Last Friday at a dinner party the conversation turned to Fred Thompson, and whether or not he is actually sexy. The guests were primarily political reporters, including one who’d just come back from following Thompson on the campaign trail, where, the reporter insisted, older women seemed to really dig the 65-year-old actor and former Senator.
At best, Thompson is what we women refer to as tall. (I’ll give him that.) … I think there’s got to be some kind of objective standards brought into play here. “Sexy for Iowa politics” or “sexy for a 65-year-old man” just are not the same thing as “sexy.”
It seems to me that there are two theories along these lines, one plausible and the other not. The latter is the Dan Quayle Theory: that women will vote for a man simply because he’s handsome (for a politician). That’s rather silly, if not downright insulting. On the other hand, women may be more inclined to vote for men that make them feel safe. That is, they’re looking to vote for an idealized version of a father figure rather than a dreamboat. The type, the “Man’s man,” is attractive to male voters, too, under the “Guy I’d Like to Have a Beer With” formula of presidential selection.\
In this context, Thompson may indeed be, if not sexy, quite attractive. He’s, as even Garance concedes, very tall. He’s also got the deepest voice of any of the major contenders. And he manages to affect the “Regular Guy” persona that people seem comfortable with better than most.