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October 22, 2008

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You could also usefully mention the hundreds of days on which she claimed the $300 per diem for living at home, and that she's never paid taxes on the per diems or the free travel. My favorite part of the $125,000 or so in clothes is that it's about $2000 for each day of the eight weeks or so from her being named to the ticket until election day. That almost makes sense for extremely high end professional attire, until you remember that she's allowed to get the outfits dry cleaned and to wear them more than once.

I note that we're not hearing about Obama's, Biden's, or McCain's expenses, which you would think was necessary in order to make a comparison: is what Sarah Palin spending out of line, or is it just what it costs to be a v/presidential candidate on the campaign trail?

But hey: I guess you don't need to know that kind of thing if you just know that womens are expensive.

I'm also kind of uninclined to care much about all the "she invited her children along and made the state pay" - since I support the principle that employers ought to support parents/children, not require that parents spend days apart from their children because of their job. (Palin, I'm prepared to bet, only thinks her children ought not to be separated from her because of her job, and will not be supporting the right of other working mothers to receive the support of their employers/the state. Just hers. )

The rest of it is fine. Just a shame you had to fall to the Maureen Dowd level with regard to Palin's campaign trail expenses.

Actually, I note the Politico article does provide a similar outline of expenses for the other candidates, even though (like Dowd, in 2007) you found that not worth quoting.

"Actually, I note the Politico article does provide a similar outline of expenses for the other candidates, even though (like Dowd, in 2007) you found that not worth quoting."

Story: "A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending."

Okay, now that it's been quoted, why was that worth quoting?

Yes, the spending on Palin's clothes is way way out of line with presidential candidates.

"But hey: I guess you don't need to know that kind of thing if you just know that womens are expensive."

Of course, you are pulling this out of nowhere; there's no basis in what Hilzoy said to get this from.

Jes, and Gary, the Politico report does indeed make it clear that spending seemingly extravagant amounts for hairstyling and similar cosmetic preparation is quite normal. And that's not surprising: image matters in politics. I don't begrudge the campaigns such expenses, nor indeed some impressive amount for costumes, whether those are designer mens' suits or womens' outfits. But $125,000 spent on clothing? As I indicated above, that's a different $2000 outfit for every day of the campaign. In other words, that's absurd. It is so different in magnitude from other campaigns' spending as to be unrecognizeable. Remember, it was not so long ago that the people now most infatuated with Palin were ecstatic with glee over the revelation that Edwards spent a lot on haircuts - and we now learn it was rather less on haircuts than Paln spent. It was two days ago that Rupert Murdoch's New York Post ran a fraudulent gossip item purporting to show extravagance by Michelle on a scale that is simply beggared in comparison to this. Furthermore, any of this from September was money for the General Election - taxpayer money. Sarah Palin spent the better part of a year's worth of her salary on clothes, on my dime.

Jes @3:12: Apparently the Red team's senior strategists decided at the 11th hour that SP's moose-hunting camo and her favorite old Luc Robitaille jersey just weren't uptown enough for Caribou Barbie to hit the campaign trail in. Compared of course to Obama, Biden and McCain who, whatever else might be said about them, have at least been dressing like adults for a while now.

http://www.hailubao.com/English/index.asp>shopping bag
http://www.hailubao.com/English/index.asp>non woven bag
http://www.hailubao.com/English/index.asp>environmental bag

The clothes will go to charity?????? Meaning what? We'll now see homeless New York bag ladies in designer wear?

Sarah Palin reminds me of someone from French history.

QUEEN MARIE ANTONIETTE


Warren Terra: Furthermore, any of this from September was money for the General Election - taxpayer money. Sarah Palin spent the better part of a year's worth of her salary on clothes, on my dime.

Well, McCain's "I'm withdrawing from public funding... er..." is indeed an issue, though not one Hilzoy has chosen to cover since September. (She opted instead to cover the story that McCain's campaign are spreading that there's something dodgy about Obama's electoral funding, without any reference to the fairly obvious motivation that McCain & Co have for claiming that.)

If there were nothing dodgy with McCain claiming funding for his campaign, no one but McCain's supporters have any right to protest how the campaign spends it, so long as it's electorally related.

If we lived in a world where candidates, and in particular professional women, were taken seriously based on what they did and said rather than on what they wore, the RNC would have had no reason to buy an expensive wardrobe for their VP candidate. Sadly, we don't live in that kind of world.

Obama and Biden and Clinton presumably already had insider-Beltway wardrobes. I don't suppose Palin did.

And yeah, calling her Caribou Barbie is sexist.

If we lived in a world where candidates, and in particular professional women, were taken seriously based on what they did and said rather than on what they wore, the RNC would have had no reason to buy an expensive wardrobe for their VP candidate. Sadly, we don't live in that kind of world.

One could of course argue that no one has any reason to take Sarah Palin seriously based on what she's done and what she says. And I'd agree with that.

But for crying out loud... Sexism from the Democrats, racism from the Republicans, isn't this a lovely election?

Jes, I'm just curious if it is sexist to acknowledge these points

During a week in which the Republican ticket is trying to highlight its connection to the working class - and, by extension, promoting its newest campaign tool, Joe the Plumber - it was revealed that Palin's fashion budget for several weeks was more than four times the median salary of an American plumber ($37,514). To put it another way: Palin received more valuable clothes in one month than the average American household spends on clothes in 80 years. A Democrat put it in even blunter terms: her clothes were the cost of health care for 15 or so people. link

I would note that all that money spent on flying her children around is taxable income to her for at least federal tax purposes and that, from the reviews of her tax returns that I've read, she did not report it as taxable income. So she almost certainly owes back taxes and interest on those amounts as well (and possibly penalties).

In fact, I would be shocked if, after the scrutiny her returns got, her advisors haven't filed amended returns paying back taxes and interest on those amounts. Don't count on them being disclosed anytime soon though.

I know the name of the game is cynical political criticism at all cost. I just don't ever remember being concerned about the cost of Hillary's clothing or the who was paying for her daughter. Actually $80 per child per flight is not too bad, considering the cost of executive jetting these days. And luxury hotel? I'm sure high level politicians are concerned about security, privacy and some modicum of comfort. I'm not sure HI Express fits the bill. Sigh...when you didn't think the level of political discourse could sink lower. I doubt if many state's laws are well established for female mother governor types. If this election cycle doesn't completely squash the species, we'll certainly see clearer guidelines in the future - although I don't have much hope for the reporting and subsequent cackling. Carry on.

And every once and a while, jes and I get close enough to the battle lines to wave across the ramparts. Better than sex.

Actually $80 per child per flight is not too bad, considering the cost of executive jetting these days.

More like $276.

BBM, I stayed away from Jes's complaint that it really SHOULD be normal for you employer to pay for your kids to travel with you, despite the fact that it's fantastically rare, precisely because of the point you make, that the President is one of the few people for whom it's actually normal. So criticism of Palin's deeply abnormal expectation would be a little awkward - though even at that, her tax liability remains an issue. Jes, I really hope you weren't calling my comments sexist, or if you were I hope that you are willing to elaborate: I was trying very hard to avoid bias, at least in this thread.

Is it sexist to call Palin a self-aggrandizing opportunist, a grandstanding clown, and an overall liability to John McCain and the entire Republican ticket?

Please let me know if so.

just don't ever remember being concerned about the cost of Hillary's clothing or the who was paying for her daughter.

