Question: What's the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom? Answer: A $150,000.00 wardrobe. Buzz and I had promised to not write about Governor Sarah Palin, but two tidbits from yesterday were too good to pass up. First, it has come to light that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has spent $150,000 on clothes and accessories for Palin and her family. Second, in news that must come as a shock to the eight living Senate majority leaders, pictured above, the Vice President, according to Palin, is "in charge" of the United States Senate.
According to Politico.com, the Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000.00 to clothe and accessorize Palin and her family since she was picked by John McCain as his running mate. "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. The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September. The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August." That's a lot of lipstick!
The McCain camp's initial response was: "The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent." After questions about the legality of the expenditures were raised, the campaign revised its remarks. "With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."
For a woman who claims she's just a "hockey mom," we must assume that her definition of "hockey mom" is a little different than ours. Remember the flack John Edwards got for his $400 haircut or Hillary Clinton got for two hairstyling sessions that cost $3000. For someone who claims she's just one of us, like Joe the Plumber, she has in the words of Ricky Ricardo "some 'splainin' to do."
Clothinggate is not a major issue, but it is a bit amusing. What is more troubling is her response to a question asked during an interview with KUSA-TV in Denver. In a feature called "Question from the Third Grade." The interviewer asked, "Brandon Garcia wants to know, 'What does the vice president do?'"
Palin's response is as follows:
"That’s something that [my 7-year-old daughter] Piper would ask me! That's a great question, Brandon, and a vice president has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the president's agenda, they're like the team member, the team mate to that president, but also, they're in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it's a great job and I look forward to having that job," she said.
We really don't have a problem with the first part of the answer. The Vice President can be said to be a "team mate to that President, but the second part of the answer is just wrong. This is not the first time Palin has been asked about the job of the Vice President.
Palin was originally asked in July if she was interested in the job of Vice President. She said she would first have to know "what the Vice President did every day." She was asked a similar question during the Vice Presidential debate. She responded. "Of course, we know what a Vice President does. And that's not only to preside over the Senate and will take that position very seriously also. I'm thankful the Constitution will allow a bit more authority given to the Vice President if that Vice President so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the President's policies and making sure too that our President understands what are strengths are."
Article 1, Section 3 of the US Constitution states "(T)he Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided." Article 2, Section 1 states "(I)n Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death,Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President." Amendment 12 states "the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President." Amendment 20 states "if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified." And finally, Amendment 25 states (I)n case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President." Or in the case of disability of the President, Presidential "powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President."
These are the only places in the Constitution where the job or duties of the Vice President are mentioned. So in short, he or she presides over the senate and breaks tie votes, and takes over if the President can't perform his or her duties. He or she is not "in charge of the Senate." Even Dick Cheney, who had some unusual views on he Vice President realized that he was not "in charge"of the Senate. In fact, Cheney's most memorable moment in the Senate was when he told Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to "go fuck yourself" in June of 2004.
Buzz and I may be a little old fashioned, but we believe before you seek a job the least you should do is know what the job duties are, especially if they are listed in a multitude of place (including every 5th Grade Social Studies book.)