Be a candidate for veep, win a new wardrobe!

Palin and daughters Piper and Willow at the game. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

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.