In conjunction with her book release, Sarah Palin has been going on a book tour. And, Newsweek put her on the cover of its magazine.
Newsweek chose the Runners World of Palin in running shorts for its cover, which is clearly a cheesecake type of photo. Oprah Winfrey asked Palin about the choice to use that picture, and Palin said she's thinks it's kind of cheesy.
I was thinking about that. Using a cheesecake photo of a woman in politics for its cover does seem a bit cheesy, at first. But, upon further reflection, I think it is the exact right photo.
Such a photo, of a powerful woman, highlights sexuality over any other trait, and probably tends to objectify the woman. But in Palin's case, her attractiveness is her defining trait, and is the reason she's where she's at.
Conservatives like her because she seems to share their views. But she's also liked because she's attractive. In fact, she doesn't have much going for her beyond attractiveness. She's certainly no policy wonk. She doesn't have much of a record of achievement (Governor of Alaska is obviously an achievement, but she underachieved in the position then quit early to cash in on, yes, her attractiveness.) She didn't even write her own book. She'll say any ol' thing that she thinks might work at the moment, truth be damned, and she says all kinds of nonsensical stuff (she justified her foreign policy experience in part by saying that there are places in Alaska from which you can see Russia). It's not her brain that got her where she is.
So in her case, using a picture of Palin in tight running shorts, really captured the essence of her.
Update: In thinking about this a bit more, it seems that some conservatives have a peculiar weakness for attractive females. And by that I mean, it's peculiar that the attractive female seems to be allowed to say anything, fact-based or not, and it's accepted and applauded. To wit: Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Michelle Bachmann. Malkin is the deepest thinker of that bunch, but that's like saying "You have good breath, for a dog."