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Top Of The Ticket

Who's the ablest of them all?

March 08, 2009|Andrew Malcolm

Newly released academic research suggests that Sarah Palin's sexiness, while great for selling copies of Vogue magazine and political buttons about the hottest governor from the coldest state last fall, may actually have hurt her vote-getting ability, which seems to be what elections are about.

Of course, standing next to John McCain is bound to make pretty much anyone look pretty much prettier. Which may be one reason the crowds often chanted "Sar-RAH! Sa-RAH!" when the Republican governor and Republican senator appeared together as the GOP presidential ticket.

According to an article by Tom Jacobs on the website of Santa Barbara's Miller-McCune Center, recently completed research at the University of South Florida indicates that, at least among a select group of students there, those who found the hockey mom more attractive also judged her less competent, less intelligent and less capable.

This didn't seem to have much effect in Palin's 2006 primary upset victory and statewide election as Alaska's first female governor.

But the finding, being published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, does conform with previous research that found attractive women in high-status jobs were perceived as less competent.

The studies would seem to strongly indicate there's more to the glass ceiling for females than the actual glass. No news to them.

According to Nathan Heflick, a psychologist and one of the research authors, it wasn't Palin's appearance per se that turned off the research subjects.

"It was the effect her appearance had on their perception of her competence and humanity," Heflick said. "Those variables made people less likely to vote for her."

All of which would seem to suggest that, for any hope of success in 2012 or beyond, the governor needs to whack off that hair, pork up a bit and get some cheap, baggy pantsuits over at the Wasilla Wal-Mart. And instead of that come-on wink that many thought they liked, she'd do well to develop an uncontrollable facial twitch.

Also lose the kids, stop smiling, get angrier, so she can look more congressional. That's been working real well for Republicans the last two elections.

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Ron Paul on the economy, again

Remember Ron Paul? Congressman Ron Paul?

The long-term libertarian-like representative from Texas who's even older than John McCain? The guy with a leased blimp who sought the Republican presidential nomination last year and came within something like 1,000 delegates of upsetting the Arizonan?

Paul lasted a lot longer than Mitt Romney, who had to write off some $40 million of his own dough.

And Paul's hundreds of thousands of dedicated supporters way out-raised that preacher Mike Huckabee who's now all over Fox News, which, by the way, is the network that barred Paul from its New Hampshire GOP debate because he had no chance. Although, to be fair and balanced, Paul had done better in Iowa than Rudy Giuliani or that D.A. Thompson guy, what's his name Frank or Fred.

Thank goodness Fox protected its viewers from this Texan, who used to be an ob-gyn.

So Paul marched to St. Paul, Minn., past that ex-New York mayor, who the mainstream media said was the certain GOP nominee until he wasn't; Giuliani made it only a few hours past Florida.

Here's how silly Ron Paul is: He set a budget for his campaign and lived within it. Flew commercial. Stayed at Super 8s. No motorcades. In fact, he ended with no deficit, which is how he thinks the federal government should operate.

In point of fact, Paul ended his campaign with a surplus. Can you imagine anything so silly in this day and age?

Paul warned all during his campaign about a looming economic disaster if government just kept growing and growing and printing more money like Republicans and Democrats wanted. Many said he was loony and so were his noisy followers.

And now just because the old geezer predicted correctly, Paul thinks someone will listen to him? Get real!

Paul was on Bloomberg TV on Wednesday, and he absolutely amazed the reporters by patiently explaining that we got into this national financial whirlpool by spending too much government money, and so the solution was probably not to spend even more government money. Ever heard anything so wacky?

In a nutshell, here's the craziness Paul peddles: "We should be cutting spending. We should be trying to live within our means and not just try to spend our way out of a recession that was brought upon us by too much spending and too much borrowing and too much printing-press money."

LOL!

Oh, and here's something else. Paul says the reason housing prices are falling is that there's too much housing on the market, something about supply exceeding demand. So, Paul reasons, instead of spending hundreds of billions of deficit dollars to build more houses, making the supply even larger, politicians should risk unpopularity, cut spending and taxes and let the market settle out.

And the startled reporters point out that would mean thousands could lose the homes they can't afford. And Paul said yes, something like 8%. But how much help has spending hundreds of billions been so far? So spending hundreds of billions more will work better?

And they thanked him for his time.

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andrew.malcolm@latimes.com

Read Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics, at latimes.com/ticket.

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