Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Different Kind of Republican?

So you know the story the R's have been trying to sell: Sarah Palin is a new kind of Republican; not as corrupt, more mavericky.

The news of the last few days, which may not seem too important taken separately, really seem to reveal that she is every bit as venal and self-dealing as the old Alaska hands like Ted Stevens. I think these stories about the expense accounts and so forth are not a side show at all, but reveal the candidate's character.

Big money first. The story that broke overnight tells us that the Republican National Committee dropped $150,000 on her, spending money at Nieman-Marcus, Saks, and Barney's. Obviously she needs to look good, but $150K? That's what Josephine the Plumber spends on clothes? Sure, they eventually cooked up the story that they're giving the clothes to charity after the campaign, but I'd like to see that in writing from before the shitstorm started, wouldn't you?

Then, we also get the story that in her job as governor of Alaska, Palin charged the people of Alaska over $20,000 to fly her kids around the country on various jaunts, put them up in hotels, and otherwise show them the high life. Then, when she gets caught on it, she goes back and doctors her expense reports to they look like official state business, but those claims are particularly transparent.Possibly the worst of it was when she flew her kids to the National Governors' Association convention.Expense forms describe the girls' official purpose as "NGA Governor's Youth Programs and family activities." But those programs were activities designed to keep children busy, a service provided by the NGA

to accommodate governors and their families, NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear said.

In other words, she takes her kids to a convention, puts them up in the babysitting service they set up for governors' kids, and then claims that they were on official state business because they got in on the babysitting program. Nice, huh?

And, following the rule that three data points make a trend, we can go back to earlier in her career as governor. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

So what do these incidents have in common? In each case, what we see is Sarah Palin using her official position as an elected official (or candidate) to enrich herself. You could argue that the thing with the kids is just because she's a devoted mother who wants to spend time with her family, and I have no problem with that, but I do have a problem with charging the state for what is a purely personal expenditure.

How is this any different from Ted Stevens letting someone build a house for him?

I guess it's a good thing that the McCain-Palin slogan of the week is "Country First", and not "State First".


Anonymous Tom McC said...

Well put, John. Although I think we've seen in the past month or so that Palin is a different kind of Republican. She's the kind that can't figure out how to stay with Republican talking points....

In regard to this whole episode, I just heard a GOP supporter on CNN talking about how Biden can't be lunch-bucket Joe because he has some enormous house...but doesn't McCain have 7 or 8 houses?

October 23, 2008 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course worry about palin's wardrobe and cost.
Obama's looking tattered and worn ?
him and the missus ?

carry on.
Keep worrying about how many houses,cars a republican has while totally neglecting net worths of keneddy,pelosi,boxer etc.

Don't mention ACORN,ayers,a 100% antiwhite church,chicago politics,voter fraud or obama's goon squds.

worry about palin's wardrobe.

October 27, 2008 11:23 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

I think it's ridiculous how much attention and importance McCain's campaign have been forcing down people's throats about William Ayers. It seems not to matter that when this "terrorist" was active, Obama was EIGHT YEARS OLD. I also find it kind of funny, yet completely expected, that the same campaign that has been putting so much emphasis on connections to this man has completely brushed aside Senator McCain's relationship to Gordon Liddy.

I may just be a stupid college student (in Arizona, by the way, where love for McCain is supposed to flow from the dry riverbeds), but the emphasis the McCain-Palin campaign has placed on Ms. Palin's down-to-earth, middle class status and therefore ability to relate to the middle class of "real" America merits a close look at her extravagant expenses and use of state funds to pay for her to live in her own home, among other ridiculous charges.

If McCain and Palin are serious about relating to the average American, I think it is ignorant and hypocritical to criticize people for analyzing the fact that McCain has 7 houses, or the tens of thousands of dollars spent on Ms. Palin's wardrobe. Unless, of course, the members of "real America," which have become so important to the McCain-Palin campaign in the past week, all own 7 houses and several thousand dollars worth of clothing.

But hey, what do I know. I only have a brain.

October 28, 2008 12:16 AM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

Hey, Alex, great to see you here!

Good point about G. Gordon Liddy. It tells us something that we know all about the connections between Obama and Ayers, and Obama and Wright, but we mostly only know about McCain and Liddy because Dave Letterman was all up in his shit about it. Who are the journalists supposed to be here, and what are they supposed to be doing?
And when is someone (besides us) going to start calling them on it?

October 28, 2008 10:06 PM  

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