They 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.”