What would Joe the Plumber think?
As some Republicans continually try to peg Democrats as latte-drinking, sushi-eating “elitists” who are out of touch with ordinary Americans, here comes yet another example of their hypocrisy.
The Web is ablaze today with news that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has spent more than $150,000 on clothes and accessories for vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her family since August.
Politico.com reporter Jeanne Cummings combed through financial disclosure reports filed by the RNC to find the information. It reveals items like $49,425.74 spent at Saks Fifth Avenue, $75,062.63 spent at Neiman Marcus, $9,447.71 spent at Macy’s, $295 in expenses for clothing for Palin’s youngest son, and $4,902.45 spent at Atelier, a men’s clothing store — perhaps for “First Dude” Todd Palin.
Yes, Joe Six-Pack, the GOP feels your pain.
Also, the RNC spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September, which was the first full month that Palin was on the ticket. Readers with long memories will recall that Republican leaders had a field day last year when it was revealed that then-Democratic presidential contender John Edwards spent $400 for a haircut.
Without a hint of irony, McCain’s campaign issued a statement that criticized such inquiries into the expenses.
“With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. “It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.”
In an odd bit of timing, writer Thomas Frank questions the GOP’s claims to “authenticity” in an Op-Ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal. Frank writes that the Republican Party has cynically convinced many working class voters over the past 30 years that it cares about their economic well-being, while touting the free market as a cure-all and acting against that demographic’s best interests.
“Here is the key to this whole strange episode: Government is artifice and imposition, a place of sexless bureaucrats and brie-eating liberals whose every touch contaminates God’s work,” Frank writes. “Markets, by contrast, are natural, the arena in which real people prove their mettle.
“This is not a good time for market-based authenticity, however. It now seems that those real, natural Americans who make markets go also cook the books, and cheat the shareholders, and hire lobbyists to get their way in Washington. They invent incomprehensible financial instruments and have now sent us into a crisis that none of them has any idea how to solve.”
As if things couldn’t get worse for McCain’s campaign, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a Web site connected to al-Qaeda is endorsing McCain for president.
A posting attributed to Muhammad Haafid said McCain would continue the failed policies of President Bush, which would harm the United States and benefit the jihadist movement. Haafid hoped for a terrorist attack before the Nov. 4 election, so it would prompt fearful Americans to vote for McCain.
“It will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaeda,” the posting said. “Al-Qaeda then will succeed in exhausting America.”
On the bright side, there's now less than two weeks until this is all over.