03/23/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Scott Brown Is Sarah Palin--but Better

There's the sex vibe, the exhibitionism and preening, the weird family stuff, the phony authenticity, and the euphoric sense of his own arrival.

With both Scott Brown and Sarah Palin, there's a come-hither thing, a swagger, an invitation. I'm not sure I've ever quite seen this in politics before. Even the Kennedys were always more publicly reticent. But with both Brown and Palin their eyes don't seem to stop, they're both looking everybody up and down. They're teasing, offering. And connecting, apparently.

For Palin there was the beauty queen turn, and for Brown the Cosmo centerfold. This little biographical quirk of his, which seems somehow to be regarded as charming or boyish, is...pretty damn unusual. But it seems so brazen and kooky and, at least at this distance, ironic, that nobody appears to know what to make of it. Indeed, it seems gay, but on the other hand, it's in Cosmo (the Cosmo voter is probably an untapped and underserved demographic), so it's unclear whose chain is being pulled.

And then there's him offering his daughters, which is, I suppose, some retro father's-burden sort of joke--but not a joke. And then American Idol. Brown's daughter, Ayla (where do they get these names?) is in the Bristol Palin position, somehow part and parcel of a greater family media ambition. I'm groping for an explanation here of what seems like a new phenomenon, the nexus of family values and publicity skills.

And the truck--obviously pure Palin.

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