October 26, 2008

The Sarah Palin wardrobe brouhaha

I haven't been following this latest Sarah Palin Controversy of the Century, but let me see if have it straight: The governor of Alaska doesn't actually own the kind of expensive clothes that look nice on TV, so the Republican National Committee paid for a quick dash through stores in Manhattan so she could be on the road under the spotlight for two months. (I also presume you'd buy much much than you'd be likely to wear because you aren't sure what will work best, and you would just return the unworn items to the stores after Election Day.)

Exactly how is this different from whatever large sum the DNC paid so Barack Obama could have marble-looking Greek columns for his convention acceptance speech? Was he supposed to supply his own marble columns?

Isn't everybody aware by now that it costs a lot of money to look good on TV? (If you didn't realize that, check out BloggingHeads someday to see what actual people actually look like onscreen with no budget. It's not a pretty sight.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good point about the marble columns Steve.
While spending thousands of dollars on clothes seems outrageous to me, I don't see the media pouring over how much the Messiah's suits cost. This is another media-manufactured scandal. I doubt Michelle Obama is a JC Penney shopper.
As for Sarah, she does look damn good in them clothes.

-Vanilla Thunder

Jenn of the Jungle said...

Amen!!!! Marble columns, $4,500 suits for him, dresses that cost thousands for his wife..yeah they can afford that on a junior senators salary.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many minutes of TV time those clothes could have bought?

clem said...

...whatever large sum the DNC paid so Barack Obama could have marble-looking Greek columns for his convention acceptance speech?

Yes, that princely sum would be 5.3 million. Palin will be donating her clothes to charity after the election. Obama's Greek temple, not so much.

Was he supposed to supply his own marble columns?

Well, what would that other legendary "community organizer" (Jesus) do? If JC could supply his own loaves and fishes for a community lunch, why can't Obama manifest a column or two, out of ill-gotten "petty cash" if need be....

Saladman said...

The entire Democratic critique of Palin has struck me as being about class snobbery rather than substance. There would be a case to be made that she's green; she's a two-year governor without any previous experience navigating the national media stage. But the Dems have focused on her being a non-ivy league, middle class amateur from outside the beltway, ignoring or denigrating her legitimate specific accomplishments (oil pipeline, taking on state GOP corruption). It looks like that has worked with their own base and some Republican elites, but it also sets a limit on the people they can reach with that criticism, and in fact solidifies her support among some groups.

It'll be interesting, and telling, to see if the Democrats succeed in defining her in America as a whole by their class caricature, now or in four years.

Anonymous said...

Come on Steve, you're going to discuss this story from a tired democrat hypocrisy angle? It's crying out for analysis from you unique, trademark journalistic perspective, viewing the issue in terms of biological endowment. The investment in clothing was money well spent because it accentuated a quality that nature abundantly blessed Palin with, beauty. Sure, the years have taken a toll on her looks (she has that sort of "Desperate Housewives" thing going on, pretty from a ways back, a little disappointing and creepy up close) but she is still considerably attractive for her age bracket, and enhancing this natural comparative advantage was clearly an investment that would have worthwhile returns. Contrast this with the wasted effort to make Palin appear knowledgeable about current political issues. Trying to get someone with this mediocre of an IQ to absorb this amount of information in this time frame was an effort doomed from the start, the ensuing dismal results virtually guaranteed. It would have been more worthwhile to have her sashay back and forth on a catwalk in her newly purchased outfits for these last two months than having her try to come across as a person capable and competent of assuming the presidency if need be.

Anonymous said...

People were hard on Edwards for his $400 haircut, and this story seems like more of the same.

Richard said...

There's only one thing to need to know here:
IOKIYAL

testing99 said...

Anon -- Palin was a National Merit Scholar in HS. So, not dumb. Just not Connected.

Palin's weakness of not being a high-status Harvard grad, is like the laughter at "Joe the Plumber" that Obama got when he ridiculed McCain fighting for "that guy, a plumber."

Also, John Stewart of the Daily Show made fun of her clothes budget. Well, his suits are tailor-made $5,000 affairs. He wears a different one each day, that's $25,000 a week. Assuming a set of suits that are cycled through on a monthly cycle, i.e. 4 weeks worth, that is $100,000 for suits alone. Add shirts (around $500) and shoes, ties, (likely another $500), and you get $1000*5*4 = $20,000, or $120,000 for John Stewart's clothing to appear on camera. I doubt he buys his own clothes, it's IIRC given to him by the production company.

Leno, Letterman, and Conan probably have bigger clothing budgets.

It is ALL about Class. Or, as Windsofchange.net points out, the "revolt of the trans-national elites" who are sick and tired of American populism and nationalism and have found a formula: media control for Obama, gobs of foreign money, and suppression of dissent through intimidation and the race card, to make class a winning means.

