24. joodyb said on October 22, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    oh, jeff b., i just remembered: in the 2nd debate, was it? mccain tried to paint his childhood as growing up with a single mom because his dad was in the military! even if he was at sea, these two situations don’t seem quite equivalent.

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  25. MichaelG said on October 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    I agree with everything you say, Gasman, but I can’t imagine getting upset because the RNC bought some clothes for Palin. The amount spent may be arguable but then it’s RNC money and I didn’t contribute to them. They’ve spent money on worse. As I said, I can’t get worked up about it. There’s plenty to detest about the woman and about the RNC. This is small potatoes. I don’t know if Sen. and Ms. Obama had any assistance from campaign funds in spiffing up their wardrobes. I hope so. I believe it’s a legitimate campaign expense.

    I never heard the roving hands stuff about Bobby Flay but if true it’s despicable and he should be brought to task for it.

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  26. brian stouder said on October 22, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    MichaelG, you’re just all-too-reasonable, here.

    Personally, after we endure another bakers-dozen days of mindless blather from McCain and his fashionable ingenue from Juneau, and their legions of right-wing media onanist organ-players, I think I’ll have to implement Attack Plan R

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  27. joodyb said on October 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    eeeee! news flash:
    very exciting! larson? also good friend of Norm Coleman’s.

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  28. ak said on October 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    In Clinton’s case he had half the airspace in California closed down for a haircut, That cost the American people money. Just saying.

    I believe that’s one of those things that “everybody knows,” that just isn’t so.

    A reporter for Newsday used the Freedom of Information Act to get the FAA records for that day. He found that, contrary to stories of circling planes, jammed-up runways, and inconvenienced passengers, only one (unscheduled) air taxi reported an actual (two-minute) delay.

    That’s all.

    Of such stuff are our modern political scandals made.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on October 22, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Well, my glasses cost $500…oh wait, that was the lenses for my bad eyes. Seriously, I didn’t even know you could spend that much on individual items of clothing. How does that fit in with her much-vaunted Christianity? What happened to caring for the poor? This from the McCain campaign: In 2006 the Palins gave $4880, or 3.3% of their adjusted gross income. (Note: most who tithe give on their unadjusted gross.) In 2007, it was $3325 or 1.5%. It’s pathetic. Full link here:http://www.johnmccain.com/palinfinancial/

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  30. Gasman said on October 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Joe K.,
    As always, a well reasoned, thoughtful, perspicacious retort in which you incorrectly shift the blame to Bill Clinton. How unlike you to resort to such tactics.

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  31. brian stouder said on October 22, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    An interesting deconstruction of the happy-happy AP story about McCain narrowing the national gap to 1 point


    and – speaking of Senator McCain, Pammy just got another phone call from him!

    Her and I are already Very Very Very (Very) Likely Voters (do they poll for VVVVL voters?), and these good ol’ robo-calls are essentially just a constant reminder of what we DON’T like…sorta like a GOP GOTV effort, that benefits Senator Obama!

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  32. Bruce Fields said on October 22, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    For a campaign with a budget of, what, a few hundred million dollars?, they’d be nuts to waste time worrying about $150,000 on their star fund-raiser’s wardrobe.

    Is it really possible the other candidates aren’t spending as much on their appearances? Maybe not literally on the physical clothes they’re wearing, but more generally on calculating the way they’re going to look on TV….

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  33. Jolene said on October 22, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Apparently, Bruce, the people on the other side are paying for their own clothes. Biden is known to be a clothes horse; his shirts have French cuffs. Obama describes himself as someone who forgets to go shoppiing, even when any reasonable person would think he needs new clothes. Of course, he has cleaned up his act somewhat, but he still seems to be wearing Nordstrom rather than Barney’s. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are well-dressed, but I don’t think they are spending that kind of money.

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  34. moe99 said on October 22, 2008 at 4:54 pm


    this was remaindered at the last thread, but I love it, so I’m putting it back up: Bassets for Obama in Seattle. Hooray!

