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It probably comes as no surprise that Rich Lowry isn’t the only Republican male in America who ‘pitches a tent’ for Sarah Palin. A couple of articles over the past few days illustrate her ability to cloud men’s minds by making the blood flow and pool way down south.

Here’s Jane Mayer writing in The New Yorker about When Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, and Michael Gerson Met Sarah while on a  cruise to Alaska:

During the lunch, everyone was charmed when the Governor’s small daughter Piper popped in to inquire about dessert. Fred Barnes recalled being “struck by how smart Palin was, and how unusually confident. Maybe because she had been a beauty queen, and a star athlete, and succeeded at almost everything she had done.” It didn’t escape his notice, too, that she was “exceptionally pretty.”

[...]

By the time the Weekly Standard pundits returned to the cruise ship, Paulette Simpson said, “they were very enamored of her.” In July, 2007, Barnes wrote the first major national article spotlighting Palin, titled “The Most Popular Governor,” for The Weekly Standard. Simpson said, “That first article was the result of having lunch.” Bitney agreed: “I don’t think she realized the significance until after it was all over. It got the ball rolling.”

The other journalists who met Palin offered similarly effusive praise: Michael Gerson called her “a mix between Annie Oakley and Joan of Arc.” The most ardent promoter, however, was Kristol, and his enthusiasm became the talk of Alaska’s political circles. According to Simpson, Senator Stevens told her that “Kristol was really pushing Palin” in Washington before McCain picked her. Indeed, as early as June 29th, two months before McCain chose her, Kristol predicted on “Fox News Sunday” that “McCain’s going to put Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, on the ticket.” He described her as “fantastic,” saying that she could go one-on-one against Obama in basketball, and possibly siphon off Hillary Clinton’s supporters. He pointed out that she was a “mother of five” and a reformer. “Go for the gold here with Sarah Palin,” he said. The moderator, Chris Wallace, finally had to ask Kristol, “Can we please get off Sarah Palin?”

The next day, however, Kristol was still talking about Palin on Fox. “She could be both an effective Vice-Presidential candidate and an effective President,” he said. “She’s young, energetic.” On a subsequent “Fox News Sunday,” Kristol again pushed Palin when asked whom McCain should pick: “Sarah Palin, whom I’ve only met once but I was awfully impressed by—a genuine reformer, defeated the establishment up there. It would be pretty wild to pick a young female Alaska governor, and I think, you know, McCain might as well go for it.” On July 22nd, again on Fox, Kristol referred to Palin as “my heartthrob.” He declared, “I don’t know if I can make it through the next three months without her on the ticket.”

Another day, another cruise ship  and Sarah heads down to the docks:

On August 1, 2007, a few weeks after the Weekly Standard cruise departed from Juneau, Palin hosted a second boatload of pundits, this time from a cruise featuring associates of National Review. Her guests, arriving on the M.S. Noordam, included Rich Lowry, the magazine’s editor and a syndicated columnist; Robert Bork, the conservative legal scholar and former federal judge; John Bolton, who served as the Bush Administration’s Ambassador to the United Nations from 2004 to 2006; Victor Davis Hanson, a conservative historian who is reportedly a favorite of Vice-President Dick Cheney; and Dick Morris, the ideologically ambidextrous political consultant, who writes a column for The Hill and appears regularly on Fox News.

As Jack Fowler, National Reviews publisher, recalled it, when the guest speakers were invited to come to a special reception at the governor’s mansion, “We said, ‘Sure!’ There’s only so much you can do in Juneau.” The mansion itself, he said, was modest—“not exactly Newport.” But the food was great, and included an impressive spread of salmon. Palin, who circulated nimbly through the room, and spoke admiringly of National Review, made a good impression. Fowler said, “This lady is something special. She connects. She’s genuine. She doesn’t look like what you’d expect. My thought was, Too bad she’s way up there in Alaska, because she has potential, but to make things happen you have to know people.”