Me either. Why do you ask, was she also paying $2K of campaign money a day for clothes?

Thanks -

I'm going to agree with Jes and blogbudsman here. That's probably breaks down to about 30 or 40 outfits worth around $2,000 to $3,000 apiece which does not strike me as an unreasonable sum for someone to spend on a wardrobe for a female politician. Expensive? Yes. More than most people will earn in a year? Yes. Unreasonable? No.

It might be worth noting that someone who claims to be an ordinary working-class Jane Six-Pack has spent $150,000 on clothing, so I think lj's point is valid.

During a week in which the Republican ticket is trying to highlight its connection to the working class - and, by extension, promoting its newest campaign tool, Joe the Plumber

Not at all sexist, if you can show you also drew attention to the expensive clothing worn by McCain, Biden, and Obama. Because they didn't buy it all in a hurry does not mean what they wear is inexpensive by comparison - with the caveat that women's clothing is invariably more expensive than men's clothing of the same quality, but I am prepared to bet that not a one of them wears suits bought at Wal-Mart.

Not at all sexist, if you can show you also drew attention to the expensive clothing worn by McCain, Biden, and Obama.

Why does that apply to Biden and Obama? They're not the ones running around proclaiming that their party is the one of small town, Joe Budweiser, ordinary folks who would just like to have a beer with the presidential candidate because he's so down to earthy and regular guyish.

with the caveat that women's clothing is invariably more expensive than men's clothing of the same quality,

I call B.S.

Sexism, the new Anti-Semitism!

Krauthammer is proud...

Part of campaigning is looking the part, and I'm reasonably willing to believe that a wardrobe good enough to campaign for and serve as governor of Alaska just wasn't sharp enough. And though she's actually rather prosperous, she's got four kids at home and a wedding and a grandkid on the way, and everyone agrees that top-level professional attire is pricey and not an expense most people face, so I've got no objection to kitting her up on the campaign's tab, even when it's taxpayer money that's funding the campaign. After all, the clothes are for the campaign. But the scale is something else again: it's one thing to make sure the candidate's clothes aren't letting them down, it's quite another to provide 40 to 60 $2-3000 outfits. I would be very surprised to learn that McCain or either Obama, or for that matter Pelosi or either Clinton, has in the last six MONTHS worn three dozen different pricey new outfits suitable for their very highest-formality campaign or television appearances.

Why does that apply to Biden and Obama?

If you're going to point out how way-out expensive and extravagant the RNC is being in outfiting Sarah Palin, for that not to be sexist, you have to show that you have always taken a strong interest in how much the clothing of men in the equivalent position costs.

And to show that the RNC is being expensive and extravagant, you have to show that you have a good idea of what buying 30 - 40 outfits for a top-flight female executive all at once would cost, and that Sarah Palin exceeded that estimate.

Hilzoy didn't do that. Politico didn't really do that.

Anyone here want to show they did?

I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that the governor of a US state probably already owned clothing appropriate to the national campaign trail, just as the three male candidates probably already did.

I'm also kind of uninclined to care much about all the "she invited her children along and made the state pay" - since I support the principle that employers ought to support parents/children, not require that parents spend days apart from their children because of their job.

Doesn't she have a husband and an older child who could take care of the younger children at home rather than charging taxpayers to have them travel?

I dunno, but if I were a GOP donor, I'd likely be a bit hot if I learned my $50 or $100 went to clothing Caribou Barbie. To the tune of $175K.

After all, her net wealth approaches a million bucks and the opposing party enjoys a not insignificant fundraising advantage.

buying 30 - 40 outfits for a top-flight female executive

she's not allowed to wear the same clothes twice ?

i'll wade in:
the wardrobe thing is silly, but it's a nice comparative point. it's a little late in the day for the GOP to complain about people using it as a weapon, given the things they have attacked Obama with.

much more important is the taking the kids on trips. whether people should (ought to be able to) or not is a topic that can be debated, but failing to disclose it is not. nor is altering the vouchers when caught. the comptroller of New York State blew up his career over something somewhat similar, and many employees are fired for similar shenanigans.

What happened to 'good old Republican cloth coats?'

Neiman-Marcus closes the deal -- maybe the first time I've disagreed with Jesurgilac. A store with the reputation for being for the very rich -- who shop there to show they can afford to. (And being paid for by a campaign that has argued that 'arugala' shows you are 'out of touch with real America.')

Yes she did need 'better clothes' but she has money, she could have paid for them -- with a campaign advisor giving her fashion advice. Or she could have spent maybe half as much and gotten the same thing.

Sorry, but this criticism isn't sexist, but very legitimate.

Jes: I took it for granted -- possibly rightly, possibly wrongly -- that my audience would know that this is indeed out of line for a VP nominee, of whatever gender. No similar story has come out about any of the other nominees. You may think this is sexist. I disagree.

When I write posts, I try not to make them longer than I have to, since I think we can all agree that excessive brevity has never been my besetting sin. I cut the paragraph doing the comparisons, because, as I said, I assumed people would know that anyways, and at the time it felt more like an extra, unnecessary dig at the Republicans than like a talisman against sexism. Oh well.

Blogbudsman: I do not begrudge Sarah Palin her luxury hotels, etc. I only begrudge her asking the people of Alaska to pay for them, and also her apparently going back and falsifying records. Had she done this to take her kids to a Motel 6, my response would be the same.

hilzoy, you're empathy for the citizens of Alaska are...well, whatever. I'm sure when the clothing is auctioned off eBay style and the proceeds are donated to various charities the story will be a little less nauseous. Maybe we can get back to the real stories lost in this ridiculous fog - regarding spreading the wealth around. And no one's mentioned the bazillions of forced union dues being spent on a campaign to steal the right to vote from American laborers. Hang in there jes - you are accurate (didn't want to say 'right'). :)

I think that if celebrity women want to avoid being criticized by the press then yeah, they probably do need to wear a different outfit pretty much every time.

The entries also show a few purchases at Pacifier, a top notch baby store, and Steiniauf & Stroller Inc., suggesting $295 was spent to accommodate the littlest Palin to join the campaign trail.

Per Politico. They didn't have a baby stroller?

I think that if celebrity women want to avoid being criticized by the press then yeah, they probably do need to wear a different outfit pretty much every time.

but she's not a celebrity. Obama's the celebrity. Palin is a hockey mom, an average Jill, down-to-earth, the kind of person you'd want to have a beer with, not an elitist, not an arugula-munchin high-falutin wierdo. she's just like you and me (for select values of 'you' and 'me').

That's probably breaks down to about 30 or 40 outfits worth around $2,000 to $3,000 apiece which does not strike me as an unreasonable sum for someone to spend on a wardrobe for a female politician.

I used to work for a company that had as one of its subsidiaries a well-known cable television channel. They provided a clothes budget to their on-air talent. It was a pretty generous budget, and folks were encouraged to purchase very good clothes for wearing on air.

If any of the on-air folks walked in and said they needed not five, not ten, but thirty to forty outfits in order to do their job for ten weeks, and that the company should pay for them, I think they would have been shown the door.

Nobody needs 30 or 40 outfits. If you're a clothes horse, it might be nice to have, but you shouldn't expect other folks to pay for them.

I'm sure when the clothing is auctioned off eBay style and the proceeds are donated to various charities the story will be a little less nauseous

Yes, I'm sure the folks that donated $10, $50, or $100 to get Republican candidates in office will be delighted to know that, once Palin was done with the 40 suits their money paid for, the outfits were sold on ebay and the money donated to charity.