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  35. nancy said on October 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Mrs. O isn’t wearing any old off-the-rack shmattas, either. We can argue over how much she spends, but this, again, is why I tend to cut SP a little slack — looking sharp is part of the job. Dressing for TV cameras is an art and a science (ask any anchorwoman), and it’s not always obvious what works and what doesn’t. Men have the luxury of a uniform, but women don’t. Hillary tried to make the black pantsuit her uniform, and took endless grief about it, even though she looked perfectly fine in them. Sitting for stylists, makeup artists and other visual-effects personnel is probably a fairly enervating part of the job, but there’s no question women have a much harder, and more delicate, row to hoe.

    I read that Andre Leon Talley is dying to get his mitts on Michelle O., and wants to be her White House stylist. Considering what he did to poor Jennifer Hudson at the Oscars, I hope she runs in the other direction. I’m sure she’s getting professional advice, but at the moment she manages to look like a sharp dresser who can pull any old thing out of her closet and look good in it with minimal jewelry. She shouldn’t mess with success.

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  36. Gasman said on October 22, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I’d be willing to cut Palin some slack on this issue if she hadn’t been so ridiculously billed as a mavericky reformer intent on bringing common sense and ethics to Washington. When every subsequent revelation about her blatantly contradicts that image, AND she’s recently acquired a wardrobe that costs about what some American’s foreclosed homes are now worth, she does not deserve any slack on this issue. I hope she gets to keep some of the clothes. She’ll need them for the criminal proceedings that I see in her future.

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  37. LA Mary said on October 22, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Not all of Michelle Obama’s stuff is the 900 dollar level of that purple dress either. She wears some off the rack dresses in the under 200 dollar range in public as well.
    Mostly, though, she does not portray her self in some aw shucks I’m a mavericky moose shooter mode. She makes a good salary (or made a good salary) as an attorney. Both the Obamas speak of humbler beginnings but they don’t downplay their current situation.

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  38. LA Mary said on October 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm


    Michelle Obama’s 148 dollar dress.

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  39. Dexter said on October 22, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    “Something I didn’t get to, however: What about the money spent on clothes for Palin’s family? There was a four-figure charge to a menswear shop (Levi’s suit, I’m guessing), and to a baby boutique.”

    They just don’t care; they just think it’s fine to spend that cash on new clothes for the family.
    They just do not care if we don’t like it, why should they? They squander billions of dollars a week on two wars that are going nowhere. They have let Wall Street perform their money-grab unchecked, deregulated, and McCain approved under the mantle of “less government”. Surely they knew this would surface and they would take hits for it…this too they disregard with elitist snobbery. They knew this would kill any lingering identity US residents might have with Palin as “Hockey mom of America”. By the way…down here in the Lower Forty-Eight it’s soccer moms, Sarah. Most small towns such as the ones you claim to be the heart and soul of America can’t possibly afford any hockey rinks with compressors and such…our local skating rink only works when it’s flooded with a tanker truck and it gets down below 20F. However, the park has a dozen soccer fields , one of them has lots of seating and concessions and rest rooms,and it’s a big deal.

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  40. joodyb said on October 22, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    if SP really were the hockey mom she claims to be, she’d know how to find a bargain (Wasilla is boxstore heaven, from what i hear). she had an interest in looking professional long before she hit the national stage. i don’t give a ratsass who spent what to get her to look like that; it’s the one thing she has going for her. i’d feel bad for her if they made her give the clothes away.
    it’s the machine part of the story that fascinates me.
    ps – donna ricco has saved me many last-minute heartaches.

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  41. Jeff Borden said on October 22, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Again, I want to bring up the tone deafness of this issue of clothing the Palin family at those prices. When the Reagans entered the White House and the nation plunged into a recession –nothing the likes of where we are now– Nancy Reagan went on an enormous spending spree to replace things at the White House. In particular, I recall her buying new china at the rate of $400 per place setting.

