Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Petite Trianon - Wasilla Style

After scanning today's headlines concerning Alaska's most prominent hockey mom (Palin's office: It's OK to bill for kid travel, McCain has terse response on Palin shopping spree), the words "Petite Trianon" popped into my head. Odds are good that our AWOL governor, with her roving through five colleges in nearly as many years, probably has no idea who or what a Petite Trianon is. But maybe she saw the movie. Maybe First Dude and the kiddos rented Marie Antoinette one evening as a way to unwind after a long day of working the crowds at events they weren't invited to, or reviewing personnel files to which they had no rightful access.
On second thought, it seems unlikely that a movie about a woman who let power go to her head and subsequently lost same would be in the First Family's Netflix queue.

So I have to conclude that Palin really doesn't know much about history (as if we need any more evidence of that!). Otherwise she would take a lesson from what happened to Marie Antoinette when the French economy went in the toilet and the country crumbled under the rule of a weak and profligate king. True, while M. Antoinette played and spent no harder than many another royal, she happened to do so in a period of terrible unrest and instability. Because she was an outsider (something Palin loves to claim), she became the nonpareil symbol of excess and entitlement from then to now. When her husband's head and hers landed in the basket, so ended the monarchy - birthing the French Republic.

While I don't expect Palin's VEEP nomination to result in the toppling of this empire (although a McPalin win will certainly bring its demise closer), her wanton exploitation of her position, both as governor and as nominee, reeks of the noblesse oblige that got M. Antoinette into such deep doo-doo.

True, there has been no gilt added to the Governor's Mansion, nor any lavish frivolity such as tableaux to entertain the Palin court, but there doesn't need to be. This is Versailles the Wasilla way. It's billing the state to attend the start of the Iron Dog (but not the Iditarod or Quest - neither of which feature or interest First Dude). It's charging the state for your kids' travel and lodging, then fudging the records to make it seem like they were on state business.

It's having a combined net worth of about 1.2 mil and then telling everyone you are like all the rest of us who are struggling to keep the lights on and the bills paid. It's having the audacity to stand up and talk about how people have to live within their means, and then blowing $150,000 on clothes and hairstylists - it doesn't matter if its paid for by private donations or the clothes are donated to charity. It is still in-your-face excess of the sort that drove the citizenry to loot Versailles and dispose of Louis the XIV and his Queen.

When people are losing their homes and living out of cars, or, closer to home, Alaskans are wondering how to stay warm through a very cold winter and leaving the villages in droves, you simply don't spend that kind of money on clothes.

It's insensitive, not to mention gauche. And it's yet another screaming indication of what we can expect in a McPalin administration: endless gimmes to those in power - while the rest of us eat cake.


Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Your. Best. Post. Ever.

BAYMAN said...

Not only your best post (I agree), but a poignant follow-up to a recent post, when you wrote about moving into a new home. You are, like the rest of us, without a variety of government funds to loot. Most of us struggle. I'm over 60, for instance, have a broken back, have no family to help, and live alone in one room. This isn't what I thought would happen to me. I live in fear that the person from whom I rent will tell me I have to move. If I had $150,000, I wouldn't buy clothes. I doubt the average American would.

Anonymous said...