Biden on Palin: "She's good looking"

Nothing against our pal Tammy Bruce, who’s exercised by his comment, but (a) he’s clearly joking, (b) he himself is the butt of the joke, not Palin, and er, (c) he’s right.

Palin was once a contestant in the Miss Alaska contest, and no less an authority than Rush Limbaugh has called her a “babe,” though of course Gov. Palin is a governor and former mayor and mother and I’ll bet this is the last time Biden comments about her looks.

“From our perspective the whole deal is how does the government help you get back up without getting in the way?” Biden asked. “There’s a gigantic – gigantic — difference between John McCain and Barack Obama, and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent. And that is that – ”

The crowd laughed.

“Well there’s obvious differences,” Biden said, beginning to ham it up. “She’s good looking,” he said, laughing. “You know there’s obvious differences. But there’s a whole lot — ”

A woman shouted: “you’re gorgeous!” to Biden.

Not the wisest move to make the first contrast you draw with your woman opponent a physical one, but these endless rhetorical gotchas are wearisome. It sounds like he’s following Team Barry’s strategy of going easy on Palin off the bat, even to the point of paying her superficial compliments as a set-up to drawing substantive contrasts (which it appears he was about to do before the woman in the audience interrupted). Judging from this old photo, Palin herself seems to take this sort of thing with welcome good humor, which will further alienate the already alienated Hillaryistes and not matter much to anyone else. And needless to say, complimenting her looks isn’t incompatible with taking her seriously as a politician; if it was, a good 20 percent of the comments left on righty blogs since the pick was announced wouldn’t have been possible. Exit question: Much ado about nothing, yes?

Update: From commenter Big S, bear this in mind before you bash Biden: “Of course every comment or criticism of Palin will be deemed sexist now. Heather MacDonald was right.”

Update: Babe round-up!