Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oct. 23: The Governor's New Clothes

By Sylvia Gurinsky

(With apologies to Hans Christian Andersen)

Once upon a time, there was a woman who ran for governor of Alaska by veering from the status quo. She told the voters, "I'm not like the big-spending establishment." And they were pleased and elected her. Two years later, this woman was picked as the Republican nominee for vice president.

But she had gaps in her knowledge of the constitutional requirements for the job, and in her knowledge of foreign policy. A former beauty queen, she tried to gain the approval of the populace with winks and turns of phrase. Her public efforts to tell voters "I'm one of you" and say she was a "hockey mom" won many fans, even with concern about her lack of political experience and controversial opinions on many issues.

She traveled thousands of miles on the campaign trail. Questions started popping up about her spending as the governor of Alaska. But still, she was welcomed as regular folk.

Then, someone got the not-so-bright idea to get campaign clothes for the governor from the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Before long, the bill for the Republican National Committee totalled $150,000. It was a far cry from Pat Nixon's "Respectable Republican Cloth Coat."

$150,000 on clothes, when millions of Americans are losing their homes, their jobs, their 401Ks and their health insurance. $150,000 on clothes, when millions of Americans don't know where their next meal or shelter will come from.

One day, the governor, whose disconnect from the realities of most of the American people was now plain to see, went to a campaign rally.

And in front of everyone, a voter cried out:

"Look! The governor has no clothes!"

(Updated: Correcting fourth paragraph to include the word "respectable")

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