THE BLOG
11/19/2009 10:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Was This Magazine Cover of Obama "Sexist?"

I just did a radio interview where I was asked about the Newsweek cover shot of Sarah Palin in tight running shorts (originally shot for Runner's World), and if I thought it was sexist. Clearly, the magazine cover has been capturing the attention (and I suspect the fantasies) of many. America, meet your newest pin-up, Sarah Barracuda.

To the Republicans who've been critical of Palin's mistreatment by the big bad liberal media, I say, stop your whining. Nothing's more unflattering than a thin-skinned conservative. The Newsweek shot is no more "sexist" than the May Washingtonian cover of a bare chested beefcake President Obama, who the publication called its "hot new neighbor." Nor was the "President Cool" Ebony cover, or the New Yorker Obama terrorist satire cartoon cover, racist.

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Let's face it, the cover is arguably a fair representation of Palin: an empty suit whose all looks. She didn't get where she is today (wherever that is) by being a highly experienced, overachieving policy wonk numbingly versed on world affairs, economics and the environment. Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain thrust her 16 months ago into the national spotlight in a style-over-substance strategy hoping her attractiveness would arouse (pun intended) his base and perhaps a few dirty old independents. He could've chosen a lot of other infinitely more qualified women like Liddy Dole, Christy Todd Whitman or Kay Bailey Hutchinson, but none of them send Republican men under 60 into a lather like The Wasilla Wonder. And she's been milking it ever since, trading on her womanly charms for maximum profit and exposure (pun intended). As I reminded the radio reporter, it isn't Hillary Clinton or Olympia Snowe in that Newsweek shot; there couldn't have been a "sexist" cover without a complicit Palin. Playing the victim card now seems terribly disingenuous.

A couple of other Palin thoughts while I'm at it: watching the Katie Couric "what do you read" clip on Oprah this week was more humiliating and embarrassing the second time around. And, Palin's explanation for why she didn't answer the question is even worse. She said she was "annoyed," and thought Couric was suggesting that Alaska was a "foreign country," isolated from the rest of the world. "It was unprofessional of me to wear my annoyance on my sleeve like that," she admitted. So, either one of two scenarios exist: either Palin is utterly misinformed and lacking in intellectual curiosity in not reading books and magazines, or, she's a catty hothead who blows her cool on national TV. Neither individual is someone we'd want just a heartbeat from the Oval Office.

Lastly, in her interview with Barbara Walters this week, Palin was asked to rank President Obama's performance to-date from 1-10. "Four," uttered the unsurprisingly derisive Palin. Well, if Obama's a four, she's a negative four-trillion. You betchya.