It's not just Sarah Palin, it's Joe the Plumber. Who got the same treatment.

eh said...

Will she keep the clothes? If so then it's a bit different than marble columns at a convention. Is Obama going to take those home?

Anyway, it's all a lot of boring and irrelevant nonsense. In other words, campaigning as usual. A perfect addition to Obama's galactic vacuousness and McCain's almost unbelievable obtuseness.

Worst. Election. Ever.

Anonymous said...

The whole phenomenon of a televised image is a little vulgarizing, don't you think? Abolish television! And this reminds me a little of the Kennedy vs. Nixon debate, where the radio listeners judged Nixon as the winner while television viewers did not ( Nixon refused makeup, didn't he? ). So image-control is expedient but ignoble. Actually, it would be interesting to see if and how presidential candidates were represented (visually) throughout American history.

neil craig said...

The Republicans have indeed said the clothes will be given to charity. This has been missing from the MSM coverage though I admit to some suspicion they hadn't thought of this before it broke.

I emailed her campaign to suggest that they should be auctioned on ebay (which I'm sure would bring in many times the $150,000) & donate it to the X-Prize Foundation - I think that would be both popular & far sighted.

This is a very cleverly produced smear since it directly exploits the prejudices of her strongest supporters & even moreso of women. In terms of what US elections cost it is nothing. In terms even of Mrs Obama's $300,000 a year as a diversity inspector it is a minor story, except that the coverage isn't being decided on news value.

Argent Paladin said...

Imagine that you are the campaign director. You have a budget of close to 200 million dollars. The decision: do you spend less than one tenth of one percent of your budget on clothes for Palin? If you don't then every stump speech, every ad featuring Palin, the convention speech, etc would be that much diminished. Why spend millions on ads but not thousands on clothes? Why is buying airtime a good investment but making sure that what you air looks good isn't?

Recall also that it was for the Palin family.

dearieme said...

Clothes? Get back to your muttons, Steve.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1080791/Dimming-How-brainpower-todays-14-year-olds-slipped-radically-just-generation.html

Half Sigma said...

McCain should have picked Romney for VP. Romney already had his own wardrobe of expensive suits.

Anyway, I'm more concerned that some of the clothing receipts seem to be faked.

Anonymous said...

It's about two things: a. class and b. they see her as threatening.

When Kerry was made fun of four years ago for being an effete snob, there was no anger or hatred in it, just laughter.

2004 was the best election ever for comedy, especially for Drudge readers:
Kerry suited up at Nasa and looking like a sperm in Woody Allen's "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex"; the numerous photos Drudge plastered on his site to make him look gay with Edwards; plus an assundry of just plain goofy pictures.

Reg Cæsar said...

In a recent interview with a Twin Cities paper, Kathy Griffin (no, not Kathie Lee Gifford) was asked about Mrs P. She said that although the Governor was probably opposed to gay rights and same-sex marriage, she absolutely had to have a "good, focused gay man" on staff to insure her perfect-hair-day-every-day look.

KingM said...

It makes a story because of the Republicans silly "Democrats are elitists" argument. Which they are, of course. But so are the Republicans.

They just got clumsy when crafting the narrative and someone managed to call them out on it.

I would say that the Edwards brouhaha was the same exact thing. Here's a guy who bragged up his lower class credentials, yet he pays $400 to get his hair cut.

Anonymous said...

"Will she keep the clothes?"

She already answered that. The answer is "no". The clothes belong to the RNC, not her. They will either be donated to or auctioned off for charity by the RNC after the election.

- Fred

miss marple said...

"Anon -- Palin was a National Merit Scholar in HS. So, not dumb. Just not Connected." - Testie

Well then, a minimum 130 IQ since that would've been pre-SAT II. So we can safely say Palin has a genius level IQ that is belied by her being an uncommonly laconic female. I mean compared to Joe Biden she's a man in very expensive drag. ; )

Chief Seattle said...

I respectfully disagree with Steve and the other posters who say it isn't relevant. It's completely relevant because it shows the hypocrisy of the "blue collar republican" ploy. Sarah Palin gets up on TV and rails against the "New York Elites", but when it's time to get some clothes, she (or her handlers) goes to the most expensive, elite New York boutique available. It's just distateful, like a priest who preaches about helping the poor while he drives the fanciest car in the neighborhood. Even if it doesn't reflect Palin's values, it shows perfectly the values of the Republican party - trick the masses with a few social issues while spreading the favors to a few connected friends.

airtommy said...

Steve Sailer's weak defenses of Sarah Palin are a testament to how bad of a candidate she is. Remember a few weeks ago when Steve said that left wing hates her because she's white and fertile? LOL!

