Yesterday, Sarah Palin inexplicably returned to the topic of her $150,000 makeover, asserting that “Those clothes, they are not my property. … I'm not taking them with me.” This set me thinking, and I realized that Palin hasn’t gotten a fair shake on this affair – not from the over-educated blue state media, nor even from the thoughtful conservatives deserting her in droves like glaciers cracking under the stress of global warming.
You’d expect this sort of abuse from high-brows in the Lower 48, of course. Look at what just happened to poor Ted Stevens. The Alaska Senator, whose taste apparently ran more to gas grills than fiery pantsuits, was convicted today by a Washington, DC jury of making false statements on Senate forms. (As though anyone should care about such trifles.) Non-Arctic Americans just don’t know how to give Alaska politicians a break. Sadly, though, Palin’s attackers even include the Anchorage Daily News. That paper has endorsed Obama, declaring Palin “too risky” a choice, like wearing white after Labor Day.
Anyway, let’s take a closer look at this tempest in a dressing room. Palin may not know what the VP does, any more than Dan Quayle could spell potato(e), but at least she can see Russia from her state, which is more than Quayle could say. The Bush doctrine may be foreign to her, but she knows more about speaking in tongues than most of the rest of us ever will, or will ever care to. You can fault her on the issues, question her intelligence, call her ill-prepared, and point to various other irrelevancies, but when it comes to sartorial policy, Palin’s judgment has been as impeccable as her choice of colors. Here’s why:
First, she got someone else – the RNC – to pay for the goodies. In other words, she had the good sense not to waste her own money this way. Now that’s the sort of steady hand we need on the tiller of government. That’s the sort of parsimony not seen in Washington since Imelda Marcos came to visit.
Second, Palin helped Obama by soaking up $150,000 that the RNC could better have spent on TV buys and bumper stickers, and by diverting attention from the reasons to elect McCain-Palin, assuming for the sake of argument that there are any. She helped her opponent. That’s altruism of the highest order, even if McCain himself might not see it that way.
Third, by flaunting her good fortune – by accepting a makeover that could pay off many people’s mortgages – Palin has set a shining example of the American dream. Who wouldn’t like to receive a treasure trove of clothing, or perhaps electronic gadgets, or expensive cars? Pick your pleasure! It’s all aspirational. For those less lucky, well, let them eat cake. Or baked Alaska. It’s the American way.
Fourth, take note again of Palin’s latest remarks: “I'm not taking them with me.” (She meant the clothes, not McCain’s increasingly snippy staffers.) Again, very sensible. Only a fool or a Democrat would wear the same designer dress twice. Scuff those pumps? Out they go. You can put expensive lipstick on this hockey mom, but she's not going to lose her common sense.
Fifth – we’re almost done here – it’s important to remember that not all the clothes were for Palin. Some were for her family, all the way down to her infant son Trig, who can scarcely be expected to buy his own $92 rompers. That’s Republican family values at their best – when you come into good fortune, make sure the entire family unit benefits. Palin’s a religious sort, so ask yourself: what would Jesus do? It’s a hard question, since the answer is probably not “wear a dress and heels.” In any case, this is a candidate who not only talks the talk, she walks the walk – and in pricey shoes, no less.
As we know, no good deed goes unpunished, and this story ends tragically: The McCain apparatus announced over the weekend that much of the clothing has been or will be returned. Thus, Palin gets the blowback, but not the blouse. Deprived of this most personal of earmarks, she’s back to blue jeans and, hopefully, back to Juneau in a week as well. But who knows – if her ticket loses, maybe she’ll snag a spot as a talking head on Fox, as some have speculated. Then we can look forward to a new Sarah Palin, outfitted at network expense in clothing neither too cheap nor too pricey: a wardrobe, in other words, that is as fair and balanced as Fox’s own coverage. You betcha!