- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dude mood

“Troopergate” looms, perhaps, and there have been whispers he is Alaska’s “shadow governor.” But let us consider Todd Palin, who has emerged as the potential dream man of 2009. He is a “turbo-hottie,” noted one gal pal in a hushed tone.

What’s not to like, women ask - and where can we get one of those? Mr. Palin appears to be a good-humored he-man, doting father and he staunchly supports his wife Gov. Sarah Palin, which could be construed as either a feminist’s dream or nightmare. He seems familiar, and perhaps that is his true cachet.

“First Dude. That’s what they call him in Alaska. It’s OK. Todd’s OK. Whatever. He smiles at Greta Van Susteren. Not a touch of noblesse. More like plan old politesse. I always laugh a little when I see people who are very much not ordinary Americans in any respect (pay, fame, education or overall wealth, for starters) try to speak for them. ‘This is what ordinary Americans want,’ says someone whose only contact with them may be while his face is getting powdered for TV,” observes columnist Susan Estrich.

President Bush and Sens. John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Bidenare not so appealingly “ordinary,” she says.

“It is the Republican guy who is real, not rich, hard-working, not fancy, so all-Alaskan that he is in fact much more in touch with what he is, which is a whole lot easier for a very lot of he-voters who are likely to decide this election,” Ms. Estrich continues.

And she concludes, “First Dude sounds like the kind of guy many girls in this country aimed to marry, and some of them actually did, and even those who didn’t (or aren’t) think well of him anyway. He’s a regular guy in a posse of anything but.”

Palin as Presley

As Elvis used to say, “TCB,” or “takin’ care of business.” Mrs. Palin is still doing just that, apparently, running Alaska as she campaigns, her staff says.

“She is just as much in charge as she ever was,” spokesman Bill McAllister told the Anchorage Daily News recently.

“The rigors of campaigning are tough, and there’s just no denying that it’s going to be a time crunch for her, and she’s going to have to find time in the day to be governor,” said John Bitney, a former Palin aide.

He sees the big picture for the big country where locals quip: “New Alaska state motto: North to the Future, pending RNC approval.”

Mr. Bitney added, “We just stand so much to gain by having Sarah Palin be out there talking about Alaska and presenting Alaska in a very positive light.”

Quotes of note

“War is sometimes the answer.” - bumper sticker spotted on a minivan in Fairfax.

“I would snorkel and spear gun.” - Sen. Barack Obama recalling his youth in Hawaii, asked by Field and Stream magazine if he hunted or fished.

“I fish all the time. I fish for catfish. I fish for bass. I fish for bluegill.” - Sen. John McCain, in the same interview.

Sarahcuda, Caribou Barbie, Lipstick on a Pygmalian, Warrior Princess, Vice President Palin, Arctic Fox, Pontius Palin - Among the nicknames for Mrs. Palin that emerged in the press and online this week.

Tie one on

A sartorial alert for all good Republicans and Democrats, perhaps with disposable funds. Brooks Brothers has just unveiled - or untied, anyway - some very snappy new neckwear. “Election Ties” are now available at stores around the country, including Connecticut Avenue in the District.

Brooks Brothers has dressed plenty of presidents, including John F. Kennedy and even Abraham Lincoln, so they ought to know about the wardrobe factor.

For the discerning Democrat, there’s the Donkey Tie in navy or red, for the gallant GOPer, it’s the Elephant Tie, also in navy and red. The ties are $75 each.

By the numbers

What words do Americans associate with the White House candidates? Here they are in order of the frequency they were cited, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 2,509 voters surveyed Sept. 9 to 14.

Sen. John McCain: Old, patriot, Bush-like, experienced, honest, conservative, hero, leader, strong, good, integrity, maverick, same, trustworthy.

Gov. Sarah Palin: Inexperienced, conservative, strong, refreshing, interesting, good, great, unknown, smart, aggressive, new, confident, energetic, honest.

Sen. Barack Obama: Inexperienced, change, intelligent, young, charismatic, new, energetic, hope, liberal, honest, fresh, scary, different, enthusiastic.

Sen. Joe Biden: Experienced, liberal, old, arrogant, knowledgeable, unknown, confident, qualified, strong, honest, intelligent, politician, idiot, OK.

Days of yore

Hey, flyboys and girls, B-52 drivers, former USAF SAC folks (you know who you are). On this day in 1942, the B-29 Superfortress made its debut flight in Seattle - the largest bomber used in World War II, dreamed up in 1939 by Gen. Hap Arnold to ensure victory over Hitler. The B-29 could just about carry its own weight, at altitudes up to 40,000 feet.

It did not make its first bombing-run until June 5, 1944, over Bangkok, but truly flew into history the following year when the most famous of the species, the Enola Gay, embarked on “special bombing mission No. 13” with Little Boy, an atomic bomb, bound for Hiroshima. The aircraft was commanded by Col. Paul W. Tibbets, who personally selected his airplane - serial number B-2945-MO44-86292 - at the Martin-Omaha plant in Nebraska that spring.

Happy 51st birthday today to syndicated talk radio host and former Reagan administration adviser Mark Levin, born in 1957 and heard by more than 5 million listeners a week on ABC Radio networks.

The Senate confirmed Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court on this day in 1981. She was 51 at the time, and remained in office until Jan. 31, 2006.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washington times.com or 202/636-3085.