The Real Problem With A $150,000 Clothing Budget

The McCain campaign has done its best to portray Governor Palin’s connection to mainstream America.

A few headlines from this afternoon:

  • Group files complaint over Palin clothes
  • Salvation Army: We’ll take Palin’s clothes
  • McCain has terse response on Palin shopping spree

There’s some mainstream media traction with the revelation the McCain campaign spent $150,000 on clothes for Sara Palin and family. It seems like a lot of money to me, but that’s not my problem with it. After all, I get a clothing allowance–though a tiny percentage of hers.

I’d like to keep this non-partisan, but I can’t find an easy analog from the Democrats. This is not a $400 haircut and I’ll tell you why. John Edwards is a wealthy man.

The McCain campaign has done its best to portray Governor Palin’s connection to mainstream America. It is among their most repeated bullet points. She is the “hockey mom from Wasilla.” And yet, when they wish to physically portray her, they want to show affluence a hockey mom can’t afford.

Is the real fear a true portrayal of a hockey mom’s clothing budget just isn’t as appealing? Are we being sold sizzle or steak?

Whatever the bottom line, this is a temporary annoyance for the Republicans, but it keeps them off their game while already weak.

The Wrong Polls

Uh… guys… that’s not how we elect a president.

I keep watching the national cable networks talk about the upcoming election and touting polls. It’s very close. Just a few points separate the candidates.

Uh… guys… that’s not how we elect a president.

You don’t need a majority of the voters to become president. You need a majority of electoral votes. Though that race is reasonably close, it’s not as close as the simple horse race numbers. is a typical site showing current Electoral College sentiment. In this race Obama-Biden is much farther ahead of McCain-Palin. is another site breaking it out this way. also predicts Obama-Biden and breaks it out with more stats than even I want to see (and I love stats). They claim there’s a 78.5% chance Democrats will prevail versus 21.5% for the Republicans. That’s a little less than 4:1 odds, which is very strong. It’s stronger still when you consider is only calling for Obama-Biden to receive 50.6% of the popular vote!

Obviously things can change. A candidate can make a major faux pas or inject a wild card (like Sara Palin’s nomination for VP) to shake things up. Right now it’s Obama-Biden’s to lose.

I just wonder why the national media chooses to dwell on meaningless aggregate popular vote projections? They mention the Electoral College, but as an afterthought not as their main point.

Does it just make for a more interesting story when it’s more of a horse race? Do they think Electoral College numbers are too complex for mere mortals to comprehend? We’ll probably never know.