Ah, the style feature. Sarah Palin is approaching the debate podium, y’all, so call in the body language experts, the voice modulation analysts, and the communication consultants. A 2,040-word missive in the Washington Post explains to the watcher of tomorrow night’s debate not only what to expect (she’ll wrinkle her nose!), but also how to watch (she’s really expressive On Mute too!) and how to feel (confused, because she’ll “leap through the camera into your living room”). And then there’s this:

These physical and rhetorical habits set Palin in relief to Hillary Clinton, who projected great strength but much less of what one Democratic political consultant calls “traditional feminine warmth.” Which was why it caused such a splash when Clinton once told a crowd, “I’m your girl” — there is little that’s girly about Hillary Clinton’s public persona. Palin calls herself a “gal” and it’s utterly believable.

So to confirm, relevant background for the debate is, duh, to compare (Mary Tyler Moore in “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” Sally Field in “The Flying Nun,” and Gidget, subbing for Mr. Smith, in a movie about going to Washington) and contrast (Hillary Clinton in Not Quite A Girl, Part 2). If comparisons are in order, shouldn’t Biden, not Hillary, be the opposing quantity to Palin’s “huggability”?

And we’re told that it’s Palin’s cuteness that’s “disarming” and yet “infuriating.”


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Jane Kim is a writer in New York.