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Rose Ann DeMoro Headshot

Hockey Mom or Neiman Marxist?

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The secret is out. There is a Marxist in the Presidential race. She's just not on the Democratic ticket. The real Marxist is in the McCain camp, the Neiman Marxist adorned in that fetching $150,000 wardrobe.

Contrast that with say, Geri the nurse who can be outfitted in scrubs for just $10 for a hospital shift. The same $150,000 would outfit 15,000 RNs.

At the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee we've created our own fashion statement -- a new website www.dresslikepalin.com that let's you imagine other ways the Republican Party, Sarah Palin and John McCain could have spent that $150,000.

In addition to the 15,000 scrubs, the same $150,000 would buy 15,000 chef coats, 5,769 painter's bibs, 5,000 police shirts, 4,687 auto mechanics' coveralls, 3,750 pilot uniforms, or 3,571 housekeeper uniforms. You know, all those working people McCain and Palin pretend to stand for.

Not bad for one month of threads. That's an annual clothing budget of $1.8 million, right up there in Richistan territory. That's the world described in the 2007 book by Wall Street Journal Wealth Report columnist Robert Frank, the land of people who buy 450-foot yachts or 60,000-square foot homes with built-in bowling alleys and 2,000-gallon aquariums.

Somehow Palin's shtick about being the "hockey mom" and the voice of "Joe Six Pack" rings a little hollow when you're strutting around in your $500 Cole Haan Boots swaddled in a $2,600 Valentino Jacket with your $865 Louis Vuitton handbag on your arm.

Dressing up Palin in her Neiman Marxist line doesn't quite square with the faux populism the McCain camp has been running out as the champion of Joe the Plumber. Indeed, the $10,000 devoted to two weeks of hair styling is more than the average Joe the plumber earns in two months.

Palin and McCain want us to believe they suddenly feel the pain of families crushed by un-payable bills. It's a harder sell when you're festooned in a jacket that would pay the entire winter heating bill for two Midwest families, or adorned with makeup that would pay for 224 mammograms, 651 flu shots, or provide 14 years worth of the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor for one patient.

Then again, maybe Palin is just aspiring to reach the lofty standards set by Cindy McCain, she of the 9 houses and 13 cars.

Cindy McCain, of course, earned her own Richistan spurs when she sashayed across the stage of the Republican convention last month in her own wardrobe estimated to ring up the cash registers at some $313,000. That includes her three-carat diamond earrings, four-strand pearl necklace, Chanel J12 White Ceramic watch, designer shoes, and her $3,000 Oscar de la Renta dress.

John McCain, in his effort to show empathy with the plight of those so long discarded and disdained in the Bush-McCain years, now says he wants to help families facing the foreclosure of their homes. Maybe he could start by auctioning off Cindy's GOP duds.

The Cindy McCain outfit by itself exceeds the median price of a house in Miami, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New Orleans, and St. Louis.

Or if they really want to impress those battleground states, they could use the price tag for Cindy McCain's outfit to buy two homes in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Columbia, Mo., Columbus, Oh., or Ocala, Fl.

Oh, go ahead. Splurge. For the same cash you could buy three houses, and really impress the voters, in Saginaw, Mi., South Bend or Ft. Wayne, In., Erie, Pa., or Akron, Toledo, or Youngstown, Oh.

You remember those towns. The same ones devastated by the tax breaks McCain and George Bush gave to corporations to ship the towns' jobs overseas, back before McCain suddenly converted to the people's hero.

Richistan is not a real place, it's a state of mind and wealth. Neiman Marxist isn't a store. Neiman Marcus is a store. And when you're wearing their $150,000 line, it's hard to pretend you're someone else.