Hanson, the historian, recalled Palin in high heels, “walking around this big Victorian house with rough Alaska floors, saying, ‘Hi, I’m Sarah.’ ” She was “striking,” he said. “She has that aura that Clinton, Reagan, and Jack Kennedy had—magnetism that comes through much more strongly when you’re in the same room.” He was delighted that Palin described herself as a fan of history, and as a reader of National Reviews Web site, for which he writes regularly. She spoke about the need to drill for oil in Alaska’s protected wilderness areas, arguing that her husband had worked in nearby oil fields and knew firsthand that it wasn’t environmentally hazardous. Hanson, a farm owner, found it appealing that she was married to an oil worker, rather than to an executive. Bolton, for his part, was pleased that Palin, a hunting enthusiast, was familiar with his efforts to stave off international controls on the global flow of small weapons. She spoke knowledgeably about missile defense, too, he said, and discussed his role, in 2001, in guiding the Bush Administration’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at National Review, had a more elemental response. In an online column, he described Palin as “a former beauty-pageant contestant, and a real honey, too. Am I allowed to say that? Probably not, but too bad.”

According to several accounts, however, no connection made that day was more meaningful than the one struck between Palin and Dick Morris. “He had this very long conversation with her,” Fowler recalled. Lowry laughed in remembering it: “The joke going around was that he was going to take credit for making her.”

Well, hell-oooo sailor! New in Juneau? You wanna talk  ’bout drillin’ or missles? It’s all the same to me. Wink. Wink.

And if these hardened (in more ways than one) Washington insiders with their realpolitik  worldviews can be seduced with her feminine wiles, what chance does Joe Sixpack Plumber Horndog have:

“You rock me out, Sarah,” yelled one man, wearing a red-checked hunting jacket as Ms. Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, strode into an airplane hangar here on Thursday. He held a homemade “Dudes for Sarah” sign and wore a National Rifle Association hat. Kenny Loggins’s “Danger Zone” blared over the loudspeakers, and the man even danced a little — yes, a guy in an N.R.A. hat dancing in a hangar, kind of a Sarah Palin rally thing.

“I feel like I’m at home,” Ms. Palin said, looking out at a boisterous crowd of about 6,000. “I see the Carhartts and the steel-toed boots,” she said, the first reference being to a clothing brand favored by construction workers and the burly types who make up much of the “Sarah Dude” population. “You guys are great,” she said while signing autographs.

Guys think Ms. Palin is great, too, or at least many of those who come to hear her. They sometimes go to extraordinary lengths. “I woke up at 2 a.m. so I could get my work done before 6 and get here by 7,” said Mike Spencer, a chef from Dexter, Me. Mr. Spencer waited in the chilly hangar — in a “Nobama” T-shirt — for almost three hours.

[...]

She has been widely attacked, even by a growing number of conservatives, as being essentially unserious and uncurious. “She doesn’t think aloud. She just …says things,” the Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote Friday. “She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation.”

All the while, Ms. Palin’s stoutest defenders are often the Joe Sixpacks in her crowds, who shrug off her critics, ridiculers and perceived adversaries in the news media. They say they appreciate Ms. Palin for, above all else, how “real” and “like us” she is.

Katie Couric and Tina Fey are going to do their thing, but it doesn’t bother me at all,” said Rob McLain, an insurance agent from Avon, Ind., who attended a packed Palin rally at an amphitheatre in Indiana on Friday night. Mr. McLain wore a “Proud to be voting for a hot chick” button and was joined by his wife, Shannan (“Read my lipstick” button on lapel), and his 6-week-old son, Jaxon (“Nobama” button on beanie).

(Jaxon?)

When speaking with the hoi polloi Palin drops her "g’s",  ratchets up the corn-pone accent and her speeches become a mixture of For the Boys Bette Midler flirting mixed with empty calorie red meat sound-bites because, well, who’s listening anyway?  She’s hot and she’s Republican, making her rarer than a unicorn. Blink at the wrong time and you may never see another one again, so gather ye hard-ons while ye may.

As Annie Savoy once said:

Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty.

You can look it up.