    Now, obviously, since the White House entertains the most powerful and influential people in the world, they shouldn’t be eating off of Melmac dishes. But the TIMING was what was appallling. Americans were losing their jobs, the economy was rocky, times were tough but there was our First Lady ponying up $400 per place setting for new china. It was a real Marie Antoinette kind of moment.

    This is the issue for the Palin purchases. When people are choosing between buying groceries or paying the electric bill, we’re not in the best of moods to hear about a family that already makes three or four times the average household income annually getting a $150,000 clothing allowance.

    And, as noted earlier, not a whole helluva lot of hockey moms shop Needless Markup and the other tony retailers. It clashes with the narrative they’ve created for this lightweight.

    One last note that is not clothing related. To truly grasp the empty head that sits atop all those gorgeous clothes, check out the interview where she is asked about the role of the vice president. She is 100% incorrect –completely, totally utterly wrong– in her answer.

    Chris Matthews just filleted a McCain flack in an eight-minute segment over Palin’s ignorance of the basics of the Constitution she would be sworn to uphold. She’s Dick Cheney without the intellect.

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  42. Jolene said on October 22, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    The extent of Palin’s emptyheadedness is becoming apparent to more and more of the American people, Jeff. In an NBC/WSJ poll released today, she was viewed as unqualified to be Veep by 55% of the respondents, and her presence on the ticket was seen as more of a deterrent to the idea of voting for McCain than the possibility that he would continue the policies of GWB.

    A while back. Nancy said that she thought she’d be feeling sorry for McCain before this was over. I agreed with the sentiment when she said it, and that feeling is now beginning to set in w/ regard to Palin. It must feel awful to be viewed as unqualified for a position that you desperately want and are working day and night to get—and to have your humiliation occur in public for all the world to see!

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  43. moe99 said on October 22, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    It’s gonna take a lot more before I feel sorry for Sarah Palin. This was a voluntary acceptance of the nomination. She said ‘yes.’ She gets to take the consequences as a result without anyone else to blame.

    Let’s talk more about this Nov. 5. You did see the press piece that police across the country are gearing up to stop post-election violence?

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  44. Gasman said on October 22, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    I feel no pity for Sarah the Governor. She apparently has thought of herself as presidential material for sometime, but has she prepared herself for that role? Obviously not. She hasn’t been studying foreign policy, voraciously reading about economics, or intellectually enriching herself in any apparent way. She has occupied her time as Governor rewarding unqualified lackey friends, crushing past rivals those deemed “haters”, and living an obscenely decadent lifestyle by billing Alaskan taxpayers for outrageous sums inappropriately.

    Screw her and the moose she rode in on. Her hubris and arrogance would not allow her to view herself as anything but “ready and willing” to be president. A more thoughtful person might have spent that same time preparing herself.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 22, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Chris Matthews just embarrassed himself ranting while never letting either guest finish a sentence, but never mind that. Y’all tend a bit more Democrat than Libertarian, so here’s a piece that will be appreciated from a fairly conservative libertarian at reason.com, Radley Balko — http://www.reason.com/news/show/129599.html

    While I’m not thrilled at the prospect of an Obama administration (especially with a friendly Congress), the Republicans still need to get their clocks cleaned in two weeks, for a couple of reasons.

    First, they had their shot at holding power, and they failed. They’ve failed in staying true to their principles of limited government and free markets. They’ve failed in preventing elected leaders of their party from becoming corrupted by the trappings of power, and they’ve failed to hold those leaders accountable after the fact. Congressional Republicans failed to rein in the Bush administration’s naked bid to vastly expand the power of the presidency (a failure they’re going to come to regret should Obama take office in January). They failed to apply due scrutiny and skepticism to the administration’s claims before undertaking Congress’ most solemn task–sending the nation to war. I could go on.

    As for the Bush administration, the only consistent principle we’ve seen from the White House over the last eight years is that of elevating the American president (and, I guess, the vice president) to that of an elected dictator. That isn’t hyperbole. This administration believes that on any issue that can remotely be tied to foreign policy or national security (and on quite a few other issues as well), the president has boundless, limitless, unchecked power to do anything he wants. They believe that on these matters, neither Congress nor the courts can restrain him.

