D.C. tea! Hack gold! | Bleader

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

D.C. tea! Hack gold!

Posted By on 10.22.08 at 09:58 AM

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I predict today's outrage will be:

"The Republican National Committee appears to have spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

"According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74."

As usual, elitist coastal bloggers don't get it (nor do RNC donors, apparently). Matt Yglesias (emphasis mine):

"No more making fun of John McCain’s expensive shoes for me — $520 for a pair really does look down-home and working class compared to his everywoman running mate"

I know there's strategic and ideological interest at work, not to mention some karma, but: you have to be kidding me. You know what people of limited or modest means, and no exposure to or interest in elite ideas of taste, do when they get paid? They buy shit. Lots of shit. (And clearly the Palin family can't just go to the RNC and say "gimme $150K to invest"; there's a really specific spigot with a likely expiration date.) Look up nouveau riche or Parvenu. Go to Graceland. Watch MTV Cribs. Look at household debt.

One of my teachers growing up, one of the first people I knew from old money--old Southern money--told me a great truth once, though I don't remember the occasion. New money is shiny; old money is worn. New money is about buying things; old money is about inheriting things. New money will put the best-looking rug on the floor and replace it when it gets dirty or styles change; old money will have a worn Persian rug (click to expand thumbnail; I took the photo at a next-level-elite southern country club, with a section designed by Jefferson) because old money isn't about being rich, it's about being rich for generations.

In other words, class resentment is not the resentment you are looking for here. Jealousy, perhaps. The Palin family's RNC-funded* spending spree might violate good judgment, but not class. It makes sense, even if it's not sensible, so to speak.

* Also, she's a GWB-era Republican from an oil state. Getting while the getting is good is clearly the point of the current Republican Party and the national political establishment generally for years now; the circuit has been closed. This is peanuts; try not to act so surprised.

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