And Jes, loath though I am to wade into the "sexism" side of this, one reason folks aren't talking about how much Obama, Biden, and McCain are spending on clothes might be that they aren't spending six figures of campaign money on clothes.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Maybe we can get back to the real stories lost in this ridiculous fog - regarding spreading the wealth around

I'm all for it.

I'm with hilzoy -- if Palin wants to piss away six figures of Republican campaign money on clothes, all I can say is "go Sarah go". Who are we to criticize?

Hey, why waste time and money on ready to wear? I think she needs a trip to NYC, Paris, and Milan to stock up on couture stuff.

Go Sarah go!

But if you'd rather talk about spreading the wealth, let's talk about raising the top marginal rate by a whopping 3 points for 5% of taxpayers to pay for, among other things, two ongoing wars, debt service that is about 9% of the total federal budget, and $700B of bailout money (with more on the way) to keep the financial sector from tanking due to their own stupidity and greed.

And yeah, if there's anything left, maybe the rest of us can get a little tax break.

That, my friends, is a conversation I would love to have.

BBM, were I you, I'd keep the focus on whether all of us lefties are being mean for talking about Palin's clothes budget.

Thanks -

Sorry Jes,

while calling Palin "caribou Barbie" is sexist, complaining about $125,000 for a wardrobe is not. I rather suspect she would look just fine in a $25,000 wardrobe (and with a net worth of almost a million she could afford it on her own). And remember, Sen. Coleman has been catching all kinds of hell because one of his "buddies" has been buying his expensive clothes.

But I have question for you... Were you as upset as I at the implied sexism of "She should not run for VP because she has a special needs child"? the implication being that her husband isn't good enuf as a parent to pick up the slack?

Sexism is a double edged sword.

russell, if you were me you'd wish journalists reported honestly on the points you raise, then maybe your tabloid generated conclusions would sound a little less ridiculous.

Hell I'll bet when the dust settles, the clothing allowance isn't even accurate - nothing else seems to be these days.

Depends.

tom p: Were you as upset as I at the implied sexism of "She should not run for VP because she has a special needs child"?

Oh, probably a lot more upset. The notion that any woman should be turned down for a job solely on the grounds that she has a special needs child, or that her children are too young, or that she has too many children, is direct sexist discrimination. (That Sarah Palin is not qualified for the job for which she is applying is an entirely separate issue.)

You're right to note the sexist discrimination entailed in assuming that looking after children is "women's work" and to assume that a man is not a capable carer.

while calling Palin "caribou Barbie" is sexist, complaining about $125,000 for a wardrobe is not.

Actually, yes, it is. The sexism involved in women's clothing requirements - more clothing, and more expensive clothing, is always a requirement for women regardless which level they work at - is a factor for any woman who works anywhere but a company where she can just wear jeans, t-shirt, and sweatshirt just like any of the men will.

The real comparison would in fact be: the total cost of Hillary Clinton's campaign outfits, versus the total cost of Sarah Palin's, and presume that Sarah Palin was required by her campaign advisors to get that wardrobe in total. If you know how to cross-compare cost of men's clothing to women's clothing, you could compare the cost of McCain's campaign wear to Palin's.

Furthermore: unless it turns out that Palin instigated the mass buy, which at the moment I think there is no evidence of, I'd presume that the campaign told her she'd need a top-flight executive's wardrobe - and that Palin told the campaign in that case they could buy it for her. Blame our patriarchal, gendered society which demands celebrity women dress up - and then blames women for spending so much on clothes.

Hilzoy's gone along with sexist media attacks on Hillary Clinton in the past: this is one half of a decent blog post about Palin's failings, but the half complaining about how expensive her clothes are is just more of the same.

Jes, we already know that Obama's clothing budget is a fraction of Palin's. We can also see that Biden, though he hardly scrimps on clothing, also appears to keep his annual budget in four figures. No one complains about what McCain spends. It's his wife's money to do with as she pleases. I do have to agree with those who are perfectly willing to let the RNC spend as much as they want on Gov. Palin's clothes, though that is because I think they have been unwise.

As for her decision to rip off the 'taxpayers' of Alaska, that's their problem and they can do with it as they wish. The government of Alaska doesn't actually have to make any hard decisions or cut the budget because it's just a leech on the side of BP, collecting its welfare check from hardworking oil companies. Of course, that's also why being governor of Alaska doesn't provide any evidence that you can actually accomplish anything.

The sexism involved in women's clothing requirements - more clothing, and more expensive clothing, is always a requirement for women regardless which level they work at - is a factor for any woman who works anywhere but a company where she can just wear jeans, t-shirt, and sweatshirt just like any of the men will.

and who imposes that requirement?

i can probably count on one hand the conversations i've had with other men about what a woman wears to work. in my experience, men just don't care what a woman wears (unless it's outrageously tacky or inappropriate).

so, women pay far more attention to what women wear than men do, i'm a little puzzled by the idea that this "requirement" is sexist. how can something women impose on each other be sexist ?

maybe this is just a reflection on me and the people i know, of course.

maybe your tabloid generated conclusions would sound a little less ridiculous.

Yes, just the other day, while I was waiting in line at the supermarket, I noticed that all the tabloids were talking about the national level of debt and the combined cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

How foolish of me to parrot that prattle.

As an aside, my normal reaction to folks who characterize what I have to say as "tabloid generated" and "ridiculous", without offering any discussion of the substance of what I've said, is a hearty "piss off".

So, a hearty piss off to you, sir. Enjoy it in good health.

As always, nice talking to you.

Thanks -

Furthermore, any of this from September was money for the General Election - taxpayer money. Sarah Palin spent the better part of a year's worth of her salary on clothes, on my dime.

is this right? I thought RNC funds were capped for "in coordination" activities but were independent of the federal funds. Since this is being reported as part of the "in coordination" report, doesn't that mean it comes from RNC funds, not taxpayer money?

Either way, it's a hell of a lot of money, but given her t.v. ratings, I'm sure it will fetch plenty at auction, which seems a good explanation.

And Jes has several good points. How much did Ferraro spend on her clothes (although probably not as much because I remember her looking more matronly than Palin)?. That would be the only comparison on point other than Edwards' hair (and that's only a comparison if you concede he's a girl).

And I'm sure the clothes cost far less than a certain trip to Germany to get all those European votes . . .

As for the children traveling, was there any hue and cry over young Chelsea or JFK's kids? I'm sure Chelsea traveled to many events. I'm not clear on how this has been traditionally handled (did the Clinton's report Chelsea's travel expenses on their income taxes, or is it different simply because she traveled on Air Force One?). I, however, find it perfectly o.k. for a child of any governor or president to travel along at taxpayer expense to a point.

I think the clothing issue is a valid criticism that is taken too far. Campaigns are part (or mostly) show. Does erecting a Greek Temple in Denver for The One constitute anything different than the clothing? How?

And since we're on spending, I have seen very little analysis of how overall spending has affected this election. The presumption here is it is about ideas, and that's probably true to a degree. But given the huge differential in spending I don't know how you can say that with any certainty. I haven't been able to find the "McCain's Plan for America" cable channel yet.

And what's with the Obama being tied amongst NASCAR fans? Did Obama sponsor a team?

