Seduced by Sarah?

Posted: Jun 30, 2009 3:32 PM
Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum has written a hit piece on Sarah Palin.  Bill Kristol has some good thoughts on the dubiousness of it, but I'm interested in a fairly minor point the author made on the way to slandering her.

The author correctly notes that Palin,

"is by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics, the first indisputably fertile female to dare to dance with the big dogs. This phenomenal reality has been a blessing and a curse. It has captivated people who would never have given someone with Palin's record a second glance if Palin had looked like Susan Boyle. And it has made others reluctant to give her a second chance because she looks like a beauty queen."

Some have speculated that Republican men (including John McCain) were "seduced" by Palin's looks.  If this is true, it is most likely not in the sense that they mean. 

In my estimation, if Republican politicians and conservative opinion leaders were guilty of favoring Palin due to her looks, it was not because they were personally attracted to her -- but because they naively thought her gender and looks would help them electorally.

Playing identity politics, of course, is not a terribly noble thing, either, but looks and charisma have helped politicians like JFK, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton -- so it was not unreasonable to believe that sex would sell ... 
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