I have to confess that I disliked her from the moment she opened her mouth. The snarky sneer. Torturing the language. Delivering lies with a straight face. Discussing hot button issues with ice cold emotions.
Sarah Palin was a star the instant she stepped onto the national stage -- and became the flashpoint of the election. Maybe it's living so close to the North Pole that makes her so polarizing -- magnetically attracting attention both pro and con. Partly due to her prose, her pros are diminishing, and I've watched with satisfaction as most of the country came around. Until suddenly I find myself spinning in the opposite direction.
So she believes she can stare down Putin from her porch. So she believes evolution is new age fiction. So she believes in witch hunters and forcing women to have the babies of their rapists. Underneath the beehive hairdo and behind the sight of her rifle, Sarah is just a woman like me, and I've dug deep into my soul to find a little sympathy for her.
Finally, this week, I found common ground: at Neiman Marcus. I have to confess that at times, I too have allowed my shopping to get out of control. I would be happy to allow the Republicans to pay for my splurges. Not to mention having a professional makeup artist on call. But I think the core connection between Sarah and many women is this: who can resist the lure of the Cinderella story?
It was a fantasy in Pretty Woman, when Richard Gere handed Julia Roberts a free pass to Beverly Hills and she morphed into appropriately attired arm candy. But for Sarah Palin it was real -- the Republican fairy godmother really did wave the magic wand -- and Sarah found herself in Gucci rather than the Gap. And is there any doubt that the modern version of the glass slipper would be labeled Manolo Blahnik?
So I forgive Sarah for her emergence as the Victoria Beckham of politics. And for proving that if she really does read anything, it's InStyle Magazine rather than the Wall Street Journal. I even forgive her in advance for keeping her goodies rather than giving them to charity. With two teenage daughters, I doubt any designer clothing will ever make it out of Wasilla.
But there is one lingering issue that bothers me about Sarah's shopping habits. She is obviously an expert at hunting for moose -- so I wonder why she's not hunting for bargains. I can assure her that there is a sale going on right now at Neiman Marcus -- and also at Saks. And she also might have tried that magic word she is obviously familiar with: Ebay.
Her failure at bargain shopping is especially pertinent since one of the few states still considered a tossup is Florida -- home to so many Jewish voters. McCain and Palin are working hard to reel in this group -- while lots of alarming emails are flying around the Jewish community -- inflaming rumors about Obama secretly being a Muslim.
So Sarah had her opening into the hearts and minds of Jewish women like me. But then the truth came out -- and our hearts and minds snapped shut. She lost not only our votes but she completely lost our respect -- because she committed the one absolutely unforgiveable sin during her shopping spree: she paid retail.