Palin’s “Respectable Republican Leather Jacket” Must Go.

22 10 2008

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.

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What the VP Does…Every Day.

21 10 2008

I remember when this clip first came out:

That’s when I sat here smugly, thinking, “Well, there goes THAT!” We had heard rumors about Palin being on the short list for VP, but this clip cemented it in my head. Nobody, I mean NObody could possibly pick this woman who actually admitted on camera that they have no idea what the VP does. It would be political suicide! She’d be a mockery, and so would the one who picked her! (chuckling) Whew! Case closed.

At the time this interview was done, there had been plenty of talk up here about Sarah Palin as a potential VP. She knew about this…it wasn’t just a question she was asked out of the blue.

So, if you knew that you were being considered for the position of Vice President of the United States, AND you realized that you did not in fact know what the responsibilities of the postition were, wouldn’t you…I don’t know… look it up?   Just out of curiosity?  It’s not like the job responsibilities are tucked away in some dusty book vault, and you have to apply for a permit to get in and research it.  It’s all right there in the Constitution. 

Not bothering to figure it out, and saying that “someone will have to explain to me” goes beyond intellectual laziness. It’s intellectual disinterest.

OK, now imagine that you were actually chosen to be your party’s VP nominee. You still haven’t found out what the job responsibilities are…you’d better get with it! You can either Google “US Constituion” or check out the Wikipedia entry, or you could ask somebody, because you’re now surrounded by people who ought to know these kinds of things. Here’s WIkipedia.

The formal powers and role of the vice president are limited by the Constitution to becoming President should the President become unable to serve (e.g. due to the death, resignation, or medical impairment of the President) and acting as the presiding officer of the U.S. Senate. As President of the Senate, the Vice President has two primary duties: to cast a vote in the event of a Senate deadlock to cast a vote in the event of a Senate deadlock and to preside over and certify the official vote count of the U.S. Electoral College. For example, in the first half of 2001, the Senators were divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats and Dick Cheney’s tie-breaking vote gave the Republicans the Senate majority.

The informal roles and functions of the Vice President depend on the specific relationship between the President and the Vice President, but often include drafter and spokesperson for the administration’s policy, as an adviser to the president, as Chairman of the Board of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a Member of the board of the Smithsonian and as a symbol of American concern or support.

Read that again, if you need to.  Got it?  OK, here’s Sarah Palin’s take on that.

Aw, that’s something that Piper would ask me, as a second grader, also. That’s a great question, Brandon, and a Vice President has a really great job, because no only are they there to support the President agenda, they’re like a team member, the team mate to that President. But also, they’re in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the Senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it’s a great job and I look forward to having that job.

That’s a question that Piper would ask?  Ahem…Governor?  That’s a question YOU would ask!  (See first video)

I think she must have just seen the words “President of the Senate” and then…..(cue harp music..everything goes gauzy and sparkly, as Sarah Palin walks into the Senate chambers with a big bull whip, clacking down the aisle in her shiny red pumps, and sliding in to the throne President’s seat….)  No need to read further.  Why ruin it?

Besides her obvious lack of qualification for the main duty of the VP (be ready to become President), there’s one Vice Presidential duty of which I was actually unaware, and frankly,  it makes me a little concerned. The Vice President is Chairman of the Board of NASA?  So, if she wins, Sarah Palin would literally be in charge of a board of rocket scientists? The mind reels. But there is one duty listed above in which she has already proven herself more than qualified. I think we can all safely say that Sarah Palin has truly become a “symbol of American concern.”

As I watched that second video, I was trying to figure out what the heck she was wearing…  It looked like some kind of plastic, red, zip-up thing.  Was it some kind of retro 80s thing?  Was she afraid it was going to start raining in the studio?  Was it the prototype for the new Republicanized NASA jumpsuit?    What WAS that??  Then I come to find out, it’s a brand new red leather jacket purchased for her by the Republican National Committee, along with the rest of the Palin family’s new $150,000 wardrobe.  Yes, they spent campaign money to deck out the Palins in some fancy new duds.  Joe Sixpack eat your heart out!   Guess she liked that jacket so much, she left it on for the interview.  Think she’ll sleep in it?

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