    That’s the second reason the GOP needs to lose. American voters need to send a clear, convincing repudiation of these dangerous ideas.

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  46. joodyb said on October 22, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    facts is facts, jtmmo, and that was an eloquent statement of them.

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  47. Jeff Borden said on October 22, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    One last word about Sarah Palin before I head off for dinner.

    The sensible, correct answer to McCain’s call should have been, “I’m deeply flattered and will do all I can do to help you get elected, but I have much to learn and am not ready to be vice-president.”

    Instead, she let hubris overcome common sense. So, while I feel a certain sympathy watching her fall apart on national television, it’s mitigated by the fact that this thoroughly ordinary person should have recognized her shortcomings and declined.

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  48. Jim in Fla said on October 22, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Amen, Jeff (tmmo)

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  49. moe99 said on October 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I hope that the election is perceived to be free and fair:


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  50. Catherine said on October 22, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Bottom line to me on the clothing spending: It demonstrates the McCain campaign’s poor judgement and essential tone-deafness.

    But I still think that is a bitchen red leather jacket.

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  51. Deborah said on October 22, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    OK, I’m going to admit something I’m not proud of, but earlier this year I bought a $2,000 Jil Sander suit at Barney’s. I buy clothes on ebay too. I have very few items of clothing because I believe in buying really well made classic things that last forever. When I did the math, I’m math impaired so maybe I’m wrong about this, but S.P. got the equivalent of 75 Jil Sander suits! Since September! That’s excessive. Yes, I know she got shoes and accessories, not just suits,but come on. I agree with Gasman, I know she wants to look her best in the public eye, but she is such a sanctimonious, holier than thou type, this behavior just doesn’t jibe with that image. I’m not cutting her any slack.

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  52. Jolene said on October 22, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Ruth Marcus, of the Post, also did some math, as well as a little research on the N-M web site, and she couldn’t quite figure out how to spend that much money either.

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  53. alex said on October 22, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I called that bitch on her overbronzed cheek hollows way before any of you ladies did, some weeks ago in an exchange with Jeff TMMO, who’d probably love to suck it off her face while I’d simply take some denatured alcohol to it on a wad of Bounty towels.

    That should earn me the home ec queen of the year award for all time. My thanks to Mr. Blackwell, who didn’t feel impassioned enough about it to stir from his deathbed and be the first to make a catty pronouncement about it, thus allowing me the honor.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 22, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    I want to lick Vanna White’s makeup off her face? Somehow i’ve lost the thread here. (Backstage practice was vaseline and theatre paper aka tp to wipe off makeup; dunno about denatured alcohol.)

    Was looking, at our surviving courthouse square men’s clothing store where i buy Scout patches and wool socks, upon a lovely Harris Tweed jacket. Asked good sir Robin, haberdasherer to the undistinguished, about the single jacket with a five way swatch dangling from the hanger (wooden) and he explained he had three orders in hand, and when he had five, the order went off to Merrie Olde Scotland the Brave. So the dunnage wouldst be? i enquired. $500, was the response, so it’s back to Jacques Peneigh pour moi.

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  55. Gasman said on October 22, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    I could have written that assessment of the Bush admin. I gather that you are a reasonably dedicated Republican. For you to make such a statement says a great deal about the state of affairs for the Republican Party. However, don’t be so quick to let McCain and Paling off the hook. They have not really done much to be proud of. They are the very candidates that this party wanted and deserved. I’ve been calling for reform amongst the Rs for 28 years. I’d love to have more choices than just the Democrats, but I’ll be damned if I’d vote for any of the Rs that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    Let’s hope that some of the men and women of courage and character within the Republican Party (yes, I think there might be one or two) can get off their butts and kick butt.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 22, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    I’d encourage you to vote for Voinovich, but that would be voter fraud!