Obviously, her trashing of wealthy Manhattanites followed immediately by a romp through the finest Mahattan boutiques is hypocritical.

Here's the point: Palin has nothing going for her except that she is supposed to embody and emphasize cheap Rush Limbaugh slogans. She has no actual substance, knowledge or leadership. So when she flagrantly belies her fake working class image, revealing her genuine elitist core, the world laughs at her and at the Republican Party.

airtommy said...

Palin will be donating her clothes to charity after the election.

Obviously damage control by her advisors.

But the Dems have focused on her being a non-ivy league, middle class amateur from outside the beltway

This is a fantasy. No Dem and no media outlet has ever mentioned or even hinted that Palin is non-Ivy League. What the public, the media, the Dems, and some Republicans are disturbed by is that Palin knows nothing about Presidential issues, and that she doesn't appear to care about them either.

McCain didn't go to an Ivy League school and he was a terrible student at the Naval Academy. Nobody questions his smarts.

ignoring or denigrating her legitimate specific accomplishments (oil pipeline, taking on state GOP corruption).

Oil pipeline? She gave the deal to her cronies! Since when is cronyism and corruption an accomplishment? Oh, I forgot, for Republicans it is.

By the way, there is no purer form of socialism in Western society than Palin's redistribution of oil money to the Alaskan people.

Reg Cæsar said...

Has there been any port-side criticism of Gov Palin's recent falsehood, that it would be impossible to deport 12 million people?

When Sen McCain and Gov Palin say this, it shows that they are indeed an ignorant pair.

When Barack Obama and Joseph Biden say the same thing, it shows that they are two completly cynical liars willing to stab their own constituents in the back to benefit their party.

Stupid stupid, evil evil.

yt said...

But the Dems have focused on her being a non-ivy league, middle class amateur from outside the beltway

Actually, Palin's been playing up the outsider, regular gal, mocking the elites and their out of touchness, populist stuff which is what left her open to looking like an idiot when it turns out that she's been blowing $150,000 at high end stores like Saks. Same reason "I'm with the working man" John Edwards got trashed for the $400 haircut - the discrepancy between the candidate's image & spending habits.

If you want to be the "I'm in touch with the working class and you're not" candidate, you can't do that. Whoever is advising this lady needs to get fired.

gcochran said...

"Palin was a National Merit Scholar in HS."

Untrue, as far as I can tell.

jbday said...

Steve,

Any thoughts on the newly released 2001 Obama audio? It proves Obama's racialist-socialist thinking to those who won't read "Dream From My Father" or think Rev. Wright is just an "old uncle" and Bill Ayers is a "guy in the neighborhood."

John of London said...

Yes, all rather "who cares", altho I suppose the point the Dems were trying to make was not an attack on Gov P herself, but rather that her own style isn't good enough for the Republicans.
It might be of a bit of interest to ask if those clothes were made in the USA. I was going to say that at least the men could campaign in off-the-peg suits, then it occured to me that otp suits are probably imported whereas made to measure have to be made locally. I suppose Joe the Tailor deserves as much support as Joe the Plumber.

c23 said...

Cite for the claim that Palin was a National Merit Scholar? That's a pretty big deal if she was. To be a National Merit Semifinalist, you have to be one of the top scorers on the PSAT. In my high school class of 450 or so students, there were only 5 semifinalists. By contrast, there were 10 or so gifted program students, who were supposed to have IQs of 130 or higher.

The National Merit Scholars are the semifinalists who have lots of application-padding activities and an essay that some committee likes.

Anyway, if it's true that she was a semifinalist, we can the "Sarah Palin is stupid" meme to rest.

miss marple said...

c23

Trust me it's not that difficult to be a semi-finalist (naively thinks test prep course is cheating) & only slightly more so to be a finalist (like the cost of a prep course). Why many of your g&t friends didn't become semi-finalists or finalists is because they either didn't take the PSAT or didn't perform well on it so didn't qualify. In other words, you can out score someone on the actual SAT but the other person will get the scholarship because they were in the running for it.

"The National Merit Scholars are the semifinalists who have lots of application-padding activities and an essay that some committee likes. "

Has this changed? I don't know the score cut off on the current SAT but getting close to the minimum score for finalist but not quite there is what used to make a semi-finalist. It used to be all in the score, extracurriculars just determined whether or not the finalist got into an ivy league university. If Palin was a finalist in the early 80s she should've scored at least a 1300.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, if it's true that she was a semifinalist, we can the "Sarah Palin is stupid" meme to rest.

If Sarah Palin is stupid, what does that make Harvard Law School graduate Michelle Obama?

Truth said...

"Palin was a National Merit Scholar in HS."

