Friday, September 4, 2015

Be a candidate for veep, win a new wardrobe!

The RNC purchased $150,000 worth of clothes for Sarah Palin in a matter of weeks. Run for veep and win valuable prizes!

Be a candidate for veep, win a new wardrobe!


If you had to constantly stand next to Cindy McCain, you might spend $150,000 on clothes, too.

The Republican National Committee spent more than that on Sarah Palin's wardrobe in the seven weeks since she was selected as John McCain's running mate, reports today.

There was almost $50,000 invested at Saks Fifth Avenue stores in St. Louis and New York. (Had she chosen to shop at the Bala Cynwyd branch, she would have saved the RNC sales tax!)

In early September, the RNC gave Palin more than $75,000 to drop at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis.

Doesn't this make running for veep sound like a great job, or what? Maybe Palin can single-handedly boost retail sales.

Palin looks good. Her clothing is smart and appropriate. And we're guessing Anchorage isn't exactly a mecca of sartorial style. 

But that sure is a lot of capital to spend on duds for a 10-week run as the vice presidential candidate.

Now we know why Palin looks so happy. She's won valuable prizes! A whole new career wardrobe, running for a job that usually just requires a nice assortment of power ties. (Plus there's the almost $5,000 on hair and makeup in September.) When most of us switch jobs, we don't even get a Phillies shirt.

The choice to spend so much, and so quickly, seems counterintuitive to the campaign's rhetoric.

John McCain has made a big deal about "Joe the Plumber," so much so that some wags have suggested he's the senator's new running mate. 

Palin speaks frequently about "Joe Sixpack" and "Main Street" as opposed to Wall Street.

Saks and Neiman Marcus aren't exactly your Main Street, unless your Main Street happents to be Fifth Avenue.

The reports that clothes were also purchased at Barneys on Manhattan's Madison Avenue,  the snootiest, hautiest store imaginable with posibly the most superior sales staff outside of Paris. It's the very definition of the East Coast elite. (The Eastern media elite can hardly afford to shop there.)

Which illuminates another issue: the idea that a candidate should mirror the electorate.

Candidates aren't like us. It takes a certain kind of personality, drive and experience to run for higher office.

And, now, a certain kind of wardrobe.

The RNC can spend money however it sees fit. But this kind of expense account makes it a whole lot harder to claim to be one of the people, a Sarah Sixpack, when you're packing a $150,000 wardrobe more suitable with Cristal.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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About this blog
This week Karen Heller is live-blogging the Republican convention in true blogger style - at home, surfing the Web and watching TV. She's covered five other conventions. Three were Republican, two were Democratic. Read all of Populist here.

Karen Heller has interviewed Philip Roth and Zsa Zsa Gabor, spent time with Pink and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the celebrated and the exemplary unsung. She's covered Miss America and political conventions. She's been a provocative voice at The Inquirer for nearly 20 years, garnering awards for criticism, feature writing and investigative reporting, and was a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in commentary. Reach Karen at

Karen Heller Inquirer Staff Writer
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