I have a crush on Todd Palin.

I know, I’ve never met the man, or even heard him speak or read more than a few trite quotes that escaped his lips. But he still makes me smile.

Here is a man of the house, soccer dad, and tough as nails Iron Dog champion who races and wins — even with broken limbs. He’s got just enough Eskimo in his blood to give him a permanent tan and a lovely smile. Yeah, he’s yummy.

And why does this matter? It doesn’t. It makes no difference whatsoever in the course of this election. Or does it?

America loves attractive people. Research has shown that we automatically assign to good-looking individuals such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence.? It’s been a long time since we had an attractive man in the white house. (Have we ever? Bill Clinton you say? Um, no.) And now we have Obama, who gets more press for looking good on a surfboard than he does for his political positions. We have the sexy librarian, along with her “first dude” Todd, who is single-handedly invigorating snowmobile sales everywhere. The Palins have adorable children with trendy names — one of the surest ways to attract admirers in America. And let’s not leave out Cindy, who can hold her own at a ladies’ lunch, has good taste, and lots of money. She’s the closest thing to Jackie Kennedy we have as far as fashion is concerned.

There are so many chiseled abs and gleaming teeth in this race, no one even cares about John McCain or that other old white guy — what’s his name? Right, Joe Biden. The two candidates who have the most experience and knowledge are sitting around soaking their dentures while America prepares for election day the same way we get geared up for the Academy Awards — a red carpet gamut. Why else would the media constantly compare Obama, who’s running for president, with Palin, who’s vying for VP? It’s because we prefer to see the beautiful people.

The scary part is that most Americans don’t even realize they have a bias for babes. We refuse to admit it. We are intelligent, educated citizens who research the issues and vote for the best candidate, no matter how blue their eyes are. Sure. If you say so. Voters can deny the effect of attractiveness on electability all they want, but evidence continues to confirm its disturbing presence. Our politicians have become celebrities. And as Kim Kardashian proves, the only qualifier for that title is . . . what does Kim Kardashian do? I don’t know, but she’s beautiful, so people like her.

Is it possible America thinks, even subconsciously, having a beautiful leader will actually make America a more beautiful place? No one would be ludicrous enough to suggest a dazzling smile equals political proficiency? Of course not. But we will all be more willing to watch the State of the Union address from now on, no matter which candidate wins.