$150,000 Shopping Sprees and $400 Haircuts

Not to beat a dead moose or anything, but I just have a few questions brought about by the discovery of Sarah Palin’s We-Do-This-On-Main-Street-All-The-Time Ultra-Fabulous Shopping Spree.

To hear John McCain tell it, the greatest threat to our economic security are federal earmarks, which account for 0.5% of the federal budget. While one man’s Outrageous Government Pork is another man’s Important Community Project, there is clearly some appropriations abuse happening. The core principle of opposing wasteful spending is inherently sound, even if those who oppose it the most vociferously consider anything not directly related to the military to be “wasteful;” if it helps the poor, doubly so. But as far as a simple message that resonates with voters across the political spectrum, “wasteful spending = BAD” is pretty effective.

So how does spending $150,000 of donors’ money, in a time of financial desperation of ordinary Americans as well as Republican campaign coffers, on a fabulous wardrobe that costs more than most Americans make in a year, how does that strike anyone as a good idea? If advocating that the federal government should tighten its belt and spend wisely (read: cut social programs) just like average American families have to do, doesn’t this fall into “do as I say, not as I do” territory? And doesn’t this seem even more absurd given the hyperventilation on the part of Republicans and FOX News over John Edwards $400 haircut? [www.jedreport.com]

Despite his record as a trial lawyer, his populist economic policies and constant crusading on behalf of the poor, Edwards was declared unfit for representing “regular Americans” because he spent too much on his hair, which, admittedly, was shiny and silky and just fantastic. But $400? Outrageous! And couldn’t Palin have spent $150,000 at the J.C. Penny’s in Juneau and gotten more for her money’s worth? People would think she’s done more interviews because her outfit keeps changing every few minutes on the TV.

Perhaps the McCain campaign has a good reason for blowing great heaping wads of cash on Manolo Blahniks and Vera Wang. Maybe she was wearing a burlap sack and squirrel-hide shoes when he found her in the Alaskan wild. Or maybe ol’ Sugar Daddy McCain needed to keep his Alaskan honey in hot threads if she’s gonna put out on the stump for him, and they don’t have Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue back in Alaska, sweety. We may never know. But considering that the taxes alone on the Yukon Gold-Digger’s mall haul are more than most families spend on clothes in decades, perhaps someone could ask.

I nominate Joe the Plumber.

– Michael Turner