There are a lot of people who don’t like politicians. Or they say they don’t like them, since it seems that a lot of the population of our nation don’t actually know any politicians in a meaningful way. I grew up around them, so the idea of hating them seems a little bit like self loathing. Still there are times when the actions of high profile pols stain everyone in the business of government with a black mark.
That is where we are in regards to Sarah Palin. As trashy and unselfconscious as she is I don’t have problems with her being controversial to get more attention. That is part of the nature of politics, but this bus tour of hers is going to be one of those times where people see on politician doing something really distasteful and put it on the all of them.
You Sister Sarah is on vacation and her Political Action Committee are paying for it. That’s right all the bills for the bus, the driver, food and anything else is being footed by not by the Palin’s but by the donors who hope that she will run or support candidates or some such.
Just to rub salt in the wound, it is all completely legal. You see SaraPAC is what is called a “unconnected PAC” which means while it is a still a political action committee it is not associated with a campaign and does not have the restrictions on what it can spend money on. If the erstwhile half-term Governor wants to buy out the gift shop at the Statue of Liberty, then she can do it on the SarahPAC credit card.
This is one of those times that makes people hate politicians in general. Here is a woman and family that are multimillionaires from their self-promotion efforts. Yet they are not the ones paying for this little media vacation, instead it a bunch of average Joe’s who probably could use that money for a vacation for themselves, but instead gave it to this PAC.
It is not like SarahPAC can’t afford the trip. Records indicate that it has raised more that 5.7 million dollars since 2009 and had 1.3 million in cash on hand at the last reporting cycle.
This whole Sarah focused spending from SarahPAC is not really that new. Of the 4.4 million that has been spent by the PAC only about $500,000 of it was given to candidates. The rest was spent (according to records) on travel, consultants and “other internal costs” (anyone else think that might mean a job for Todd, day care for the kiddies still at home and raids on Neiman Marcus?). So, 1/9th of the money raised went to things overtly political and the rest, is just spent wherever.
There are a ton of things that indicate that Mrs. Palin is not going to run for Republican presidential nomination. However this is one more factor. Once she announces she has to form an exploratory committee or a campaign committee. At that point the ability to spend money from SarahPAC at whim is strongly curtailed.
As we know from the reports of the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008, Sister Sarah and her family like living it up on the money of other people. The reports of massive wardrobe spending and bringing everyone everywhere with her indicate that she is willing to spend other peoples money with abandon. That she has gotten used to using her PAC as a personal slush fund while building a brand is pretty clear as well. I know that I am biased, I don’t like her at all, but even with that taken into account, I find it hard to see a way that she’d give that up. As long as she does not enter the race that money is hers to spend as she likes.
In the end we have a typical Sarah Palin story, she is doing something venial and self-serving at the cost of the people who support her. Her very presence in the mix coarsens our political discourse and makes confirms an idea the public has about politicians. And she gets a free bus tour vacation out of it. Just typical Palin.
Still it is an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good. I am thinking about establishing BillPAC, a new progressive PAC that will change the world by sending me on a bus tour to Netroots Nation, Emily’s List, MoveOn and other points lefty. I am sure you’re going to want to help, so donate early and often, after all those buses ain’t cheap!
The floor is yours.