McCain, Palin, Education, Class

Since her selection as John McCain's running mate, the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothing and make-up for Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband, and even her infant son, it was reported on Tuesday evening.

That entertaining scoop — which came by way of Politico — sent almost immediate reverberations through the presidential race. A statement from McCain headquarters released hours after the article bemoaned the triviality of the whole affair.

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokesperson Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

Palin Clothes Spending Has Dems Salivating, Republicans Disgusted.

This story is probably one of the best lessons about class and education all year. I’ve been paying off my degrees for much of my adult life; three degrees, each one a little more expensive. As someone once said, student loans are like having a second mortgage, even before you buy a house.

Since I got deferments through the Peace Corps and by going back to school, I’ll be paying these off for the next dozen or more years. Texas is one of the states that does not help pay students loans in exchange for Peace Corps service. I’ve spent all of my life in public service, as a teacher.

If I had been born ten years earlier, I might have been able to escape much of this debt. The huge rise in tuition, the end of the grants systems, and the death of my father when I was still an undergraduate, all made debt inevitable if I wanted to get my Ph.D. Compare that to Palin.

She claims to be ‘of the people’ and yet has spent more than three times my existing student loan debt in the last month alone, all on clothes for her and her family. The electricity bill for a month or two at McCain’s seven houses would likely pay off much of my debt. That’s class in the U.S.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn’t want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so.

I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com.

I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that ‘at’ symbol] writinginthewild.com

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