Untrue, as far as I can tell."

No, but she did win the state High School basketball title in a state with 14 high schools.

Now who isn't impressed by that?!

Anonymous said...

If Palin was a national merit scholar it would have been very well-publicized at this point, it would be an easy refutation to the widespread perception that she is not too bright. And the reason it isn't well publicized because it just isn't true. This guy clearly seems to be confusing being a National Merit scholar with being in honor society, which Palin was in. Being in honor society only requires good grades, not a high standardized test score, and those can be had with just a so-so IQ and a high level of conscientiousness. My own honor society was pretty clearly split this way, high IQ students with moderate to strong achievement ethics and other students with strong achievement ethics taking lower level classes. This article from TNR implies Palin was in the second sort of group in high school:
http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=8c130fe3-adab-4cb3-8443-c363f085cf13&p=2

While Palin isn't likely dumb in the sense of being to the left of the IQ curve, it is reasonable to assume given what we know now that she has a pretty mediocre intellect. The series of no name colleges and a junior college she attended, a major in journalism with no serious journalistic output, her inability to even fake competence in interviews, and the dopey sort of thinking she exhibited when getting into politics, as described in the above article, such as misinterpreting a budget increase due to an increase in the tax base as a "big government" problem.

It is rather fascinating, and in a way almost commendable, she has risen this far with such a meager intellect, getting by on other assets like beauty, charisma, and social cunning. And even if she doesn't make it as a politician on the national scene in the future, which I suppose could be possible with an entourage of high IQ advisers to pick up the slack, she has garnered enough fame from this VP run to secure a wealthy future for herself and her family. Man, I wish there was some sort of site out there that looked at both IQ and politics where the Palin phenomena could be looked at further through this lense, Hmmmm....

Sebastian said...

Given the "all politics all the time" prediliction of Steve Schmidt, I'm surprised he didn't have her shop herself at a mid-line women's retailer and use it as a chance to bond with female voters.

You can talk marble columns all you want, but they let an opportunity go.

And they didn't run the money through a third party.

c23 said...

If Sarah Palin is stupid, what does that make Harvard Law School graduate Michelle Obama?

An affirmative action beneficiary.

ben tillman said...

If Palin was a national merit scholar it would have been very well-publicized at this point, it would be an easy refutation to the widespread perception that she is not too bright.

This presupposes that the Republican Party is trying to win the election. It's not.

bruce said...

Feminists badmouth a keeper; imagine that.

Svigor said...

Sounds like a lot of Steve's readers are really out of touch with the blue collar set. Let me help: when you're blue collar, and someone offers you a hundred grand worth of clothes, you say "yes."

She'll lose no votes for saying "yes". She might lose votes for the media making an issue out of it (which isn't the same thing), because, well, blue collar voters have their noses buried up their teevees' asses.

So Sad said...

I doubt Michelle Obama is a JC Penney shopper.
As for Sarah, she does look damn good in them clothes.

-Vanilla Thunder


Michelle Obama frequently wears dresses below 200-100 dollar threshold. The dress she wore on the view was a little under 100 bucks. Sara Palin's outfits are expensive because her stylist brought big name designers think Valentino and Armani.

So Sad! said...

Stop you whining people. This is not a dem vs rep issue.

I think the bigger beef is with Palin's people(or her stylist) spending 150k during the tuff times we now face. I can recall Bill Clinton getting dragged through the mud in the 90's for an expensive hair cut he got from some hotshot celebrity hair stylist..

curious said...

"This presupposes that the Republican Party is trying to win the election. It's not."

So then what are the repubs trying to do?

Anonymous said...

"When Kerry was made fun of four years ago for being an effete snob, there was no anger or hatred in it, just laughter."

You obviously weren't reading Free Republic at the time.

David Davenport said...

Why do you homosexuals disdain Sarah Palin?

Truth said...

"If Sarah Palin is stupid, what does that make Harvard Law School graduate Michelle Obama?"

A mother of two not running for political office?

Anonymous said...

"Why do you homosexuals disdain Sarah Palin?"

Yeah, what is with your faggy concern about IQ as meaningful and important human trait? Fags.

Anonymous said...

"If Sarah Palin is stupid, what does that make Harvard Law School graduate Michelle Obama?"

A mother of two not running for political office?


She's running. Man oh man, is she running. She wants it more than he does. Wasn't enough the system got her into Princeton (AA defintely on that)and a cushy law firm job. Now the corrupt Chicago system that won her husband his Congressional seat, is among those that has to get her butt into the White House as First Lady of the Land to prove it's not racist.

These campaigners -- all four of them -- are the biggest scream anybody's had in a long while. I mean 2000 and 2004 were just depressing. This one actually does have some comedy value when you stand back and just look.