Miss Wasilla Applies for a Job

Miss Wasilla, 1984They should move up the election; I swear to God. First came the reports that the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 in September alone on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe and accessories. A blogger for Slate named Dahlia Lithwick noted that “spending $150,000 on incredibly high-end designer duds not only looks bad to Joe the Plumber, but also turns Palin from Joe Sixpack into Empress Josephine.”

Lithwick makes a more interesting point that points the blame (rightly) at American culture:

It is really, really different to be a woman in the public eye. The standards for looking “good” are completely unfair, and the stakes are vastly higher for failing to do so. We obsessed about John Edwards’ haircut because a bad haircut truly wouldn’t have mattered. We obsessed over Hillary Clinton’s cleavage, or her pantsuits, or her highlights because they matter so much.

Then this morning, reports started coming out that the highest paid individual in the McCain campaign is “[Not] Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser; not Nicolle Wallace, his senior communications staffer. It was Amy Strozzi, who was identified by the Washington Post this week as Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist.”

Clothes, make-up … but what about hair? It’s covered. “In addition, Angela Lew, who is apparently Ms. Palin’s traveling hair stylist, got $10,000 for “Communications Consulting” in the first half of October.”

But the biggest difference between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin is that Hillary Clinton’s appearance was a weird issue because she was being held to a double standard, wanting to be taken seriously as a senator and a viable presidential candidate, while also having to keep up appearances as a woman.

But Palin wants it a different way. She wants to be girly-pretty, and She’s using her looks, because there’s little substance to her actual qualifications or platform.

If we were electing a celebrity, makeup, hair, clothes, and fawning celebrity profiles would be pluses. But we’re choosing someone who’s supposed to be better than we are at governing, and her actual track record indicates she’s neither qualified nor ethical.

Christopher Hitchins made a great suggestion: Stop covering Palin until she gives a press conference. Not that she ever would. A press conference would be too much like a job interview, with tough, unfair, surprising questions that would test your qualifications and ability to think on your feet. And all the hair and makeup in the world can’t cover for you there.

Jon Taplin has an interesting lead in a blog post today:

As Merrill Lynch brokers arrived at their desks this morning they were greeted with an urgent memo as to how to deal with the possibility that the stock exchange might not open this morning. Europe and Asia had crashed over night and the futures were showing a possible 1000 point fall at the open, which would trigger curbs that would keep the market from opening.

Instead the market fell only 500 points, and has since recovered. A little. But the ongoing outlook is dismal, if not downright frightening.

And what has Miss Wasilla been doing? She’s been giving personality profile interviews to People Magazine, where she says she’s an intellectual (despite not naming a single newspaper or magazine she reads when talking to Couric) and mentioning how she always wanted to name a baby boy “Zamboni.”

When Hockey Gets Weird

First, I was on Twitter, and one of the election memes was “Zamboni Palin.” WTF? Turns out it’s from an upcoming interview with People Magazine, in which she also considers herself an intellectual (more here).

… well, “intellectual” might be a stretch, since last I checked, she’s on record as mentioning that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time.”

Anyhow, it also turns out that one of her intellectual excursions is into baby naming, and she told People that she always wanted a son named Zamboni. No, I’m not kidding.

Then, in breaking news from Alabama, this past weekend’s Disney on Ice show screwed up the rink in Huntsville that the local hockey team (the Havoc) had to cancel their game. (Insert your skating rodent joke here.)

Finally, this verbatim headline: “Swedish hockey fans delay match with dildo downpour.”

I won’t bother explaining. I know you’re going to click the link anyway.

The Other Thursday Night Massacre

This Thursday we get to look forward to Sarah Palin debating Joe Biden (perhaps you missed her interview with Katie Couric?).

But what about next Thursday? Ahh, next Thursday my Toronto Maple Leafs play the Detroit Red Wings. The good news is that expatriate me will get to see the Leafs on TV. The bad news? Let’s let Sports Illustrated’s Scott Wraight explain:

The mighty get mightier. That was the sentiment around the league after the Red Wings snagged Marian Hossa in free agency. Sometimes things just aren’t fair. According to the Edmonton Journal, coach Mike Babcock told Hossa “see you soon” during the ceremonial handshake at the end of last season’s Cup Final. Veteran Chris Chelios also reportedly called Hoss to convince him to come to Motown for more than just a chance to win a title. I won’t be surprised one bit if the Wings end up winning back-to-back Cups.

(Wraight rates the Wings number 1 in his “power rankings”)

Webster’s defines “agony” as extreme and generally prolonged pain. Leafs fans would classify agony as no postseason appearances since 2003-04 and no Cup since 1967. That won’t change as management takes the long-term approach. “If you asked us if you were to pay for a Stanley Cup team this year, but you were to be lousy for the next five years, would you do it? The answer from the ownership point of view, absolutely not,” co-owner Larry Tanenbaum told the Toronto Star. Is that really how Leafs fans feel?

(Wraight rates the Wings number 30 — that’s dead last — in his “power rankings”)

So … who d’ya think’s gonna fare worse?

Putting the Sideshow into Perspective

The New York Times op-ed writers have been doing a good job of covering the Sarah Palin sideshow. Frank Rich did a perfect blog wrap-up of what’s wrong with her last week:

She didn’t say “no thanks” to the “Bridge to Nowhere” until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers’ money anyway. Far from rejecting federal pork, she hired lobbyists to secure her town a disproportionate share of earmarks ($1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the per capita average in other states). Though McCain claimed “she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,” she has never issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard. As for her “executive experience” as mayor, she told her hometown paper in Wasilla, Alaska, in 1996, the year of her election: “It’s not rocket science. It’s $6 million and 53 employees.” Her much-advertised crusade against officials abusing their office is now compromised by a bipartisan ethics investigation into charges that she did the same.

And that doesn’t even include Palin’s greedy little habit of billing the taxpayers of Alaska for the nights she spent — at home. Another Times columnist, Gail Collilns, had a different (and very funny) take on things. She took a question-and-answer approach to soothe Democrats’ ruffled feathers:

But the vice president isn’t supposed to get any attention, and all people can talk about is Palin, Palin, Palin!

True. I think that’s because she’s from Alaska. It’s got that frontier aura that we’ve missed since all the cowboy television series were canceled a generation ago. Plus, it gives us the opportunity to talk a lot about moose, which are a funny animal no matter how you slice it. If Palin had been a deer-hunting mom from New Jersey, John McCain would have gotten no post-convention bump whatsoever.

McCain, by the way, is the Republican nominee for president. You may remember him from the Sarah Palin convention in Minneapolis, where he gave a speech and was congratulated by Sarah Palin.

This isn’t an accident. Rick Davis, who is John McCain’s campaign manager, said in an interview with the Washington Post, “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

It would be nice if the country and world were humming along so nicely that we could talk about moose and lipstick on pigs and whether or not Sarah Palin is hot.

But in case you thought Sarah Palin actually was newsworthy, the Huffington Post offers a handy summary of what’s actually happening, which includes the future of US global leadership (dwindling), the stock market (diving), another massive bank (in danger of collapse), problems with Iraq safety and its parliament, the economy (weakening), unemployment (rising), and US – Russia relations (deteriorating).

Oh, and that doesn’t even include climate change, which is melting the arctic ice, warming seas and strengthening hurricanes, and is now classified by the Center for Naval Analysis as a US national security threat.

Maybe if we paid more attention to that stuff, and less to the cult of personality, we’d see what the rest of the world sees (they prefer Obama to McCan by a margin of four to one).