The US presidential campaign has already descended into a make-believe world of cosmetic saturnalia, and in this looney world, one should not be surprised if the Republicans pull off another White House coup on Nov 4.
This campaign has been disrobed to the level of slipshod slip-ups.
The kerfuffle generated by the $150,000 spent on the Sarah Palin wardrobe has degenerated into a scandalous $22,800 paid to the vice presidential candidate's make-up artiste, Amy Strozzi.
Don't blame Strozzi. She is a professional who commands a high fee and comes with an enviable reputation. Few can transform a pitbull into a vice presidential candidate overnight with the right lipstick and hairdo. Good talent is hard to come by these days, and Strozzi has a better grasp of fashion than Palin has on politics.
By the time this campaign is over, Palin's cosmetic expenditure should cross above $200,000. That is more spent here on skirts, shoes and hairpins than on John McCain's foreign policy bluster.
To be fair, Randy Scheunemann -- McCain's foreign policy kook -- deserved no more than the perfunctory $12,500 that he didn't need anyway.
Besides, when viewed clinically, this breakdown of expenses does justice to reflect Palin's grasp of international affairs vis-a-vis her impressively blossoming sartorial expertise.
However, where is the hockey mom in this Barbied-up doll? Common folks are supposed to identify with this person but the only thing they got was the double entendre of "Drill Baby, Drill!"
They loved it. Palin looked like someone they could never be, and by voting her in, they can vicariously join the makeover enterprise.
Take a look at the women chosen to gush over Palin during the Republican National Convention, and you can witness the swooning power of comparative visual propaganda.
"Drill baby, drill!"
Oil may have fallen to the $60s range, but that slogan remains valid. Wall St, Main St, the US public and the rest of the world will be screwed unremittingly till there are no holes left in any one of us.
The evangelical conservatives may have (mis)calculated the cosmetic appeal vis-à-vis the growing bread and butter realities, which, now affects almost 90 per cent of the population. Forget Neiman Marcus and Saks where Palin shopped in a huffy; even Walmart is a definite luxury these days.
There is little loose change in a world where both Republican and Democratic candidates rant about a "change" that the hoi polloi can "believe" in. The prevalent fear now is another Great Depression. Plummeting industrial, commodities and stocks markets are dragging us away to the precipice of no return.
Workers are being laid off in droves, and many will be laid bare – on the streets. But as Marie Antoinette famously said: "Let them eat cake."
The McCain-Palin circus is one without the bread. We get to see a nice dressing, topped by a deliciously crusty and scintillating icing that has no leftover value for the masses. Pro-life candidates who take much pride in their anti-abortion stance have not done anything to alleviate the plight of pregnant mothers – ever.