Republican national committee spent US $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and US $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue in September – all for outfitting Sarah Palin and her family appropriately. The RNC is also said to have spent $4,716 on makeup and hair through September.
Living up to the reputation of being the “party of the rich,” Republicans are having a tough time covering up rumors that their female vice-presidential nominee spent huge amounts of “campaign” money for a stylish wardrobe. Sarah Palin may look gorgeous, but her looks come with a heavy price tag at up-market stores. This dressing up of Palin seems to have started in September.
As expected, this financial disclosure does not seem to have gone down too well with the public and the media are having a field day exposing Sarah Palin, and thriving on disqualifying all her claims of being a simple hockey mom from a small town in Alaska. This sentiment is reflected in the thoughts of the common man, who in spite of understanding the need for public figures to be well-dressed cannot really accept this sort of extravaganza. This behavior is said to undercut the recent Republican stand of rooting for Joe the Plumber.
The preening of a public figure in politics is nothing new and the story in the US goes back a long way to John Kennedy, whose spruced up image was well-known to all. However, the reason behind the hue and cry over Palin’s appearance is caused due to the current US economic situation, which caused severe suffering throughout the country.
One frustrated donor of the Republican Party is revealed as stating, “As a Republican Eagle and a maxed out contributor to McCain’s general campaign, I’d like my money back, he can still have my vote.” Another blogger sniggered, “Sarah Palin, a small-town hockey mom and everywoman? More like Sarah Palin, pampered princess.”
The party’s expensive habits are overshadowing everything else. McCain himself is under scrutiny now and people have noticed the $540 shoes that McCain wore as well as the seven homes he and his wife own.
According to experts, although the McCain campaign is dismissing the story saying it is not significant, this controversy may have hit the party hard. The campaign seems to be losing its heat and there seems to be decreased interest in the party’s Joe the Plumber tours. Even all the constituencies that supported the party till now, seem to be withdrawing. The worst part is the senior citizens, the demographic that have been considered as McCain’s main support are seen to be slowly diverting towards Obama.
The common man is of the opinion that spending such huge sums of money on political PR is a criminal waste when thousands of people are not getting the basic necessities, like food and healthcare.
Finance experts questioned the legal and ethical aspects of using campaign money for shopping. According to the Federal Election Campaign Act, the conversion of campaign money for personal use is prohibited.
Campaign managers in an attempt to salvage the situation say that Palin has intended to give away her clothes to charity after the campaign. A spokesperson said, “With all the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.”
All the clarifications of the party do not seem to kill the “expensive-Palin” talk. Now when Palin steps out, all eyes are more on her clothes, shoes and accessories than what she has to say.
The result of this outcry is Sarah Palin forgoing here designer wardrobe and going back to wearing her own clothes. To convince people that she is in fact a simple person, the Alaskan governor appeared in jeans for a campaign. At one of the campaigns, she even pointed out to the crowd that she was wearing her own jacket and from now on she would wear her own clothes. She also told the crowd that the jeweler she was wearing is her own and locally bought, including the wedding ring that she bought in Hawaii.
Experts reveal that in recent years, dressing on the campaign trail has become risky politically as people do not associate themselves with the elite; a simple person wearing normal clothes talking their language is what it takes to keep them happy. Campaign money used for the party pleasures or clothes will never be taken lightly, especially when most people are struggling with their finances.