The US presidential campaign has already descended into a make-believe world of cosmetic saturnalia, and in this looney world, one should not be surprised if the Republicans pull off another White House coup on Nov 4.
This campaign has been disrobed to the level of slipshod slip-ups.
The initial kerfuffle generated by the $150,000 spent on the Palin wardrobe has now degenerated into a scandalous $22,800 paid to the vice presidential candidate’s make-up artiste, Amy Strozzi.
Don’t blame Strozzi. She is a professional who commands a high fee and comes with an enviable reputation. Few can transform a pitbull into a vice presidential candidate overnight with the right lipstick and hairdo. Good talent is hard to come by these days, and Strozzi has a better grasp of fashion than Sarah Palin has on her politics.
By the time this campaign is over, Palin’s cosmetic expenditure should cross above $200,000. That is more spent here on skirts, shoes and hairpins than on John McCain’s foreign policy bluster.
To be fair, Randy Scheunemann — McCain’s foreign policy kook — deserved no more than the perfunctory $12,500 that he didn’t need anyway.
Besides, when viewed clinically, this breakdown of expenses does justice to reflect Palin’s grasp of international affairs vis-a-vis her impressively blossoming sartorial expertise.
However, where is the hockey mom in this Barbied-up doll? Common folks are supposed to identify with this person but the only thing they got was the double entendre of “Drill Baby, Drill!”
They loved it. Palin looked like someone they could never be, and by voting her in, they can vicariously join the makeover enterprise.
Take a look at the women chosen to gush over Palin during the Republican National Convention, and you will understand the swooning power of comparative, visual propaganda.
“Drill baby, drill!”
Oil may have fallen to the $60s range, but that slogan remains valid. Wall St, Main St, the US public and the rest of the world will be screwed unremittingly till there are no holes left in any one of us.
The evangelical conservatives may have (mis)calculated the cosmetic appeal vis-à-vis the growing bread and butter realities, which, now affects almost 90 per cent of the population. Forget Neiman Marcus and Saks where Palin shopped in a huffy; even Walmart is a definite luxury these days.
There is little loose change in a world where both Republican and Democratic candidates rant about a “change” that the hoi polloi can “believe” in. The prevalent fear now is another Great Depression. Plummeting industrial, commodities and stocks markets are dragging us away to the precipice of no return.
Workers are being laid off in droves, and many will be laid bare – on the streets. But as Marie Antoinette famously said: “Let them eat cake.”
The McCain-Palin circus is one without the bread. We get to see a nice dressing, topped by a deliciously crusty and scintillating icing that has no leftover value for the masses. Pro-life candidates who take much pride in their anti-abortion stance have not done anything to alleviate the plight of pregnant mothers – ever.
Furthermore, don’t they know that pregnant women are medically prone to lose their babies in a world of financial duress?
Anyway, what is the plan to protect unborn babies? I have not seen the details, especially when it comes to either state support or funding.
Palin’s track record is just that: An appropriately named son and a dodgy record that is being assiduously traced to the delight of tabloids. That spoor trail leads back to Troopergate, Third Reich-style vetting of library books and the question of why a pregnant Palin took more than 22 hours – including a flight from Texas, and a drive from anchorage — to see a doctor after developing contractions with amniotic fluid leakage at a Dallas energy conference.
How many pro-life mothers would wait that long, especially when carrying a vulnerable baby diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome?
It gets better.
In Palin’s and evangelist James Dobson’s universe, unwed teenage pregnancy has morphed into a “celebration of life” religion that needs universal embrace in keeping with the times.
And have you heard the lament that parents just can’t control their children these days? It is the fault of the goddamn liberal media which, continually poisons the minds of young ones. Only Fox News broadcasts the pristine truth.
After all, Fox’s parent company, News Corp, also owns the bible-publishing house of Zondervan, and… the lucrative DirectTV porn channels.
When parents, politicians and the church make such sleazy compacts, children are literally left holding their babies, and evangelists are routinely caught with their pants down.
