Thursday, October 23, 2008

the end of sarah palin

In September, we brought you a two-piece special series on the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska [The Palin Pick and The Sarah Palin Show].

At that point, after the American public was still getting introduced to the governor, we argued that Palin seemed real to voters in Middle America, and that Barack Obama's supporters would do well not to ignore Palin's "everyman" appeal.

After today, we've changed our mind. We're retracting that warning. Why? Because now, it will be hard for Middle American voters to view her as much more than a fraud.

After weeks of battling her public image as Tina Fey "mocked" her and Katie Couric "tricked" her, she seemed to redeem herself by not falling flat at the vice-presidential debate.

But now she has suffered a death knell: it has been revealed that the Republican National Committee provided Palin with a $150,000 wardrobe from high-end retailers, including over $75,000 at Neiman Marcus and nearly $50,000 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

In a time when the Democratic ticket is leading the Republicans by double digits in most polls and has already amassed over 270 electoral votes in most predictions, this is the nail in the coffin for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

If this were Cindy McCain (and it has been), we wouldn't bat an eye. Why? As the Style section of the Washington Post says this morning, a shopping spree doesn't go against McCain's public persona. It isn't unexpected or out of character. McCain has never tried to appeal to "Joe Sixpack." (And we're sure that Barack is forever grateful today for his wife Michelle's ability to shop on a budget.)

But Palin is almost desperately middle-class- and she never lets the media or the voters forget her humble beginnings. While her spokesman has said that Palin has intended to give the clothes to charity in some way after the election ends, I'd like to hear a surrogate or Palin herself explain how the shopping trip matches anything that the candidate has said on the trail over the past couple of months.

The fact is that it doesn't. Not at all. Not ever. And there's no defense for Palin to be dressed in Valentino while she criticizes liberal regions of the country for not being "real America."

The act is up, Sarah. It's time to return your expensive wardrobe- but you can keep a winter coat, because you may need one back in Alaska.

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