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I’m having a hard time figuring out John McCain’s strategy: First, he’s running as the champion of Joe the Plumber – then we find out his campaign sent Sarah Palin on a $150,000 shopping spree at Saks and Neiman Marcus.

I don’t begrudge Governor Palin her new clothes but I can’t see how anyone in McCain’s campaign – the pollsters, consultants and campaign wheelhorses in Washington – thought this was going to pass the political smell test. Didn’t anyone stop long enough to take a breath and ask, Hey, won’t this backfire? It’s as if the same consultant who told Marie Antoinette to say, Let them eat cake – resurfaced in McCain’s headquarters.

Then – as usually happens in a political snafu – it got worse: Diving straight from the frying pan into the fire the leaders of the Grand Old Party announced after the election they are going to donate the Versaces and Valentinos to charity. Right. Maybe to a homeless shelter.

There’s an old saying in politics they ought to nail to the wall in McCain Central: Most times, in a campaign, it’s not what the other fellow does that beats you. It’s what you do to beat yourself.

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