Earth to McCain/Palin spokesbots — for beleaguered taxpayers being squeezed by the Bush/McCain economy, any attempt to say that Gov. Sarah Palin should be compensated for living in her home (to the tune of $17,059) isn’t going to fly. Of course, here come those shameless excuses anyway. (NYT):

Responding to criticism from Democrats, campaign aides to Gov. Sarah Palin on Tuesday defended her practice of billing Alaska taxpayers for more than 300 nights she spent at home in her first year-and-a-half in office.

Ms. Palin received a “per diem” expense allowance for 312 nights she spent at her home in Wasilla, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

…The practice of billing for staying at home seems to be unusual. Many officials said it would not be allowed in their states, including California, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, as well as other jurisdictions. On the federal level, officials said members of Congress do not get per diem allowances for routine home visits.

“To charge the citizens of any state for home visits is somewhat beyond the pale,” said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary.

A mouthpiece for McCain/Palin, Maria Comella, bleated that “every action taken by Governor Palin was open and transparent,” then declined to release records of Palin’s per diems and the governors travel. Also, to mitigate this PR disaster, aides pointed to Palin’s concern for the taxpayers was shown by her willingness to give up a personal chef in the governor’s mansion.

However, there wasn’t a logical explanation for this:

At least one member of Palin’s cabinet also ate on the state’s dime while staying in his hometown on multi-day trips, according to Division of Finance records.

The last governor from Southcentral Alaska was Tony Knowles, who said he leased out his Anchorage home while in office. “When you’re living at home, you don’t pay yourself for living at home,” Knowles, a Democrat, said in an interview Tuesday. “And if you use a technicality to get around that rule so you can get paid for it, it’s not right.”

…Why does she accept the meal per diem while at home?

She’s entitled to it,” said Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow.

Yes, that GOP sense of entitlement — we’ve seen that in action many times before.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding