So much for hockey mom and Joe six-pack, huh? Sarah Palin’s wardrobe bill, Politico reports, has come to a cool $150,000 since she arrived on the national scene in late August, and the Republican National Committee has graciously picked up the tab. Working out to an average cost of about $2200 per day on the campaign trail from the RNC convention through election day, Palin’s designer duds cost more per day than many people’s monthly mortgage payments.
McCain campaign spokesperson Tracey Schmitt was apparently unfazed by the $75,000 Nieman Marcus bill, the $50,000 Saks bill, the $5,000 September cosmetics and hair bill, and the assorted other few thousand dollar bills–small change–at a Macy’s and Barney’s here and there: “With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses.” (When legal issues about the reported arrangement were raised, the campaign issued a statement saying of course Palin won’t keep the clothes when the campaign is all over–which is a shame from a purely aesthetic standpoint at least given the seemingly custom tailoring.)
But I’m not sure the McCain campaign has laid the groundwork for quickly neutralizing this story. After all, it was McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis who said just a few weeks ago on national television that as far as the McCain campaign is concerned, “this election is not about issues,” but character. And it’s not unreasonable to note that one hundred fifty thousand dollars spent on Palin’s wardrobe in six weeks does say something about not just her expensive tastes but her character, and suggests something of a disconnect between who Sarah Palin says she is (ordinary small town hockey mom who will come to Washington to fight the entrenched interests) and who she actually seems to be (here’s my Visa bill, can you take care of it?). Seriously, did the RNC put the Saks buyer on retainer? I’m having a hard time getting my head around 150 $1000 clothing item purchases in fewer than 60 days. This may call for some investigative journalism shoe-leather so to speak by Vogue.