McCain's Crush

11/24/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Taylor Marsh Political writer and cultural voyeur, author and speaker.


It had to come from a conservative and again this season Kathleen Parker steps in it. But, finally, someone else wrote this so I didn't have to be the first one. Listen to Patrick J. Buchanan, Lawrence O'Donnell, the guy next door... Alec Baldwin, for heaven's sake. It's something that has been happening between female voters and their president off and on for decades. It's simply the reverse effect. Utilizing the "devastating" New York Times Magazine piece that contains all the juicy details, there can be no doubt what happened.

McCain didn't know her. He didn't vet her. His campaign team had barely an impression. In a bar one night, Draper asked one of McCain's senior advisers: "Leaving aside her actual experience, do you know how informed Governor Palin is about the issues of the day?"

The adviser thought a moment and replied: "No, I don't know."

Blame the sycamore tree.

McCain had met Palin only once -- in February, at the governors' convention in Washington -- before the day he selected her as his running mate. The second time was at his Sedona, Ariz., ranch on Aug. 28, just four days before the GOP convention.

As Draper tells it, McCain took Palin to his favorite coffee-drinking spot down by a creek and a sycamore tree. They talked for more than an hour, and, as Napoleon whispered to Josephine, "Voilà." ....

One does not have to be a psychoanalyst to reckon that McCain was smitten. ...

The bigger they are... well, it can happen to anyone. Sarah's got it and McCain was seduced by it. Frankly, I'm not at all surprised. I'm just hoping it will inspire more qualified, good looking women to throw themselves into the political arena, especially Democrats. Politics is part showbiz. Nothing wrong with strutting it if you can back your show up.

Parker goes on to say she's not at all suggesting anything "untoward," which seems obvious. But reaction from many males is obvious.

Having written columns on "the politics of sex" (used to have that URL) off and on for 15 years, it was plain to see from the start to me. Sarah's got sex appeal. She's got camera appeal, that thing you can't teach. Good for her. She also can manipulate a crowd, and I mean that in a good way, at least for her purposes.

Women swooned over J.F.K. WJC's sex appeal got him into trouble as well.

McCain's veep choice is certainly in no league with J.F.K. or WJC on any cerebral level, but on charm she's got it. Right now that's all she's got, but in a desperate year McCain was seduced. It's not the first time a May-December romance bloomed on the spot. It's just a first for politics, at least on the national ticket level.

The outcome for McCain, unfortunately, mirrors what sometimes happens to older men who get caught up with beauty at an age where their youth can't be seen in the rear view mirror any longer. When they don't look beyond and take care of themselves, doing their homework. Instead of playing the virile older man role, they get cast as the fool.