- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2008

Beauty school

Vice President Hottie. The Conservative’s Dream Girl. The adorability factor of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is harder to manage than it looks.

She’s been stereotyped and underestimated by press and public, says documentary filmmaker Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, whose new movie “Beauty: In the Eyes of the Beheld” plumbs the feelings of gorgeous American beauty queens, performers and professional women.

“Palin’s looks helped her get a job as a sportscaster. The resulting fame may have helped her win an election to public office. Those are good things. But it’s a double-edged sword,” said Ms. Kravinsky. “When beautiful women reach a certain level in their careers, perceived competence becomes an issue. Just listen to all the jokes you hear about her being a ‘hottie.’ How would you like a ‘hottie’ for a potential commander in chief?”

Such was the common complaint among the women in the documentary.

“Beautiful women are often stereotyped as being conceited, superficial, dumb people who rely on their looks to get everything they want in life. That perception does not help someone running for vice president of the United States,” Ms. Kravinsky contends.

“Good looks help men win elections, but that issue is more complex for women,” she said.

Summing it up

The good governor is not just like Margaret Thatcher, as many of Mrs. Palin’s ardent fans have been saying. She’s, well, getting Gipper-y.

“Now we know why liberal Democrats hate and fear Sarah Palin,” says conservative strategist Richard A. Viguerie. “Sarah Palin is the next Ronald Reagan.”

“Governor Sarah has captured the heart and soul of the convention, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement. She brings together social conservatives and economic conservatives and libertarians, and people who are fed up with the culture of corruption that infests our nation’s politics,” he said.

“From this moment forward, there’s no limit on where Sarah Palin might go,” Mr. Viguerie concluded.

By the numbers

69 percent of Americans overall say men and women are equally able to be good political leaders.

60 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats agreed.

57 percent overall said men and women in public office were equally able to “stand up for what they believe.”

54 percent said male leaders were best suited to deal with national security and defense; 7 percent cited female leaders.

52 percent said women were best with education and health care; 7 percent cited men.

51 percent said men and women in public office were equally capable to “keep government honest.”

51 percent said that Americans “were not ready” to elect a woman to high office.

50 percent overall said women leaders were more honest; 20 percent cited men leaders.

14 percent said women weren’t “tough enough” for politics.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 2,250 adults conducted June 16 to July 16, with a margin of error of two percentage points.

Frozen assets

Should the urge for ice cream and partisan thinking assert itself, consider that Baskin Robbins has just introduced two new flavors to further confuse the American electorate — Straight Talk Crunch to honor Sen. John McCain, and Whirl of Change to suit Sen. Barack Obama’s fans.

Straight Talk — which sounds confused — consists of caramel swirls, chocolate pieces, candy red states and mixed nuts swirled into white chocolate ice cream. Whirl offers peanut-nougat ice cream whirled with chunks of chocolate-covered peanut brittle and a caramel ribbon.

The two flavors are part of a politically inspired collection that has been added to for decades. Other election year flavors have included Candi-Date (1960), Acceptance Peach (1976), Gorba Chocolate (1990), Saxy Candidate (1996) and, last but not least, GOPeanut Butter (1996).

Days of yore

The beloved character “Uncle Sam” is 195 years old today. The name first appeared in the Troy Post, a New York newspaper, and was inspired by one Samuel Wilson, a local meatpacker who supplied beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. He stamped his barrels with “U.S.” - which ultimately became Uncle Sam to hungry soldiers. Political cartoonist Thomas Nast gave Uncle Sam an image in the 1870s; artist James Montgomery Flagg gave him familiar patriotic duds in 1916.

Time flies. It was 31 years ago today that G. Gordon Liddy was released from prison after serving time for his role in the Watergate conspiracy. Undeterred, Mr. Liddy went on to considerable fame as an actor and talk radio host.

Sen. Bob Packwood announced that he would resign after 27 years in the Senate on this day in 1995. The Oregon Republican left Capitol Hill after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended he be expelled for misconduct.

Happy birthday, Sen. Daniel Ken Inouye, born in 1924; the Hawaii Democrat was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II.

Quotes of note

“Clinton urges monogamy.” - Recent headline in the Independent, a British newspaper

Drill, baby, drill.” - Popular chant among Sen. John McCain’s more vocal supporters

“Why don’t you start this with the pledge of allegiance?” - Local heckler John Parma, to Sen. Barack Obama during an Ohio town meeting

“I believe I’d fire any reporter who wasted a chance to question Gov. Sarah Palin by asking a single question about pregnancies, DUIs or thuggish boyfriends.” - McClatchy news vice president Howard Weaver, at a company blog

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

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