Jes, there is no reason for 40 different outfits. The best thing that Palin could hope for, politically, would be for the media to note that she wore the same outfit twice. Really, that would be a political god-send for her: it would enable her to do her hocky-mom-hated-by-the-elites resentment dance and turn it up to 11.

In any event, even if she did need a different outfit every day, she does not need an expensive outfit every day. She needs first class outfits when she's holding press conferences (i.e., never), doing interviews (once a month it seems), attending debates (once), or otherwise addressing the nation (the RNC convention and...what?). The rest of her days are spent giving speeches to small crowds or hanging out in diners. Media coverage showing her outfits from those events tend to be limited to local media and what those pictures show doesn't really matter because only a small number of people are ever going to see them.

Finally, the notion that Palin was powerless when given orders by the campaign is just batty. She's the VP candidate. If the campaign tells her to do something she doesn't want to do, the correct answer is "make me". What are they going to do, fire her? Dropping her is electoral suicide and everyone knows that.

Actually, I note the Politico article does provide a similar outline of expenses for the other candidates, even though (like Dowd, in 2007) you found that not worth quoting.

Maybe I missed it, but you still haven't explained what the heck you're talking about here. The article does not say that Obama/Biden spend anywhere close to $150,000 on clothing. Were you trying to mislead us or were you just very confused?

sanbikinoraion said "i think that if celebrity women want to avoid being criticized by the press then yeah, they probably do need to wear a different outfit pretty much every time."

Possibly true if the objective is to win applause from Project-Runway fans, but not if you're running for elective office. If your clothes are so noticeable that they attract a lot of attention (even if it's complimentary), then they're too much of a distraction from your main message.

If Palin and her handlers had the common sense of an artichoke, they'd have made bloody sure to buy her wardrobe off the rack at moderately-priced stores, and she'd have purposely worn the same suits over and over to tempt some snarky reporter to criticize her wardrobe. That would have provided a terrific excuse to go into her "just a thrifty hockey mom" schtick, and get lots of free publicity from the ensuing flap (cf. all the favorable press Michelle Obama got when she appeared on The View looking smashing in a $125 off-the-rack sundress).

Perhaps if Palin had spent less time trying on pricey outfits and more time studying briefing books, she wouldn't have made such a complete idiot of herself in her interview with Katy Couric.

This also seems to be just another indicator at how badly McCain manages money. He went broke during the primaries due to overly lavish spending. Before the conventions, he blew through a lot of money on ads attacking Obama that boosted his short-term poll numbers, but neglected the important long-term ground game.

Soni, high end business clothes are a very important thing to donate to charity- and not so homeless folk can wear Armani suits on the street. They are needed to give women who are just getting on their feet interview outfits (and outfits to start a new job). The inability to front the money for interview outfits is a real obstacle for low-income women.

This does strike me as a legitimate campaign expense, but I think the Republicans missed an opportunity. If they'd been smart, they'd have had Palin obviously rotating the same four outfits, they could have used that as a "yep, we're working class! yep, we're frugal!" talking point. I'm glad they didn't think of that.

PS Jes, I think the kind of discrimination you describe is becoming rare. I work in engineering and community college teaching, and it's been 25 years since anyone expected me to wear anything but business casual which costs no more than my male colleagues.

"They" made a 400$ haircut (ignoring that travel expenses were included) exhibit A in their attempt to show the leitism of the Dems. Give them their own medicine!

As for the children traveling, was there any hue and cry over young Chelsea or JFK's kids?

I don't know -- did the Clintons or the Kennedy's lie about whether or not their children were invited to these events, and lie about whether or not they were on official business when filing for expenses?

In a more lighthearted Moose Couture moment, check out the scarf Gov. Palin is wearing in this Recommend Diary at Daily Kos.

And while I'm highlighting Recommended Diaries tangentially connected to clothing expenses, there's this one about Obama resoling his shoes - and note I'm not claiming it's even representative of his clothing budget (no top-level pol dresses cheaply, and even if one wanted to wear only the fanciest shoes, the resoled shoes might well be more comfortable than a brand new pair), but in apposition it's an effective message ...

And what's with the Obama being tied amongst NASCAR fans? Did Obama sponsor a team?

Perhaps NASCAR fans have noticed that we have an economic crisis.

Regarding the virtue of "cloth coats" (Republican or not), take this with a grain of salt since the source is a DKos diary, but apparently Obama has his shoes resoled.

Jes, I think the kind of discrimination you describe is becoming rare. I work in engineering and community college teaching, and it's been 25 years since anyone expected me to wear anything but business casual which costs no more than my male colleagues.
Anne E, I wouldn't want to dispute that one of Jes's points. I (obviously) disagree substantially with her on this tempest in a teapot, but while midlevel or even top-level business attire amy be more equal, it is obvious that for top-level pols, people who are going to speak to crowds in the tens of thousands for broadcast to millions, the attire of the female pols is more closely inspected, more widely discussed, and even to my fashion-ignorant eyes much fancier and made of more interesting materials than the attire of the male ones. I could easily credit that it would be much more expensive.

I just don't think that a brand-new outfit for every single day of the campaign, charged either to small donors or to taxpayers, makes any sense.

P.S. Lest my disagreement be perceived as my being disagreeable, and because I see how many people are taking swings at Jes's position, I should perhaps reiterate that I value Jes's contributions to these forums, and agree with her far more often than not ...

it is obvious that for top-level pols, people who are going to speak to crowds in the tens of thousands for broadcast to millions

Warren, I honestly don't get this and I hope you can explain it. You're describing two distinct cases here, right? People at Palin's rallies can't see her clothes well enough: if you've got a crowd of 5000, by definition, most of them have to be so far away from you that they can't see what you're wearing. Plus, podiums tend to obscure a lot. Broadcasting to millions is a better case, but how many events has Palin been broadcast to millions? The debate, her RNC speech, and her 4 interviews, right? Then what? Most of her campaign speeches are not broadcast to millions of people. When she says something particularly obnoxious that the media note, we might get 10 second clips, but again, most of her clothing is obscured and the focus of the camera is on her face, not her garments. Beyond that, millions of people are not going to have time to scrutinize her garments in a ten second clip that is playing specifically because she is saying something obnoxious and provocative.

Palin isn't Operah. She doesn't do long format TV shows where millions of people watch her, unobscured, for an hour at a time. And of course, the best thing she can hope for is some cable news guy deciding to note that her clothes looked cheap.

So what am I missing here?

Soni, high end business clothes are a very important thing to donate to charity- and not so homeless folk can wear Armani suits on the street. They are needed to give women who are just getting on their feet interview outfits (and outfits to start a new job).

Oh, I get it. It's so that women just getting on their feet can wear $3,000 Armani suits to interviews for a job that pays 35k per year.

Seriously?

There are way too many issues going on here.

First, there's no question that the sexism embedded in western culture results in women spending more for both individual items of clothing (both in purchase and in cleaning costs) than men do, and in total: professional women have to have a much larger wardrobe than men. Even if I were wearing business suits, I couldn't wear the same suit more than once/week: the social expectations for women's clothing is for a much higher variety and volume than it is for men.

Obama and McCain and Biden can wear the same suit two or three times/week without anyone commenting, so long as they change their shirt/tie. Palin cannot (unless, as suggested above, they're making a point of it). And I think it's likely that Palin's existing warddrobe wasn't up to the challenge of a national campaign, and needed to be revamped and extended. Juneau isn't San Francisco, or even Minneapolis: you have a lot more flexibility in the hinterlands.

