Courtesy of TheRoot.com
Homespun. Folksy. Straight-talking. These may be just a few of the endearing terms pundits have used to describe Sarah Palin. But there's another, more salient, tag floating around the Alaska governor, a secret weapon that was on winkin' and twinklin' display during the debate. Few Beltway commentators would dare call this stealth device by name, but the ever-crafty McCain/Palin camp seems to be counting on it to help pull its overmatched ticket across the finish line come November: "MILF" appeal, as in "Mother I'd Like to F...."
Oh, I know what you are thinking, but as Chris Rock might say, don't kill the messenger. Our pop culture universe has been so coarsened that the supposedly flattering "MILF" designation has bled into our presidential politics.
What else could explain conservative writer Rich Lowry's saliva-soaked posting on the National Review Online after the Oct. 2 debate between Palin and Joe Biden: "I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, 'Hey, I think she just winked at me.' And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling, it was almost mesmerizing.'"
Apparently, the appeal even transcends gender. "I don't want to vote for her," comedian Margaret Cho told CBS' "The Late Late Show" host Craig Ferguson on Friday night. "But I do want to have sex with her. ... Don't you?"
Even before the debate, there were signs of a MILF-oriented vibe to the frenzy surrounding the 44-year-old Palin. Of course, the "Hottest VP from the Coolest State" buttons on view at the Republican National Convention gave us a hint we might be heading down the icky path where sweaty, horny adolescent boys ogle over married, middle-aged women who "look good for their age, heh heh." A recent Google search turns up more than a dozen "MILF"-related porn sites and blogs.
At one non-porn blog, MagazineMilf, founded by an anonymous 34-year-old mom and former Conde Nast editor, readers can find gossip about the MILFs among celebrities and in New York's magazine publishing world. When I asked its proprietor if she considered Palin a "MILF," she laughed and said yes—but added that it didn't mean the governor was qualified to be vice president.
During the Sept. 13 season opener of NBC's "Saturday Night Live"—the same broadcast in which Tina Fey debuted her devastating Palin parody—a character named "Alaska Pete" calls the vice presidential nominee a "Super-MILF" and "soon-to-be "GILF"—as in "Grandmother I'd Like to. ..."
To which I say, WTF!
But does this mean enough Americans will vote for the VPILF to put the McCain-Palin ticket in the White House?
The McCain campaign seems to think so. While we all were snickering about Palin's scary-bad interviews with Katie Couric, someone bought up MILF-oriented domain names and turned them into pro-McCain-Palin properties, as in: www.voteforthemilf.net, and www.voteforthemilf.org. Click on those addresses now, and you end up at the Wikipedia page with a boilerplate explanation of Internet domain names. But for several weeks before the Web address mysteriously began to be diverted, those addresses used to bring you to JohnMcCain.com, and the official Web site of the Republican presidential nominee's campaign.
For more on this story, visit TheRoot.com.
Amy Alexander, the Alfred Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute, is completing a book about race and media. She can be reached at AmyAlex63@gmail.com.