Every once in a while, we need to cleanse our minds from matters of the inner workings of Alaska’s Personnel Board, 263-page reports from the Legislative Council, Workers Compensation claims by Alaska State Troopers, and take a break with something that requires little thought, or research. In this spirit, the big story yesterday was the outlandish $150,000 Palin wardrobe, provided to her by the Republican National Committee. Half of this staggering sum was spent at one store, the Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis. It’s against the rules for a campaign to pick up these costs (remember the John Edwards $400 haircut?), but due to a loophole (a button hole perhaps?), the RNC was allowed to foot the bill.
While I don’t claim to know what is going on in the minds of Republicans these days, I recall my Grandmother, who passed away in 1986. She was what I like to think of as a “good Republican”. She was fiscally conservative, quietly religious, and kind-hearted. She had no patience for scandal or dishonesty from politicians, and when presented with same, would sit herself down at the table in her sunny yellow kitchen and write a letter to the offending party, in small, perfect penmanship, giving them “a piece of her mind.” Sometimes the envelope would be reused, if she had received one in the mail in good condition. Why waste paper? She had raised a family during the Depression, and she understood the value of things. She donated to Republican candidates; not much, but she gave what she could. I never asked her personally how she felt about Richard Nixon. I suspect that Watergate gave her unending heartburn, but I also suspect that Nixon’s comment about how Pat Nixon didn’t have furs, but wore “a respectable Republican cloth coat,” resonated with her. My Grandmother had a respectable Republican cloth coat too.
I shudder to think what this principled woman, with whom I once shared a home, would think about Sarah Palin. What would be going through her mind if she had lovingly and dutifully written her $15 check, in her perfect penmanship, to the RNC, only to find out that it had been used to laminate Sarah Palin with a shiny red leather jacket and new stiletto heels? It would take 10,000 Republican grandmothers like mine to pay for that wardrobe.
It is surprising in some ways, that the “real Republicans” have not mutinied. Some have, but there hasn’t been the mass exodus one would expect. Too many Republicans suffer in silence, hoping that their party will come around; that they will spontaneously stop lying, race-baiting, subverting the constitution, and spending money like drunken sailors who like women in red leather. I think they’re going to have a long wait.
Meanwhile, back at the McCain campaign, we hear today that the six-figure wardrobe will now be donated to a “charitable purpose” after the campaign. So, keep your eyes peeled for a shiny red leather jacket at a Salvation Army store near you, and I’ll let you know if Sarah Palin comes back to Alaska in a respectable Republican cloth coat.