Hillary Clinton and Cindy McCain, and even Michelle Obama, as relatively wealthy women working in high-profile positions, likely entered the campaign with a more extensive warddrobe to draw from--but I can pretty much guarantee that they spent more on their clothes in the aggregate than any of their spouses did.

I doubt it's occurred to any of the McCain campaign staff the sexism inherent in the higher standards for Palin's warddrobe, but I'm a bit surprised nobody thought to wonder at how it would look if the costs came out.

The costs are the big issue: how does it look to have spent more in a day on clothing for the Palins than the average American family does in a year?

That strikes me as bad political thinking, or frankly not thinking. It didn't occur to anyone that it was going to look a bit dodgy? And what's it say about the campaign that nobody wondered about it? That right there says more to me about the McCain campaign than the actual choice of clothing. They're so out of touch it never occurred to them that $150,000 on clothes, makeup, and accessories would be seen as outrageous.

Turb,

So what am I missing here?
I understand the confusion, and maybe I could have phrased it better - but I meant that these were huge events attended by tens of thousands and broadcast to millions - that is, the same events. And yes, a big part of doing a rally is in the hopes that the cable news will play five minutes or more, and the broadcast news (at least the local news) will play 30 seconds. Also note that some rallies have huge television screens for those people who don't have a good view of the stage.

And she has had at least two televised events in which she was indeed watched by tens of millions for an hour at a time.

At any rate, my position is that it can easily be conceded that she needs a dozen or so top-quality outfits without conceding that $125,000 on clothes made any sense. From your comment I assume you agree with the second half; is it really worth arguing about the first half?

Jes: "And yeah, calling her Caribou Barbie is sexist."

Caribou Barbie - Sexist!
Joe the Plumber - Sexist!
Joe Six Pack - Sexist!
Hockey Mom - Sexist!
John Doe - Sexist!
John Q. Public - Sexist!
Suzie Homemaker - Sexist!
Mr. Jones - Sexist!

It gets wearying. SP's gender is not even on the reject list of reasons why she's so objectionable. So I guess according to this "logic" it was similarly sexist to refer to John Edwards as a Ken Doll.

Like I said, SP's gender is not on the list of why she's objectionable.

At any rate, my position is that it can easily be conceded that she needs a dozen or so top-quality outfits without conceding that $125,000 on clothes made any sense. From your comment I assume you agree with the second half; is it really worth arguing about the first half?

You're right: I agree with the second half and it is probably not worth arguing about the first half. I hadn't thought of the stadium TV angle at all. When I saw Obama during the primaries, I literally couldn't see him at all; there was just no line of sight.

Would Palin's wardrobe budget have been a story at $15,000?

Would Jes feel the same way if it had been $1,500,000?

Is either symbolism or principle utterly independent of quantitative considerations?

--TP

How is calling Palin "Caribou Barbie" sexist?

I don't intend this as snark. It seems to me that Hilzoy is trying to point out the contradiction between Palin's rhetoric and her actions. So when we hear her talking about "Joe sixpack" and regular working-class Americans and then see her spending in a month 3 or 4 times as much money on clothes as most people earn in a year it seems to undercut the core of her message.

This is why John Edwards, who championed the fight against poverty, was so widely criticized for his $400 haircut. How can he really speak out for poor people when he pays more for a haircut than most poor people earn in two weeks pay.

Both cases are instances where a candidate--through their own actions--seem to have undercut their core message. (This is what makes it different from the swiftboating of Kerry where he was slandered despite having a meritorious services record)

So the labels given to both of these candidates, "Caribou Barbie" for Palin, "pretty boy" for Edwards, are valid attacks in my book. They might be insubstantial or even unfair, but both candidates are percieved of as being more style than substance, thus these criticisms, unless effectively rebutted, are likely to gain traction.

For a real sexist attack you would just have to look back to the primaries and the articles about Hillary Clinton's cleavage. But dismissing Palin with the "Caribou Barbie" label, i.e. that she's all looks and no substance, is a shorthand for a substantive attack based on the perception of her being a lightweight.

Would Jes feel the same way if it had been $1,500,000?

if she runs a full campaign in 2012, it'll cost at least that much to keep her in new designer suits every day.

suckers

Aw, c'mon guys--she WAS being frugal. That $75 grand at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis: she saved the campaign/RNC bundles of money.

Cuz sales tax doesn't apply to clothing in MN.

/snark

[You know, if you tried to put this stuff in fiction, your editor and public would roast you for trafficking in caricatures.]

Jes, I don't think you realize how much top-end men's suits cost. I have shopped for my wife and myself for various levels of formality. Business suits actually cost MORE for men than for women, in my experience -- you need good tailoring for both, but men's suits use more material and are made to last longer because they're not expected to be replaced every year. Women end up spending more on clothes overall, but not because their business wear costs more per piece. They spend more because they replace often, they are expected to have a more varied wardrobe, men can wear more casual clothing on more occasions than women are usually allowed to (although my observation is that this is changing), and women's formals (ballroom-type stuff) cost an arm and a leg. But for campaign purposes, most of that is irrelevant. Palin just needs a dozen or so good executive-wear outfits, and maybe 3 formals, most of which she really should have had already as governor.

Any more than that and she really is just playing dress-up. "Caribou Barbie" may be sexist, but it also sounds pretty accurate in this instance.

Or, more likely, she spent campaign funds for what she hopes to wear in office, which should come out of her salary if and when.

unless it turns out that Palin instigated the mass buy, which at the moment I think there is no evidence of, I'd presume that the campaign told her she'd need a top-flight executive's wardrobe - and that Palin told the campaign in that case they could buy it for her.

Why would you presume that? At these prices, she wasn't giving a list of measurements to a staffer to go buy off the rack, she was having clothes fitted to her. She must have noticed at some point that they looked pricey. If she can't assert control over her own wardrobe, she's even more useless than she appears.

Given a budget of $150,000, and even allowing for the fact that women's clothes are more expensive, you could probably makeover me as a presentable female candidate (although I'd miss my beard).

given $150K, you could have a sex change operation and still have a few $10Ks left over for a hell of a wardrobe.

Question to ponder: is it sexist to note that someone is taking advantage -- or trying to take advantage -- of their sex?

re the 30-40 outfits being reasonable ...

HRC repeated outfits, Nancy Pelosi repeated outfits, hell I think even Condi Rice repeated outfits. And I noticed because they were very nice outfits, and probably worth about $2000 each. But they probably paid for them and, yes, they repeated them.

As for Michelle Obama, she repeats jewelry quite often. And her wardrobe is quite casual when she's not hosting a big venue. Her Jackie-O-ness has a lot to do with the seeming attainability of her wardrobe for women w/ less of a budget.

Palin can repeat, too. Especially since she seems so fond of the suit separates.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that we've had a fair share of caring about what the men looked like. It's not so long ago that people gossiped about earth tones and tie-less collars and Ferragamo shoes and flag pins and $400 hair cuts. Or that McCain should use something other than a green screen as a backdrop for his speeches. Or that Huckabee lost a lot of weight before he ran for office.

(Also, I doubt it's because Donatella Versace is suddenly interested in American politics that she made a men's suit collection inspired by Obama. More like: wow, that guy knows how to wear a suit!)

