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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

A Hypothesis on Why Palin's Cosmetologist Is Paid So Much

I wanted to introduce this post with a riddle, but the punchline was too juicy not to use in the subject heading. The New York Times decided to go through the FEC reports from McCain/Palin 2008 and see what they could find. Highlights:

Not Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser; not Nicolle Wallace, his senior communications staffer. It was Amy Strozzi, Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night.

Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “Personnel Svc/Equipment."


Now, one could be given to mockery, but I think that this speaks to a lot of things. While there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that women in politics are judged more harshly on their appearances than men are, this brings up some interesting points. Yes, Sarah Palin, as a woman is judged more harshly on her appearances than any man or woman would be, but to go this far offers up an interesting hypothesis. What if the McCain/Palin campaign aren't trying to sideline her appearance and her gender, but, instead use her unbelievable good looks as a tactical weapon?

We've already seen the campaign demonstrate their contempt for women by thinking that they would vote for a candidate of their own gender, regardless of their ideology. We've seen the campaign demonstrate their contempt for women by assuming that they could exploit a statistically insignificant PUMA movement. We've seen the campaign demonstrate their contempt for women by refusing to stand behind a bill that would give women standing to sue over pay inequities. I could go further in listing the particulars, but I think that we can take it as pretty reasonable to assume that most people believe that the McCain campaign is possessed with a contempt for women.

What if the reason that they're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars that are supposed to go to party building and supporting the Republican brand at large on buying her clothes and tens of thousands on her makeup is because they don't think that she's good for anything else? We've already seen complaints that they are over-coaching her and not letting her be herself. Having stuffed words in her mouth, put clothes on her back, shoes on her feet and lipstick on her mouth, what's possibly left of the real Sarah Palin? Maybe they hope that they can rely on her sex appeal to sell an otherwise losing brand. We've all read about Rich Lowry's starbursts:

A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It's one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O'Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it

As much as I disagree with Palin on matters of policy, campaign tactics, fact and, well, everything, there's still a part of me that feels sorry for her if this is the case. She's a successful politician in her own right, and to be turned into a campaign commercial bimbo is insulting to not just her, but to women everywhere.


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