A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can We Afford Caribou Barbie?

The McCain campaign has been embarrassed during the last few days over reports that the Republican National Committee doled out $150,000 to make Sarah Palin look good as she makes the rounds on the campaign trail. At the same time, other reports have noted that some of the expenses that she is charging to the state of Alaska are being investigated. Taken together, the reports raise another issue: can the American taxpayer afford this woman if she is elected vice president?

The news stories about her clothing purchases at such upscale retailers as Neiman-Marcus ($75,062), Saks Fifth Avenue ($49,425), and Bloomingdales ($5,102) don’t jibe with her down home image. Granted, I didn’t expect the woman to show up in jeans, even though that would have fit in with her “aw, gee, shucks” hockey mom demeanor. The RNC probably should have considered shopping for her clothes at, say, Wal-Mart, where the constituents to whom they are trying to appeal shop. This would have made the reports less troubling, and, for $150,000, they probably could have found her an entire wardrobe for the next four years at Wal-Mart! Clearly, the RNC doesn’t know how to shop for bargains.

The McCain campaign expressed surprise that, of all the things that could be reported, the media are focusing on Palin’s shopping bills. Note, the media are dredging this up, not the Obama campaign. I don’t understand their shock. After all, it’s not like they were focusing on the issues with all the noise about William Ayres, Reverend Wright, and ACORN they tossed in Obama’s direction.

Okay, I’ll acknowledge that there is a double standard at work here. After all, John McCain could show up at his town hall meetings in the same dark suit five days in a row and we wouldn’t notice the difference. However, let Caribou Barbie — a nickname for Palin from last week’s episode of Saturday Night Live — dress in the same pantsuit twice in the same day, and it would set off a fashion alert on the E! Network. I know it’s not fair, but this is the political world in which Palin is willing to work to get ahead.

I find the clothing stories amusing, but I am troubled about the precedent this so-called “reformer” has set in regards to her tenure as governor of Alaska. Apparently, there have been some questions raised as to the expenses Palin and her family have incurred while traveling on state business. The key words here are “and family”, as she has taken her three daughters with her on several trips — and charging their expenses back to the state — even though they themselves were not part of the business being conducted. One report described the luxuries to which the daughters were treated while Mom attended a governor’s conference here in Philadelphia.

My question is: if Palin does become vice-president - and in that capacity she will be obligated to travel abroad as a representative of the United States — will she expect to take her entire brood with her? Palin would have a nice little entourage behind her with two daughters (the oldest one should be married off by the time the next President takes office), the youngest son (surely you can’t expect mama to keep this special needs child behind with a nanny), perhaps a few nannies, and the Secret Service detail protecting all of them. This doesn’t include office assistants and legislative aids who would actually need to accompany Ms. Palin for the sake of government business. The bills for these trips will probably match the $700 billion bail out package about which everyone loves to complain.

Here’s a suggestion for you, Ms. Palin: a babysitter at home in Washington, DC. Leave the family behind and see them on the weekends. I know this is a horrible thought for any mother to entertain, but you are the one that wants the career outside the home. This is the same dilemma that working mothers have faced for generations: work to earn money to pay bills, or stay home with the children and not have the money for necessities.

It’s a matter of priorities that working moms have been wrestling with for years. It’s not easy to do this, but I’m sure the Secret Service would appreciate not having to deal with the logistics of three more people to watch over. Oh yes, we taxpayers would appreciate it too! We don’t need to hear that Congress is debating an emergency appropriations bill for the vice president to go to a sale at the Shops at Georgetown while we’re sweating out the next month’s mortgage payment. That would be pushing the “aw, gee, shucks” image to the boiling point. You would do well not to piss us off, Ms. Palin.


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