Our estimation of individuals is based on their appearance and what they own. This is an inherent part of our status/identity-obsessed consumer culture. Until this changes, complaining about how much people on the public eye spend on their outfits is useless and, at worst, hypocritical.

Liss on Palin's 'Pitbull Couture'.

Hmmm...I didn't think hard enough about whether the $150,000 in clothes, etc. presented an income tax problem, but it's looking likely.

See also similar issue with Nancy Reagan's designer dresses.

IANACPA, but I would have thought the tax situation was pretty clear: They are taxable, at least for the difference in value between when she gets them and when she gives them back, if she does.

The only time clothes provided for work are not taxable (or the cost is tax-deductible) is if they are not suitable for wear away from work. A circus clown's costume would qualify, for example. But if they are just ordinary clothes then they are taxable. If you work as a waiter and have to wear, say, black pants and a white shirt, that's taxable if the employer provides them, or non-deductible if you have to.

Soni and Davebo,

Chances are, when the McCain campaign says that the clothes will be donated to charity, they mean that the clothes will be auctioned off, with very wealthy people as the likely purchasers, and the proceeds given to charitable organizations.

So what am I missing here

A woman was criticized for spending too much on clothes. Obviously, this is de facto sexist and no amount of "circumstances", "facts", or "context" can make it otherwise.

Frankly, I think Hilzoy should be kicked out of the female gender for her obvious hatred of women. :)

The slogan writes itself: "That's a Change
(of clothes) you can believe in!"

Regarding the virtue of "cloth coats" (Republican or not), take this with a grain of salt since the source is a DKos diary, but apparently Obama has his shoes resoled.

Well he certainly isn't wearing new ones every day.

The caption said that he indeed told the photographer that he had already had that pair resoled once.

Obama has his shoes resoled.

Why is this considered remarkable? Who throws away a good pair of shoes rather than have new soles or heels put on?

I find it kind of ironic that the blog which I normally go to have non-serious discussions did a better front-page post and had a much more sensible discussion thread about this $150K issue than Obsidian Wings managed.

If you begin with sexist criticism of Palin, you undercut much better criticisms of Palin.

A couple of points. First, my 'Republican cloth coat' comment came from Nixon's 'Checkers speech.'

Russell, the real irony is that the person who was Palin's 'personal shopper' turns out to be the same person who provided the cheap apartment that got Norm Coleman in trouble -- and the same person whose company's robocalls were used against McCain in 2000 and for him in 2008 -- Jeff Larson.

As far as the claims of 'sexism' go, I have been following the campaign closely and have found very little evidence of any of this, against either Hillary or Palin. In fact, I go along with the comments from many women -- including my wife -- that treating a female candidate more 'gently' because she is a woman is one of the more demeaning forms of sexism.

No one claimed that Hillary, Palin, or, for that matter, Michele Bachman, committed their gaffes or were not deserving of our votes because they were women. Clinton ran a horribly mismanaged campaign, Palin is both ignorant and a reflexive liar who has lied about everything except being a 'hockey mom' (and few 'hockey moms' are worth over a million dollars), and Bachman is a total nut-case, and not one of these things would have been different if they were male.

It might be possible to argue that refusing to pick Hillary as VP because of Bill's influence is slightly sexist -- though I think it is a comment on Bill's force of personality -- but then how do you deal with the 'if you don't pick me, don't pick another woman because it would be an insult to me' position she is widely reported to have held. (In fact, I was supporting Sebelius for VP -- and was wrong to because Biden has proven to be the better choice.

And the only sexism about Palin seems to be Rick Lowry's 'starbursts' and other comments about how 'hot' she is -- which I don't see at all. (Actually, if you never heard them speak and could ignore the craziness in her eyes, Bachman is probably more attractive to my eyes.)

A couple of points. First, my 'Republican cloth coat' comment came from Nixon's 'Checkers speech.'

Russell, the real irony is that the person who was Palin's 'personal shopper' turns out to be the same person who provided the cheap apartment that got Norm Coleman in trouble -- and the same person whose company's robocalls were used against McCain in 2000 and for him in 2008 -- Jeff Larson.

As far as the claims of 'sexism' go, I have been following the campaign closely and have found very little evidence of any of this, against either Hillary or Palin. In fact, I go along with the comments from many women -- including my wife -- that treating a female candidate more 'gently' because she is a woman is one of the more demeaning forms of sexism.

No one claimed that Hillary, Palin, or, for that matter, Michele Bachman, committed their gaffes or were not deserving of our votes because they were women. Clinton ran a horribly mismanaged campaign, Palin is both ignorant and a reflexive liar who has lied about everything except being a 'hockey mom' (and few 'hockey moms' are worth over a million dollars), and Bachman is a total nut-case, and not one of these things would have been different if they were male.

It might be possible to argue that refusing to pick Hillary as VP because of Bill's influence is slightly sexist -- though I think it is a comment on Bill's force of personality -- but then how do you deal with the 'if you don't pick me, don't pick another woman because it would be an insult to me' position she is widely reported to have held. (In fact, I was supporting Sebelius for VP -- and was wrong to because Biden has proven to be the better choice.

And the only sexism about Palin seems to be Rick Lowry's 'starbursts' and other comments about how 'hot' she is -- which I don't see at all. (Actually, if you never heard them speak and could ignore the craziness in her eyes, Bachman is probably more attractive to my eyes.)

A couple of points. First, my 'Republican cloth coat' comment came from Nixon's 'Checkers speech.'

Russell, the real irony is that the person who was Palin's 'personal shopper' turns out to be the same person who provided the cheap apartment that got Norm Coleman in trouble -- and the same person whose company's robocalls were used against McCain in 2000 and for him in 2008 -- Jeff Larson.

As far as the claims of 'sexism' go, I have been following the campaign closely and have found very little evidence of any of this, against either Hillary or Palin. In fact, I go along with the comments from many women -- including my wife -- that treating a female candidate more 'gently' because she is a woman is one of the more demeaning forms of sexism.

No one claimed that Hillary, Palin, or, for that matter, Michele Bachman, committed their gaffes or were not deserving of our votes because they were women. Clinton ran a horribly mismanaged campaign, Palin is both ignorant and a reflexive liar who has lied about everything except being a 'hockey mom' (and few 'hockey moms' are worth over a million dollars), and Bachman is a total nut-case, and not one of these things would have been different if they were male.

It might be possible to argue that refusing to pick Hillary as VP because of Bill's influence is slightly sexist -- though I think it is a comment on Bill's force of personality -- but then how do you deal with the 'if you don't pick me, don't pick another woman because it would be an insult to me' position she is widely reported to have held. (In fact, I was supporting Sebelius for VP -- and was wrong to because Biden has proven to be the better choice.

And the only sexism about Palin seems to be Rick Lowry's 'starbursts' and other comments about how 'hot' she is -- which I don't see at all. (Actually, if you never heard them speak and could ignore the craziness in her eyes, Bachman is probably more attractive to my eyes.)

Don't know why the multiple posts, and apologies, please remove them. Got an error, refreshed the page, saw it wasn't posted, and reposted, then all three showed up.

And the only sexism about Palin seems to be Rick Lowry's 'starbursts' and other comments about how 'hot' she is

Saying it three times won't make it any more true, Prup. Shakesville's Sarah Palin Sexism Watch is currently on its 26th episode.

