I joked about it yesterday, but I’m second-guessing today. Exactly why the fuss over Sarah Palin’s wardrobe expenses? How much does John McCain spend? Or Barack Obama? Obama looks damn sharp every time I see a picture of him and that’s gotta cost some money, right? John McCain doesn’t look sharp, but in just about every picture, his shirt has those “new shirt” folds like the plastic just got peeled off and none of his people know how to use an iron. It doesn’t look good, but it does cost money, right?
I poked fun at it yesterday, as I was still marvelling at the disconnect between spending such money on clothes and calling your opponent’s ideas “socialist”, riding the “socialism for the rich” line, but I’d like to retract those statements. There are so many real issues at stake in this election, so many real reasons that a local figure like Sarah Palin might be difficult to figure in such a national position, that to besmirch the argument with such open sexism is harmful to the discussion.
These campaigns are spending more money than FSM to get their people in the top seats, and this naturally will include carefully crafting the television image. All of this costs money, but it’s small peanuts on the scale of the entire election cycle, where the final pricetag this time around will undoubtedly be well north of a billion dollars. Money spent on image is (unfortunately) every bit as legitimate an expense as anything else in a political campaign, it’s just that the results are more visible and direct. If we really were concerned about how much this is costing, we’d see a report on how much fuel is being wasted while these guys bounce around the country in jets, the price of which will pale the sartorial budgets of all involved.
Now, if the media is prepared to release how much it costs to make Barack Obama look as sharp as he does and John McCain functionally animated, then I’ll jump back in. The discussion would then at least be fair, if irrelevant to the issues at hand. Until then, it’s just sexism, pure and simple, and I’m sorry about participating in it.