Thursday, October 23, 2008

some days you can't win for losing

I often wonder if it is at all possible to lower the political discourse in North America from its current bottom feeder level... so far it’s like looking into an endless abyss. This morning the papers are all going a-gad screaming about the cost of US GOP VP nomination wardrobe costs. The Toronto Star:
CHARLOTTE, N.C.–Dressing up the self-styled hockey mom cost the Republican National Committee more than $150,000.

Small potatoes in a big election, Republican officials said, after trips to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and St. Louis and Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis for Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin were uncovered by the U.S. political website

Well, maybe it’s because the GOP didn’t want a repeat of this criticism – taken from the Washington Post:

(Photo - Herbert Knosowski -- AP)
At yesterday's gathering of world leaders in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the United States was represented by Vice President Cheney. The ceremony at the Nazi death camp was outdoors, so those in attendance, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were wearing dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots. Because it was cold and snowing, they were also wearing gentlemen's hats. In short, they were dressed for the inclement weather as well as the sobriety and dignity of the event. The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.

Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.

Like other attendees, the vice president was wearing a hat. But it was not a fedora or a Stetson or a fur hat or any kind of hat that one might wear to a memorial service as the representative of one's country. Instead, it was a knit ski cap, embroidered with the words "Staff 2001." It was the kind of hat a conventioneer might find in a goodie bag.

It is also worth mentioning that Cheney was wearing hiking boots -- thick, brown, lace-up ones. Did he think he was going to have to hike the 44 miles from Krakow -- where he had made remarks earlier in the day -- to Auschwitz?

(…)There is little doubt that intellectually Cheney approached the Auschwitz ceremony with thoughtfulness and respect. But symbolism is powerful. That's why the piercing cry of a train whistle marked the beginning of the ceremony and the glare of searchlights signaled its end. The vice president might have been warm in his parka, ski cap and hiking boots. But they had the unfortunate effect of suggesting that he was more concerned with his own comfort than the reason for braving the cold at all.
Let us not lose sight of the fact Palin’s new wardrobe did not come from the public purse and I have seen Palin in an old parka, but how Vice-Presidental will she look campaigning in it?

1 comment:

Chris Taylor said...

I was going to say that Cheney's gear looks like a standard USAF arctic parka, so he probably took his formal overcoat, then realised it was DAMN cold and borrowed something more insulating from the aircrew that flew him there.

Then I saw the boots. Not very likely he borrowed those. =)