There's been surprisingly little attention paid to one of the most conspicuous happenings on the campaign trail in the past 8 weeks. And by that I mean Sarah Palin's makeover. Sure, there are the occasional bits here and there about which manufacturer her glasses come from, or what the "sexy" new highlights mean. And there was a story early on about how the campaign didn't really want people to know that she had stylists picking out clothes on her behalf. (As if she might actually have chosen them herself. Maybe they thought people would assume Cindy gave her shopping tips?) But the big question — the real question — has gone essentially unasked. That question being: Who is paying for all those designer duds?
Today it came out that the wardrobe (and hair and makeup) is indeed all being charged to the campaign, to the tune of $150,000 so far. John McCain, you might recall, took public funding — that's money that came straight from taxpayers who checked the box saying they'd like $3 of their taxes to go right into the presidential campaign pool. In other words, the American people bought Sarah Palin those clothes. So the new question is, who gets them when the campaign's over? If she winds up with a vice presidential salary, she can afford to buy her own new clothes. And if she doesn't, well, she'd look a little out of place in these in Wasilla (which she prefers to Juneau), even if that were appropriate. So it seems to me that, either way, come November 5th the right thing to do would be to donate them to Dress for Success. [CORRECTION: As noted in the comments, the fashion money is coming from the RNC, not the taxpayer fund, which relieves my indignance. My point about what would be appropriate Nov 5 stands.)
Meanwhile, we've got TV anchors, pundits and bloggers eager to talk about this unprecedented occurence. David Gergen told Anderson Cooper tonight that he's never heard of a clothing allowance for a candidate (much less the candidate's family; some of the money also went for Todd's and the kids' clothes). When Cooper asked why they'd do it in this case, Gergen could only shrug.