And the only sexism about Palin seems to be Rick Lowry's 'starbursts' and other comments about how 'hot' she is

Saying it three times won't make it any more true, Prup. Shakesville's Sarah Palin Sexism Watch is currently on its 26th episode.

"And no one's mentioned the bazillions of forced union dues being spent on a campaign to steal the right to vote from American laborers."

Please explain?

AnneE makes a very good point. If you have good-looking business attire that isn't being used, consider donating it to organizations like (for women) Dress For Success or The Women's Alliance (or any local group, of course - for any other Philly region folks, there's The Career Wardrobe. For men, it's a bit trickier, but there is apparently stuff out there.

"The best thing that Palin could hope for, politically, would be for the media to note that she wore the same outfit twice. Really, that would be a political god-send for her: it would enable her to do her hocky-mom-hated-by-the-elites resentment dance and turn it up to 11."

Ooh, I think I know that one - it's just a step to the left, and then a jump to the right . . ..

Anyway, while I'm surely overthinking this, it does seem to play into the mythological contradictions at the heart of so many current GOP, well, myths. The humble hockey mom with the numerous top-dollar outfits- it's of a piece with fantasies about class and wealth and such . .

". A circus clown's costume would qualify, for example. "

That seems strangely appropriate.

[typepad being wacky, please forgive possible double-posting]

"And no one's mentioned the bazillions of forced union dues being spent on a campaign to steal the right to vote from American laborers."

Please explain?

AnneE makes a very good point. If you have good-looking business attire that isn't being used, consider donating it to organizations like (for women) Dress For Success or The Women's Alliance (or any local group, of course - for any other Philly region folks, there's The Career Wardrobe. For men, it's a bit trickier, but there is apparently stuff out there.

"The best thing that Palin could hope for, politically, would be for the media to note that she wore the same outfit twice. Really, that would be a political god-send for her: it would enable her to do her hocky-mom-hated-by-the-elites resentment dance and turn it up to 11."

Ooh, I think I know that one - it's just a step to the left, and then a jump to the right . . ..

Anyway, while I'm surely overthinking this, it does seem to play into the mythological contradictions at the heart of so many current GOP, well, myths. The humble hockey mom with the numerous top-dollar outfits- it's of a piece with fantasies about class and wealth and such . .

". A circus clown's costume would qualify, for example. "

That seems strangely appropriate.

"And no one's mentioned the bazillions of forced union dues being spent on a campaign to steal the right to vote from American laborers."

Please explain?

AnneE makes a very good point. If you have good-looking business attire that isn't being used, consider donating it to organizations like (for women) Dress For Success or The Women's Alliance (or any local group, of course - for any other Philly region folks, there's The Career Wardrobe. For men, it's a bit trickier, but there is apparently stuff out there.

"The best thing that Palin could hope for, politically, would be for the media to note that she wore the same outfit twice. Really, that would be a political god-send for her: it would enable her to do her hocky-mom-hated-by-the-elites resentment dance and turn it up to 11."

Ooh, I think I know that one - it's just a step to the left, and then a jump to the right . . ..

Anyway, while I'm surely overthinking this, it does seem to play into the mythological contradictions at the heart of so many current GOP, well, myths. The humble hockey mom with the numerous top-dollar outfits- it's of a piece with fantasies about class and wealth and such . .

". A circus clown's costume would qualify, for example. "

That seems strangely appropriate.

It may be sexist, but it sure is fun to watch the McCain campaign run around like chickens with their heads cut off. One day they're saying that the VP is "President of the Senate" (watching http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/pat-buchanans-epic-fail-defense-pali>Buchanan's head explode while he's shouting it to Matthews was great fun -- you could see Pat didn't buy it himself, but he HAD to support the dregs of his party), the next they have no clue who authorized Palin's wardrobe.

Great fun.

One would think someone named Levi would refuse clothes from fancy pants Neiman Marcus.

Oh, look, yet another discussion of a legitimate issue derailed by Jes's hair-trigger bristling over the slightest hint of perceived sexism.

I can't believe we have to keep having this conversation, but since there are still people who fail to grasp this point: Not every criticism that befalls a female public figure is sexism, and not every unkind word that references gender is sexist.

Every one of Hilzoy's points was concerned with:
- Official Corruption: Palin charged the state for personal expenses. Whether you or I think the state /should/ pay for those things in an ideal world is beside the point.
- Inauthenticity: Palin's exorbitant wardrobe budget is in direct conflict with her "everymom" image.
- Schadenfreude at Republican Fail: that's $150k that won't be spent on vile robocalls or down-ticket races, and watching Republican donors get pissed off because their money went to Palin's wardrobe is hilarious.

This story isn't being written about the male candidates because the male candidates aren't spending $150k of their donors' money on clothes. It has nothing to do with gender, it has to do with what the candidates are or aren't doing. Your equal time complaint is about as ridiculous as complaining about a post on McCain's torture flip-flops because it doesn't examine the (not really) shifting positions of the other candidates.

Insisting on reading this story through the lens of "look, a woman spent a pile of money on clothes, how stereotypical" is shallow, and misses the point by a lot. If that's the only standpoint from which you're capable of viewing this, Jes, then you ought to be addressing your sexism lecture to the mirror.

Official Corruption: Palin charged the state for personal expenses

True, but not relevant to Hilzoy's title or the first half of the story, which was about how the RNC spent $150 000 on a campaigning wardrobe for Sarah Palin and family.

Inauthenticity: Palin's exorbitant wardrobe budget is in direct conflict with her "everymom" image.

True, and if that was Hilzoy's point, it would have been neat if Hilzoy had, you know, made it in her original post. (I have to admit I find it hard to get worked up about this: One, because only a Republican fool would believe that Sarah Palin's "everymom" image was anything but a fakeout: Two, because I bet the Republican fools will regard news of the $150 000 wardrobe as evidence of how their party rewards a woman for being "everymom".)

Schadenfreude at Republican Fail: that's $150k that won't be spent on vile robocalls or down-ticket races

Which is a valid point that, to my mind, got kind of lost in Hilzoy skewing the story towards "OMG, Palin's extravagance!" I mean, that $150K could buy McCain a lot of TV ads, couldn't it? Well, maybe a bit of one.

and watching Republican donors get pissed off because their money went to Palin's wardrobe is hilarious.

Really? Where did Hilzoy link to a news story about Republican donors getting pissed off because of the RNC spending $150 000 on Palin's wardrobe?

It seems to me you are responding to a post that you yourself made up in response to my criticisms, that would have been a much better post than the one Hilzoy actually posted.

So it seems that despite your complaints that my pointing out the sexist flaws in the original post is "hair-trigger bristling over the slightest hint of perceived sexism", you are in fact capable of taking in my criticisms and revising the post that Hilzoy wrote to one that wouldn't have triggered them: one that focussed on actual issues worth complaining about. (Plus, if there was a news story about Republican donors complaining, a cooler link...)

wouldn't it be funny if the owner of one of the stores that sold Palin's clothes came forward and reported that he "found no sales that matched that amount, nor any combination of sales that added up to" the total that was reported by the RNC... ?

yes, that would be funny.

and sexist, too. i'm sure.

wouldn't it be funny if the owner of one of the stores that sold Palin's clothes came forward and reported that he "found no sales that matched that amount, nor any combination of sales that added up to" the total that was reported by the RNC... ?

yes, that would be funny.

Money laundering?

True, and if that was Hilzoy's point, it would have been neat if Hilzoy had, you know, made it in her original post.

