MSNBC Fill-in Host Deutsch: Palin 'First Woman in Power That Has Sexual Appeal'

It's the kind of astute analysis you'd expect from MSNBC - the place for the politics. CNBC regular and MSNBC fill-in anchor Donny Deutsch solved the mystery behind the media's fascination with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

According to the former advertising executive, it has nothing to do with her stance on several hot-button issues - an advocate of gun rights, a pro-life stance on abortion, pro-exploration and drilling for oil and concerned about the fiscal policies of President Barack Obama. Instead, he contended, it is her sexual appeal that held the media's attention - and not just from a male perspective, but a female perspective as well.

"I'm going to throw something out since I'm talking to three women here and I've said this theory before and I'd love you guys to react to it," Deutsch said on MSNBC on July 27. "That - the reason we have a fascination with Sarah Palin - men and women: This is the first woman in power that has sexual appeal and people don't know what to do with it. That's why people are fascinated with her. Everything else is secondary. OK, beat me up."

According to Deutsch, it was sensory overload for the public.

"Men and women don't know how to process this," Deutsch said. "We've never seen a woman in power that looks like this and has this appeal."

Norah O'Donnell, the chief Washington, D.C. correspondent for MSNBC, agreed with Deutsch's analysis.

"Donnie, I think you're absolutely right," O'Donnell said. "I totally do. I heard you say that on Morning [Joe] and I totally agree with you. I think that, look the fascination is part, she's from Alaska. This is a different person, but also she's young. She's 45 years old. She could sit out the next six presidential elections and then run and be the same age as John McCain. So, she's young. She's gorgeous. She has five children. And she doesn't take advice from anyone and she's got a different style, so I think that's sort of the fascination with her."

Deutsch downplayed Palin's prospects of continuing in politics beyond this point, arguing her sexual appeal won't play out long enough.

"This is a new definition of female power we have never seen before," Deutsch said. "Men and women are learning how to process it. They're fascinated. Once they get past that, she'll be nothing but a media figure. She'll never be a political figure."

A recent Culture and Media Institute study examined how the media portrayed Palin throughout the 2008 presidential campaign cycle and found 18 negative stories for every one positive story.