Clicking through these interwebs (which, as another Alaskan pol memorably informed us, is really a series of tubes), we stumbled upon a site called Conservatives4Palin. Presumably, there are dozens of sites like this: strident, a bit silly, and aimed at the True Believers. It would be unremarkable except for one curious design feature:
The butt shot.
The site layout is attractive, and appears to be professionally designed -- especially the title graphic. The symbols are there: Alaska's rugged mountains, the pipeline which represents its supposed prosperity and business-friendliness (setting aside the environmental concerns), even the stars of Ursus Major.
And, naturally, the former governor's caboose.
Now, we're tempted to mutter half-seriously about the way Palin and her supporters have used her looks -- her body -- as a campaign tool. There is a bit of tawdriness to that, but it's easy to overstate for effect. Obama was caught topless in the surf, after all. And let's be honest. This isn't an especially provocative photo -- she's wearing what looks like a tweed skirt, the sort of attire that actually repels the male gaze in most cases, with an exception made only for those of us who have spent far too much time in academic settings. (We also think Volvos are cool, not to mention beige corduroy jackets with a little bulge where you put the pipe and tobacco.)
On balance, though, we don't think this is tawdry or exploitative. We just think it's weird.
Shouldn't they be showing us her face, smiling in defiance of the liberal media? Or with a jaw set grimly to show her intolerance of terrorists, urbanites and PETA? Or, if they actually want to avoid showing Palin's face, wouldn't the usual dodge be to insert a bald eagle, photographed while scavenging at an Alaskan landfill?
Maybe the idea is that she's looking proudly at Alaska itself, the state she governed for 2.5 years, before resigning. But doesn't that mean she's looking backward? Shouldn't she be turned to face forward, swaggering boldly out of the north to come and save us poor anemic Lower 48ers from our taxing and spending?
Or does P4C actually think that Palin's core constituency wants a candidate who is perpetually focused on her own past? That is, after all, one kind of conservatism. A bit of a disservice to Edmund Burke, but there you have it.