Reading The Pictures: America's Veep Hottie

Props to Schmidt/Rove, convincing the youth and charisma-challenged McCain to go with Sarah Palin on a (literal) Hail Mary pass ... and knocking the Obama Invesco extravaganza right out of the news cycle in one tabloid-like swoop.

Just like Bush/Rove could hate-monger at will under the protective umbrella of morality and Christian fundamentalism, so to can Rove/Schmidt/McCain now use the same cover (so long, Britney!  See you, Paris!)  to employ Mrs. Palin -- a life-long, hard-core Christian conservative -- as an object of seduction.

... Wait, did I really say that?  I mean, how dare I, about a good Christian mother who has had five children, with one in the Army, for God's sakes, who is so pro-life she gave birth to a Down Syndrome baby, and who might even be nursing right now.  Somehow, I seem to have overlooked Gawker's take on all this.

If I know Rove, Palin was chosen for four reasons (given the fact she brings so little else):  She's a possible lure for the female demographic.  She likely a lure for the fundamentalist demographic.  She's in Obama's age range.  And,in Alaska Magazine's words not mine: 
she's hot.
  Thing is, on Day 1 (above and beyond the inherent Beauty and the Beast, or older man/younger woman thing she puts into play with McCain) we've already been peppered with the kind of stereotyped sexualized imagery that reduces Palin's V.P nod to the gender equivalent of the Clarence Thomas nomination.

Reading yesterday's pictures, her father-in-law, for example, suggest that, first and foremost, she was a beauty queen.  And the photo spread for Vogue (quite modestly, of course) lays out the case that she's not just a Governor, but a fashion icon.  (Or, is it the other way around?)

But what is most telling to me is the first shot above which the NYT plunked down in its feature story, showing Sarah and (left to right) model daughters Bristol, Piper and Willow, checking out a bedroom of the Alaska Governor's Mansion after Palin was elected in '06.  Maybe the red-on-red was simply a coincidence.  But what also makes me think the former TV sports reporter and city councilwoman is primarily eye candy and Christian coalition window dressing is the way the new Alaska governor used a standard press opportunity with an AP photographer to establish a first impression more fit for Vanity Fair.

For more of the visual, visit

(image 1: Brian Wallace/Juneau Empire, via Associated Press, 2006, Juneau, Alaska.  image 2: Al Grillo/AP. Wasilla, Alaska. Aug. 28, 2008.  image 3 & 4:  Vogue images via kodiakkonfidential. image 6: Alaska Mag: Joe Connolly, Chugach Peaks Photography)