Palin and McCain: Dressing for Joe Six-Pack

11/11/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We all put our pants on one leg at a time. But when you're running for public office, there's a whole lot of thinking about which pair of pants you're putting on.

David Brooks' recent New York Times Op-Ed column, The Class War Before Palin, hit home what I'm sure the McCain/Palin wardrobe team has been strategizing all along: There are more Joe Six-Packs in this country than there are champagne-swirling, National Review-reading Republicans. Today's core Red State voters care about guns, tailgates and the man upstairs.


And guess who is hopping right into her pencil skirt and peep-toes for these rebel rousers? Bouffant Barbie of course!


The Washington Post's Robin Givhan said it best when she wrote, "Sarah Palin's style is exceptionally ordinary. Nothing about it connotes authority. No detail announces that she is in charge." What? Winking doesn't convey power? Canvas totebags promoting moose hunting as the new Sunday morning activity for Joe Six-Pack and Jane Winecooler don't scream "we don't want your foreign oil?"


The point is, Sarah Palin and her hockey moms, grandpas and second cousins don't want her to be authoritative. They're not looking for an old guard Republican like Cindy McCain with her multi-millionaire's wardrobe. Oscar de la who? They want a woman who is "just like me!" "Why every morning I wake up and tease my hair till it's big enough to hide a small rodent in, tell my knocked-up teenage daughter that a marriage by force is better than no marriage at all, have someone fired cause gosh darn, I don't like them very much and then go shoot a moose for supper." Frankly, if I were a Republican, I would be offended that Sarah Palin likened herself to me.

But this is her thing. She is dressing for Joe Six-Pack. Does Joe Six-Pack want a woman who wears fancy Parisian frocks that cost a month's salary? Or one who wears the Armani pants in the family? Well if you're judging from the McCain/Palin team, he sure gosh darn don't.


And Palin the puppet is ready to walk right into their gun-toting arms. In fact, she has been ready since day one. Her bad highlights and her layers of puffy bangs scream "don't mind me, I've been filing my nails in a log cabin for the last decade and didn't know the bouffant was now reserved for burlesque dancers and women who think Vogue is a devilish jig invented by Madonna (cue giggle)." I'm pretty sure my college feminist literature professor is vomiting every time she sees bouffant Barbie. Don't worry Professor Hart, I am too.

As for John McCain, I imagine he has a small battalion of wardrobe mavens with hypnotic voices soothingly saying over and over "Real men don't care about clothes! War heroes don't cry if a jacket doesn't fit in the shoulders!" HuffPost blogger Alan Au, whose job is to dress a man of McCain's stature, has suggested countless improvements on the Senator's ill-fitting, drab wardrobe. But nothing changes. The man simply wants to dress badly. He's got a wife made of money who wears Chanel and drips in diamonds. The man has the means to dress well. He just really, really doesn't want to. Joe Six-Pack wouldn't approve.

It's exactly how your high schooler feels. Sarah and John just want to fit in! They want good ol' Joe to invite them over for a pig roast and six ice cold domestic beers. Or maybe Palin really does believe the old saying "The higher the hair, the closer to God."