Had the purchases been made by the McCain campaign, it would be a conversion of campaign money into personal use, which is prohibited. The same rule does not apply to money from party committees.Yes, diabolically devious of them -- wasn't it? -- to follow the law.
Yesterday, I cleverly drove 25 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone.
That's tucked down at the bottom of the NYT article by Patrick Healy and Michael Luo. Let's pick over the rest of it:
... Republicans expressed fear that weeks of tailoring Ms. Palin as an average “hockey mom” would fray amid revelations that the Republican Party outfitted her with expensive clothing from high-end stores."Tailoring" and "fray" ... a cute use of sewing and fabric metaphor.
Healy and Luo note that she needed the clothes and needed someone to accomplish the shopping for her, as she was suddenly thrown into constant campaigning in widely variable climates.
Yet Republicans expressed consternation publicly and privately...Can you quote any?
[O]n “The View” ... Joy Behar, a co-host, noted the McCain campaign’s outreach to blue-collar workers — like an Ohio plumber who recently chided Senator Barack Obama over taxes — after another co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, defended the expenditures....Behar, not a Republican, but a Democrat and a comedian, surely had a comic opportunity and took it. More about her joke in a minute.
“It looks like nobody with a political antenna was working on this,” said Ed Rollins, a Republican political consultant who ran President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. “It just undercuts Palin’s whole image as a hockey mom, a ‘one-of-us’ kind of candidate.”Oh, yes, Ed Rollins, last seen advising Mike Huckabee and making the insightful comment: "To me, hitting somebody, knocking somebody down, is a great feeling. Firing out a negative ad just feels amazing... What I have to do is make sure that my anger with a guy like Romney, whose teeth I want to knock out, doesn't get in the way of my thought process." I'll bet he wasn't the first guy Healy and Luo phoned up to get an Republican mouthing the quote they wanted.
And that's the only on-the-record, negative Republican quote.
Now, back to that Joy Behar joke: "I don’t think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks." Note how spectacularly Behar fails to get Joe the Plumber's way of thinking.
Joe was not yet successful, but had a dream of buying his own business, and he thought the incentive structure should remain place. He didn't want those making $250,000 to be subjected to confiscatory tax rates.
You may think that Joe the Plumber -- and the "I am Joe the Plumber" types -- are foolish not to express antipathy toward those who are economically successful, but they do not. As they put it they want to get rich too. They look at rich people -- or so they say -- and think -- not: that bastard doesn't know how I struggle -- but: I want to get there too.
In this light, Joe the Plumber wouldn't look at Palin's nice clothes and seethe with jealousy. He would think: I'm inspired to work harder so I can get some great clothes too.
Now, 2 things:
1. Palin was given the clothes. She didn't earn the money to buy them. So maybe she's not Joe's model of success. Joe doesn't want a handout. He wants to earn it and not have the government take it away. But Palin attained the level of success that made other people want (and, really, need) to give her these things, which is earning them.
2. Behar was also trying to be funny with the image of a man wearing fancy women's shoes, but Manolo Blahnik does make men's shoes:
Yes, slingbacks and open toes. Blue suede shoes. Deal with it. Need to go more conservative?
I can see Joe in those! The "What Not to Wear" guy, Clinton Kelly -- that repressive bastard -- says those shoes say "Hey look what I have on that you don't have the balls to wear." I say: have the balls.
ADDED: This newer "I Am Joe the Plumber" makes the point even better than the one I linked to, above: