October 24th, 2008

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Fiscal responsibility? Elitism?

The McCain/Palin campaign spent $150k of contributor dollars (or was that public financing dollars?) to spruce up Sarah Palin's wardrobe for the campaign.

$150,000. That's "pay off the mortgage" money for folks outside California. It's half our mortgage.

Palin's make-up artist is the highest-paid member of the McCain/Palin campaign staff, coming in at over $22k for the first two weeks of October.

$22,000. That's "replace a crappy old car" money with change left over.

I understand that Palin has to look good for the camera; it wouldn't do for a former beauty queen to repeat Nixon's mistake of 1960. This, though, is irresponsibility on a grand scale (by "little peoples'" standards). It's so far beyond John Edwards' $400 haircuts and Hilary Clinton's $3,000 beautician visits it's not funny, and it's all for less than 8 weeks of the end of the campaign.

Yet some people trust these candidates with their tax money.
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Why is Palin's shopping spree relevant?

Besides that it's fiscal madness and so far beyond the means of "Joe Six-Pack" that the McCain/Palin campaign cares so much about?

Well, there's the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act:

SEC. 313. USE OF CONTRIBUTED AMOUNTS FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.
(a) PERMITTED USES-

...
(b) PROHIBITED USE-

(1) IN GENERAL- A contribution or donation described in subsection (a) shall not be converted by any person to personal use.

(2) CONVERSION- For the purposes of paragraph (1), a contribution or donation shall be considered to be converted to personal use if the contribution or amount is used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate's election campaign or individual's duties as a holder of Federal office, including--

(A) a home mortgage, rent, or utility payment;
(B) a clothing purchase;
(C) a noncampaign-related automobile expense;
(D) a country club membership;
(E) a vacation or other noncampaign-related trip;
(F) a household food item;
(G) a tuition payment;
(H) admission to a sporting event, concert, theater, or other form of entertainment not associated with an election campaign; and
(I) dues, fees, and other payments to a health club or recreational facility.


So buying clothing is deemed a conversion for personal use and prohibited. It doesn't matter that Palin's giving it all to charity after this is over.

But wait, it's the RNC spending the money, not the McCain/Palin campaign!

Sec. 323
'(a) NATIONAL COMMITTEES-

'(1) IN GENERAL- A national committee of a political party (including a national congressional campaign committee of a political party) may not solicit, receive, or direct to another person a contribution, donation, or transfer of funds or any other thing of value, or spend any funds, that are not subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of this Act.

'(2) APPLICABILITY- The prohibition established by paragraph (1) applies to any such national committee, any officer or agent acting on behalf of such a national committee, and any entity that is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained, or controlled by such a national committee.


Nope, they're subject too.

So the RNC and the McCain/Palin campaign are violating the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act? The same act that McCain uses to shore up his flagging "maverick" status? Sure looks like it.
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Race baiting alive and well?

Photographer Rachel Hulin found this flier being distributed while campaigning in Northern Wisconsin:


Mind you, she was campaigning for the Democrats and the Obama campaign, and they weren't distributing this flier. She found out about it when a worried older Democrat brought it in to the field office.

This is the area of the country that my family comes from (my dad was born at Ashland Hospital, my grandfather died in Ashland). Most folks are as white as the snow that blankets the land for way too many months of the year. Dark-skinned folks are Italians or Native Americans. Black people live somewhere else. I've got an aunt and uncle who, while otherwise sensible people, were already worried that if Obama got elected he would fill the White House with black folks (for which my dad mercilessly tweaks them). They don't need faked campaign propaganda pieces to stoke up their unease about race.

This goes so well with the McCain/Palin Campaign volunteer faking up a story of how a big black man mugged her because of the McCain bumper sticker on her car and the McCain/Palin Campaign running with the story.