WaPo's Capehart: 'Shop-a-Long Palin' Guilty of Virtual 'Child Abuse'

I suppose that mocking Republican candidates is an essential element of a Washington Post editorial writer's job description.  Even so, it was jarring to hear the snide comments of WaPo editorialist Jonathan Capehart [seen right in file photo] about Sarah Palin read on the air today.  Not merely did he mock her shopping habits, Capehart came very close to accusing Palin of . . . "child abuse."

Mika Brzezinski, at the Morning Joe helm with Joe Scarborough off on assignment today, led the show with the Politico report that the Republican National Committee has spent more than $150 thousand on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and family.  Also aired was a clip of Palin describing the duties of the vice-president to a third-grader, the accuracy of which has been questioned.

View video here.

Brzezinski defended Palin on the clothing costs, saying "I'm actually going to take Sarah Palin's side in this," and suggesting that people "give her a pass" on the matter, noting to the males on the panel that "you men have no clue what we go through" and "if she looked like a schlub" they would be criticizing her.

A few minutes into the show, Mika read an email that he had sent her:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Our friend, the very well-dressed Jonathan Capehart, who always comes in here very dapper, you know he spends $150 thousand  --

WILLIE GEIST: Easy.

BRZEZINSKI: -- in one day on his clothes.

MIKE BARNICLE: One of this ties --

BRZEZINSKI: One of his ties --

BARNICLE: Costs more than my entire wardrobe.

BRZEZINSKI: Here's what he says --

DYLAN RATIGAN [of CNBC]: He's a handsome fellow.

BRZEZINSKI: Capehart, of the Washington Post:
Now Mika, if someone told a third-grader that 2 + 2 = 7, wouldn't that be akin to child abuse?  Besides, if Dan Quayle can catch hell for potato with an 'e,' why shouldn't 'Shop-a-Long Palin' --
GEIST: Oooh, oooh --

BRZEZINSKI: Wow! From a guy who shops --

KRYSTIA FREELAND [of the Financial Times]: See, I'm with you, Mika, actually, on the clothes --

BRZEZINSKI: Talk to me.

FREELAND: I think that if Sarah Palin were not well-dressed, she would be being attacked for that.

BRZEZINSKI: Exactly!
Capehart wasn't finished.  A few minutes later . . .
BRZEZINSKI: Jonathan has just emailed me again: "my give-her-a-pass question was on the misinformation on the job of vice-president."  Well he called her Shop-a-Long Palin.

BARNICLE: Jonathan, Jonathan, go have some breakfast.  Stop emailing.

BRZEZINSKI: And have another drink.
Mika continued to read Capehart's e-missive.
BRZEZINSKI: "I'm certainly not going to playah-hate someone with that kind of a wardrobe budget."  He likes it!
If Palin's description of the veep's duties is "akin to child abuse" in Capehart's book, how would he classify Obama's declaration of 57 states, or Biden's description of how at the beginning of the Depression in 1929, "President" Roosevelt addressed the American people by TV?

Palin might well wear Capehart's Shop-a-Long crack as a badge of honor.  After all, it is an allusion to the movie character Hopalong Cassidy, who has been described as "reserved and well spoken, with a fine sense of fair play. He was often called upon to intercede when dishonest characters were taking advantage of honest citizens."
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.