This morning I caught a brief glimpse of Survivor has been TeeVee star Elizabeth Hasselbeck talking about the criticism of Sarah Palin’s recent shopping spree, which amounted to $150,000 worth of new duds, courtesy of the Republican National Committee. Introducing Palin at a Florida rally, Hasselbeck called this criticism of Palin “deliberately sexist.”
This is an issue that is definitely worth considering. It is a fact in our society that women are judged more harshly on their looks than are men. So merely criticizing Palin for what she wears would indeed be terribly sexist. But that’s not what the controversy over the somewhat manic $150,000 spree is about.
A few days ago I read a post over at Mudflats that summed it up very nicely:
While I don’t claim to know what is going on in the minds of Republicans these days, I recall my Grandmother, who passed away in 1986. She was what I like to think of as a “good Republican”. She was fiscally conservative, quietly religious, and kind-hearted. She had no patience for scandal or dishonesty from politicians, and when presented with same, would sit herself down at the table in her sunny yellow kitchen and write a letter to the offending party, in small, perfect penmanship, giving them “a piece of her mind.” Sometimes the envelope would be reused, if she had received one in the mail in good condition. Why waste paper? She had raised a family during the Depression, and she understood the value of things. She donated to Republican candidates; not much, but she gave what she could. I never asked her personally how she felt about Richard Nixon. I suspect that Watergate gave her unending heartburn, but I also suspect that Nixon’s comment about how Pat Nixon didn’t have furs, but wore “a respectable Republican cloth coat,” resonated with her. My Grandmother had a respectable Republican cloth coat too.
I shudder to think what this principled woman, with whom I once shared a home, would think about Sarah Palin. What would be going through her mind if she had lovingly and dutifully written her $15 check, in her perfect penmanship, to the RNC, only to find out that it had been used to laminate Sarah Palin with a shiny red leather jacket and new stiletto heels? It would take 10,000 Republican grandmothers like mine to pay for that wardrobe.
You see, I don’t care that she wears designer clothes, even though it’s horribly hypocritical to do so when claiming to be “just another hockey mom, joe six pack.” No, it’s not what she wears, it’s how she’s paying for it. If I found out that my donations to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton had gone to pay for their wardrobes, I would be furious! I mean, what a scam!
The McCain Campaign has come out with some major damage control spin, saying that the clothes will be “donated to charity.” As Mudflats says,
So, keep your eyes peeled for a shiny red leather jacket at a Salvation Army store near you, and I’ll let you know if Sarah Palin comes back to Alaska in a respectable Republican cloth coat.