Annals of McCain - Palin, XXXIV: out of the closet

OK, so Governor Palin spent $150,000 in two months on clothes and accessories. Big deal. It wasn't illegal. And it wasn't taxpayer money. It was campaign money. Money donated to the Republican Party by people who trusted Republican officials to be good stewards of their (possibly) honestly earned dollars. Yes, there are people who are grossed out by the profligacy. My own Mrs. R., upon viewing slide #5 in this slideshow of Palin wardrobe and shoes was aghast at the Louis Vuiton bag being weilded by 7 year old Piper. But there will always be curmudgeons. Or this guy:

Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, the amendment before the Senate is a very simple one. It restricts the use of campaign funds for inherently personal purposes. The amendment would restrict individuals from using campaign funds for such things as home mortgage payments, clothing purchases, noncampaign automobile expenses, country club memberships, and vacations or other trips that are noncampaign in nature.

Madam President, I want to emphasize I will be citing some examples of how campaign funds have been used which are extremely egregious, but I want to point out they are not illegal, and the purpose of this amendment is to restrict the use of those campaign funds because, if we are truly going to have campaign finance reform, I do not believe that campaign funds should be used for such things as country club dues, tuxedos, vacations, and other purposes for which they are now almost routinely used by certain Members of both bodies.


According to the U.S. census, in 1990 the median family income in America was $30,056. With that $30,056, the average American family was expected to put a roof over their head, feed their children, and send them to school. It seems to me that we should be able to survive as well at a salary level of $139,000 per year. [ed. note: Sarah Palin's salary as Governor of Alaska is $125,000 per year]

The use of campaign funds for items which most Americans would consider to be strictly personal reasons, in my view, erodes public confidence and erodes it significantly.


I point out these abuses, in my view what are abuses, because they are certainly not what the average contributor intends for their funds to go to. (From the debate on CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING LIMIT AND ELECTION REFORM ACT OF 1993 [Senate - May 25, 1993] via georgia10, DailyKos)

I say again: Big Deal. So this sum is equivalent to 80 years of the typical clothes budget of Joe Sixpack's family. Governor Palin isn't claiming to be a typical small town American. She's a Governor and possibly a future President.

Who cares?

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You know, I went looking to see how much Piper Pailin's Louis Vuiton bag costs, and was surprized to see the purse nerds declare it a knock off. Which means it didn't cost an arm and a leg, but it was probably made in a sweat shop in China by children making pennies an hour. Ugh.

Beth: I suppose it could be, although I am not sure how one could tell from the photo. The wire services are reporting it is genuine.

Don't get me wrong, I detest Palin for all the usual secular skeptic reasons, most notably her religious background and extreme ignorance in the face of any scientific evidence that might suggest one make any kind of progressive public policy.

However just because Piper Palin is shown carrying a Louis Vuitton bag doesn't mean it is her personal bag, it could be Gov. Palin's. I'm personally skeptical that Mr. McCain would authorize the use of RNC funds to buy a ~$1000 purse, let alone for Palin's 2nd grade daughter. I'm not really upset over Palin personally buying one...If you want to see out-of control spending and conspicuous consumption at it's worst, don't worry about the handbags of successful women making $125,000+/year. I think most women would like to buy some "nice things" for themselves if they had the means, if anything that's a culture of consumerism problem, not really a Palin image problem IMO.

Having said that, Don't many religious groups preach against obsessing over brand names because it is tantamount to "having gods before God?" (Years ago my Lutheran pastor warned me against the evils of yearning for Nike tennis shoes...look at me now!)

By Evan Henke (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Evan: Except that the expenditure reports by the RNC do indicate it was not just Governor Palin but her family who got the benefit. Presumably the rationale is that she uses her baby and family as fashion accessories when she travels. McCain didn't authorize this. It was the Republican National Committee and specifically the same guy who runs the vicious robocall operation.

So do we think that the campaign/Gov. Palin wanted Piper Palin to be seen with the bag?

I understand why you are suspect that RNC funds were used to make the purchase, but it seems to me most women seeing a 7-year old with such an accessory would likely think "rich and spoiled", not "cute and Jolene Six-Pack", and I've gotta believe the RNC knew this when they did the shopping. It'd be like putting one of Palin's teenage daughters on TV in a Gucci-plaid parka or releasing a picture of Palin lugging around her son's huge Louis Vuitton hockey bag. It's just counter-productive to their message in it's pretense. Notice her clothes, while extremely expensive, are not pretentious.

So I guess this might be ridiculous, if only for the fact that the RNC is spending $1000's only to explicitly display a contradiction of Palin's take-home message, if that really is the case.

By Evan Henke (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

Oh dear MRK where are you? I know, subjective as hell it is here anymore. I do wonder when "they" will catch on.

Two million revere for the reserved ballroom on Nov. 4th is the Obama/Biden campaign spending.

Oh dear MRK where are you? I know, subjective as hell it is here anymore. I do wonder when "they" will catch on.

I'm sure you can miss points and invent facts just as ably as MRK if you set your mind to it. There's really nothing to it.

I'd try to parody his style, but to be true to form I'd need to write thousand-word screeds, and I'm just not up to it tonight...

Let's just hope for more bigdude. He's always good for a chuckle.

Fashion slideshow has a bit of a shoe fetish.

By Frank Mirer (not verified) on 25 Oct 2008 #permalink

Seems there may be some fraud in addition to the expenditures on the Palin family togs. According to several of the owners of the store where the goods were supposedly purchased (as listed on the expense report), they cannot find receipts or sales slips matching the dollar amounts.
It may be Mr. Larson appropriated the cash and bought the togs somewhere else for less, hence the purse folks claiming the LV was a fake.

I have been baffled by the continued popularity, though waining now that he really is a lame duck, of Baby Bush -- until a friend put me straight: that Bush was admired by his followers for 'getting away with' unacceptable behavior, for 'getting over on' people -- that he is a role model for flaunting bad behavior, that he is a releaser. I.e., frustrated, angry people think: "Hey, maybe I can do that too!!!"

It all finally made sense -- a wife who didn't get charged for a vehicular manslaughter, a foul-mouthed mother who was rewritten into a saint (and muzzled), a father whose soured business deal inflamed the bin Ladins so badly that a rogue family member decided to send him a dire warning, a daughter who hides her out-of-wedlock pregnancy in plain sight . . . now McCain the big-spending reformer with a wife who wasn't charged for her substance abuse or embezzeling, and Palin the big-spending reformer with a husband who is trying to secede a state out of the union . . . . all of them laughing their way to the bank. No different from bad-girl Madonna or bad-boy Mick Jagger.

Yuse gotta problem wid that?

The bag Piper carries is a simulacrum. Believe me, I am an expert. The band you can see around the "short" side of the bag appears on no LV bags. It is a mark of lower-class attire, included by the manufacturers as both appeal (to the marks)/joke (for the insiders). Second, you can see this if you look carefully, the LV pattern always includes a flower shape, a star shape (in a set variation of dark/light) and a logo shape, an L and a V intertwined. The Logo figure does not appear on this bag. (For legal reasons. The line between "in the manner of" or "inspired by" and fake is a thin one.) The studs on the bottom are wrong as well.

The media say it is genuine either because they are just mouthing off - or because in many countries owning such trash is illegal; the goods can be confiscated and the owner fined, stiffly. No famous person or anyone who appears in media would, in Europe, ever sport such a thing. In fact LV, were they so inclined, could take action against the Palin parents. (Maybe not in the US, do not know the law.)