Mea culpa on this point (inauthenticity), as the explicit mention of this was from posts elsewhere. I do think, however, that complaining about this is akin to complaining because one of the Edwards haircut bloggers didn't explicitly state that they're pointing out the contradiction with his "working man" image. The argument makes itself.

True, but not relevant to Hilzoy's title or the first half of the story

Which does not make the point magically cease to exist from Hilzoy's post simply because it inconveniently contradicts the narrative you're pushing. And while we're on the subject, what irrelevant first half of the story are you talking about? The first half in which Hilzoy links to the relevant story?

Which is a valid point that, to my mind, got kind of lost in Hilzoy skewing the story towards "OMG, Palin's extravagance!" I mean, that $150K could buy McCain a lot of TV ads, couldn't it? Well, maybe a bit of one.

Funny, that point was the one I found the most interesting from a horse race standpoint. It wasn't lost to me at all, but then, I also don't view the world through oppression-colored glasses.

Really? Where did Hilzoy link to a news story about Republican donors getting pissed off because of the RNC spending $150 000 on Palin's wardrobe?

You know, it doesn't really do you any credit when you break a sentence in half, acknowledge that the first half of it is a valid point, and then demand I support a claim in the second half that I didn't make. I didn't say Hilzoy linked to a news story about Republican donors being annoyed at this, although since you seem to imply it's my imagination, accio link. I said that it was hilarious, and it is.

So let me get this straight--out of four points of contention here, in one I acknowledge I remembered it from another post, in another you completely mischaracterize what I said, and in the remaining two you admit that Hilzoy made them but try to minimize their presence because they don't fit with your narrative of whining that coverage of Palin's wardrobe is sexist.

Hilzoy's post does not magically become sexist simply because you either missed or ignored the things she wrote in it besides comments about shopping.

In the meantime, I'm still waiting for you to show any sign that you understand the core issue here: "[t]his story isn't being written about the male candidates because the male candidates aren't spending $150k of their donors' money on clothes. It has nothing to do with gender, it has to do with what the candidates are or aren't doing." Accusing Hilzoy of sexism over this does not exactly improve your already-diminished credibility on whether or not something is sexist. Crying wolf has a way of doing that.

I mean, that $150K could buy McCain a lot of TV ads, couldn't it? Well, maybe a bit of one.

My anti-sexism shields are up, and I ain't wading in on what is or isn't sexist.

I just wanted to jump to note that the RNCC is dropping ad buys in several Congressional districts, including MN-6, home of Michelle Bachmann.

$150K probably won't buy a lot of air time in NYC, LA, or DC, but I'm thinking it might make a dent in Minneapolis.

They're cutting her loose.

Does it make me a bad person if I'm ROTFLMAO?

Thanks -

I'm sorry, but just because Sarah Palin is a woman running for high office does not mean she needs to spend over $2000 each for over 30 outfits. She should be able to afford a very nice outfit for under $500, and I'm being generous. She does not need to be a glamazon to run for V.P.

But yeah, since I'm not a republican donor, I suppose I have nothing to be upset about. It is amusing though.

$150K probably won't buy a lot of air time in NYC, LA, or DC, but I'm thinking it might make a dent in Minneapolis.

HuffPo:

    From October 13th through October 19th, the McCain campaign and the RNC spent a combined $125,000 on advertisements in New Hampshire, roughly $90,000 in West Virginia, and $86,000 in Maine. In each of those states, the Republican ticket is fighting Obama for a small but potentially significant number of electoral votes.

    In North Dakota and Georgia, the RNC and the McCain campaign did not spend a penny on advertising during that same week. These two states seem likely to break for McCain, but it is not inevitable: Obama could potentially pick off their votes.

Why did I say "Shop On"? Was it because of sexism? No, it was because she was shopping with the RNC's money, money that might otherwise be used to support Republican candidates in tough races. Had she spent it on, oh, buying cruise missiles, I would have said the same.

So I guess according to this "logic" it was similarly sexist to refer to John Edwards as a Ken Doll.

Yes, that was sexist too. Ken was the doll without balls that girlies played with. I doubt people would call David Beckham a Ken Doll if they wanted to point out that he spends to much on his haircuts.

To quote Hilzoy on the Edwards haircut:

Male Democrats are routinely criticized for being somehow insufficiently manly, and criticized in terms whose meanings can -- no pun intended! -- expand and contract so that they can be taken to refer to all sorts of things; and it's hard to discuss that without seeming to buy into those terms of criticism.

You do realize that 'insufficient manly for the job' is sexist?

Question to ponder: is it sexist to note that someone is taking advantage -- or trying to take advantage -- of their sex?

It can be if it reinforces attitudes and behaviour based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles in society.

I must admit that I am still rather shocked by how difficult it is for a group of smart educated left-leaning people to recognize sexism above the most obvious levels.

Question to ponder: is it sexist to note that someone is taking advantage -- or trying to take advantage -- of their sex?

It can be if it reinforces attitudes and behaviour based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles in society.

I must admit that I am still rather shocked by how difficult it is for a group of smart educated left-leaning people to recognize sexism above the most obvious levels.

OK. I give up. I'm an educated left-leaning person, and I honestly do not understand how "not[ing] that someone is taking advantage of their sex" is in itself sexist. Is the approved feminist position simply to ignore such behavior? Or is it acceptable to note it if, and ONLY if, it is accompanied by a background essay on how patriarchy forces us all into such stereotypical roles (which premise, by the way, I accept, but do not normally find necessary to point out at all conceivable junctures)?

Could you explain, please, for those of us apparently not as "smart" as others?

And rereading the comments on that post lead to a link by KCinDC about the cost of Bush's suits.

Oxxford Clothes is pleased to announce that we will be dressing President-elect, George W. Bush for the Inauguration. [cut] They gathered at President Elect George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas for a second fitting last Saturday. Mr. Bush was so pleased with the fit of his tuxedo, suit, and topcoat and trousers that he immediately ordered six more garments.
They used the finest fabrics and designed only simple, timeless shapes. This guiding principle ensures Oxxford continues to create topnotch garments for a price --$2,000 to $14,000 --that loyal customers are willing to pay.

I honestly do not understand how "not[ing] that someone is taking advantage of their sex" is in itself sexist.

*Can be* sexist, not *is* sexist. For instance: I've had regular comments about how my achievements in sales weren't due to my skills or knowledge (I sold big computersystems, with software, consultancy, training, etc.), but due to me being female and if I only would wear shorter skirts or opened one more button I would have an even easier time. Don't you see that their (often well intended) remarks were sexist?

I have to go to sleep now. But maybe this piece in the guardian makes things more clear.

"I must admit that I am still rather shocked by how difficult it is for a group of smart educated left-leaning people to recognize sexism above the most obvious levels."

Sorry, but which "group" is sharing identical thoughts here? And by what mechanism are they all thinking identically, and how do you identify the members of the group?

Or might you try criticizing individuals, perhaps? Rather than tarring goodness knows who as members of this "group"?

Would you welcome it if I, or anyone else, lumped you in with a "group" of people here? Gosh, you people, dutch, sure are sexist.

Does that make any sense?

If not, why not follow the golden rule?

And you might also keep in mind, while you are mindreading an unidentified "group" that the fact that any given individual isn't chiming in to either agree, or make a similar point, does not, in fact, mean that they don't agree with you on that or similar points.

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