Thanks for all the publicity, Sarah

There is no doubt a variety of views on Sarah Palin among the partners of TPG Capital andWarburg Pincus. But they are surely all united in their gratitude to the former Republican vice presidential candidate for shopping at Neiman Marcus, an upscale retailer co-owned by the two private equity firms.

Private equity portfolios are heavily exposed to the consumer sector – not a good place to be, given the current economy. But some consumers still have cash to spend. Take Palin, a native ofWasilla, Alaska, who it is commonly acknowledged spent more than $150,000 in party funds on new clothing leading up to her big Republican convention speech, shocking party donors as well as top aides to running mate John McCain.

Now that the US presidential election is over, Republican finger-pointing has begun, and sources within the defeated McCain camp are spewing venom over Palin's supposed diva-like behaviour. Newsweek quotes a McCain aide complaining of “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast”.

Palin may not have been a huge help to the Republican Party, but her taste in clothes has certainly assisted Neiman Marcus.