Another naked truth
I wonder what the McCain-Palin team plans to do with the porn industry? Like News Corp that bundles its weak fleshes, seductive spirits, and dreadful news into a super prime financial empire, porn and conservatism often go hand in hand. Rick Warren counts himself as the personal pastor of News Corp moghul Rupert Murdoch.
If porn is banned, many evangelical finances will run dry. It is not going to happen. The sheep must be trodden by the goats in the natural selection of species till restitution cometh on Judgment Day.
You think the McCain-Palin team will have to gall to overturn the Miller vs California (1973) ruling that opened the floodgates to laissez-faire porn?
It is easy to take on Roe vs Wade (significantly, also 1973) in public, though 20 years of Republican rule since Ronald Reagan had done squat to ban abortion. It is an emotive electoral slogan that pulls enough wool over the sheeple’s eyes, and this time around they are glazed by the impossibility of a quadrillion dollar derivatives market propped by a global GDP worth a piddling $54 trillion, and falling by the day.
Is this a change we can believe in? It is not a matter of belief; it is history transpiring right now. Even Fox News cannot hide the graphic downward slides of Dow Jones. But who knows? When hunger strikes, we may be enjoined to the chorus of “Drill baby, drill!”
Roe vs Wade will not be that important in the coming weeks and months. When a house is built on sand, it will crash with the next big tide.
Anyway, even if abortion is banned, it is poor who will still hold the baby. Palin blazed the way by slashing financial support for unwed teen mothers early this year. Months later, her teen daughter is pregnant. Is this divine retribution for parasitizing compassionate conservatism?
How many teen mothers can afford the lifestyle and limelight enjoyed by Bristol Palin and her impregnator, Levi Johnston? It is easy to drill the poor and screw them up with conservative value sloganeering while not walking the talk.
The final step would be to drill the White middle class out of existence, as a significant number among them represent compassionate conservatism in its realistic, non-hypocritical form. The present financial crisis will do just that – to remove this moral restraint from the American public sphere forever.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the demographic composition of the top US and British universities at the post-grad level. There are more foreigners in there getting the best of Western education, and they do not have to tramp through five colleges in six years. Sarah Palin has not learnt from her own experience, and like many of her background, morality and patriotism are pegged to the value of the dollar.
These are the naked contradictions of conservatism, or should we call them the bare, thinly-draped facts? To walk the extra mile to a new audience, they need a wardrobe of suitably moral sequins to play up the right occasion. This is a closet change we can surely believe in, for the worse.
The breadlines may be getting longer, but tell that to Cindy McCain. Her $300,000 outfit at the Republican National Convention clearly reeked of an appalling perception management blunder on the part of the organizers.
Either that, or it was electoral hubris at its best Sure, she is a rich heiress but the whole catwalk exuded a lack of sensitivity towards people who were struggling with loan defaults and unemployment.
As for Palin, she claims that the Republican party had bought — and owns — her wardrobe. Implicit in her now trademark double-speak is that this is a lend-lease arrangement that will expire post-election. The goods, if I infer correctly, must be returned to Republican Party Hq, where, they may be placed on Exhibit A, sharing the spotlight with a Diebold machine.
However, what happens to the $12,000-$15,000 spent on her lingerie? Will they be auctioned off, post-January? The perfect attire comes with a perfect blend, and the costs are symmetrically perfect as well.
Those who may be tempted to view me as a voyeuristic jerk do receive an open apology in advance. I was once a national math Olympian for my school and haven’t yet shaken off a lingering conditioned impulse towards statistical breakdowns. I like the barest figures.
Even a peep-hole will not reveal any fresh initiatives from either camp. The only thing that catches my eye in this circus of “change” is the fashion statement, be they a maverick hoax, a pair of hyper-waxed legs or a colored guy with a colorless campaign.
If I were an American, I’d vote for the moose. Both parties had better candidates, but the puppeteers were the same.
Why am I concerned? If the United States crumbles, it is bad for democracies everywhere. With candidates like these, prepare for a more militaristic world.
The attire then will come in uniforms. That is the real change we can ominously believe in!