So BuzzFeed has published a batch of Mitt Romney pix that includes several of him bare-chested on various family vacations around the world. None of this is campaign-sanctioned, but you do wonder if someone in Team Romney thinks it might help him among low-information voters of both genders. It’s certainly reminiscent of the 2007 effort by NewsMax writer Ronald Kessler to convince the chattering classes that Mitt’s secret weapon in 2008 was the impression of women that he was “hot.”

You may laugh, but GOP politicians have long believed their macho messages reflected a testosterone-driven image that might achieve cross-gender appeal with some visual images of chest-hair. This weekend I acquired and started reading Greg Mitchell’s fine history of the 1950 California Senate race, entitled Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady, and learned that Nixon’s backers in his early political career were eager to get photos circulating of their hero shirtless on Navy duty in the South Pacific.

If Richard Nixon was “hot,” then cool Mormon Mitt Romney is definitely smokin.’ And I don’t mean tobacco!

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.