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  57. Catherine said on October 23, 2008 at 12:05 am

    I’d be interested to learn more about Sarah’s bringin’ the kids on the business trips thing. I had a co-worker who regularly did this. The kid or kids stayed in her room and flew on her dime, so no additional $$ there, but all the food went on her expense report, and goodness knows what else. Once people realized what was going on, it rankled, mostly because it turns a business trip into a personal trip. When I had to travel a lot, I took a child with me on a business trip several times. I was scrupulous about the expenses, and it was an adventure, an education and a way to spend time together. Frankly, it never felt completely upright, but we made some great memories. Thoughts, anyone?

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  58. del said on October 23, 2008 at 12:55 am

    I agree with Jeff Borden’s comments. And Gasman’s right about the Republicans, Jeff(tmmo). They’ve been very “off” for decades. The political power in this country has veered way too far right — a problem resting on the fact that 24 Republican senators from 12 sparsely populated states represent the same population that 4 Democratic senators do in 2 more populous states.

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  59. Dexter said on October 23, 2008 at 1:15 am

    alex! U 1 funny sumbitch!! We’ll all miss Mr. Blackwell in all his cattiness.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2008 at 7:31 am



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  61. basset said on October 23, 2008 at 8:11 am

    ah yes… more NY Times condescension. “I have gone to flyover country and observed the amusing habits of the residents, look how clever and sophisticated I am.”

    and the plural of “crappie,” by the way, is “crappie,” not “crappies.”

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  62. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Thanks for sharing the interesting article, Jeff. I’m about 10% tempted to go to the Palin event scheduled here in a few days – not to get in, but to see the travelling circus that comes with it.

    Meanwhile, I was mowing down this morning’s haul of junk e-mail from various hawkers, charlatans, and frauds, and came across this one. I cannot decide whether the false dichotomy that it poses is more deliberately dishonest, or whether the true-believing sender is just this smugly self-satisfied. Here it is:

    In a local restaurant my server had on an “Obama 08” tie. I laughed as he had given away his political preference – just imagine the coincidence. When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need – the homeless guy outside. The waiter angrily stormed from my sight.

    I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I’ve decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was very grateful.

    At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment, I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was very angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recepient deserved the money more.

    I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

    (Doncha just love the appended Moral to the Story?)

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  63. Snarkworth said on October 23, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Mild-Mannered Jeff, you were of course sensible about the tweed jacket.

    HOWever…the thing about such a garment is that it would last forever, outliving you and bringing joy to your heirs.

    Sometimes you have to calculate cost in terms of number of wearings, or years of use, like Deborah above.

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  64. MaryRC said on October 23, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I love a fashion show as much as the next person and I like Sarah’s clothes. Huffington Post did a little slideshow and I wanted every outfit and her figure too. Her clothes look businesslike and sexy, the look she is going for. They’re flattering, not overwhelming like Cindy’s shiny candy-colored confections. The average guy probably thinks Sarah’s wearing the same suit as the local councilwoman or chairwoman of the chamber of commerce, but she really rocks it.

    It was inevitable that they’d have to dress her up and they did a good job. Where they goofed was paying for it out of the campaign funds, so that it would have to be revealed. Why didn’t Cindy just quietly slip them her Saks and Neimans cards? She probably drops that sum in a month anyway.

    Imagine if the Obama campaign, or the Obamas, had spent that much on fashion. Did you hear about Michelle’s $400 snack at the Waldorf? Before it was revealed as a hoax, every rightwinger had torn a strip off her for being so extravagant. Even Limbaugh got into the act.

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  65. LA Mary said on October 23, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I could so spend 150k at Needless Markup if I had to. If you held a gun to my head and said, get some designer clothes, shoes and accessories and have them tailored to you, make sure you spend a lot, and make it snappy, I could muster the energy to do it.

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  66. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Funniest snark I read: NOW the only differences between Palin and a pitbull is lipstick….and a $150,000 wardrobe allowance

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  67. Ricardo said on October 26, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    First thing I thought about Palin’s clothing bill was Pat Nixon. Dick assured everyone Pat didn’t have a fur coat, only a cloth coat. “…keeping that little dog, though.” I wonder what Pat would think about this.

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