Babe of the Year goes, hands down, to Sarah Palin.
Palin had many critics and made many supporters cringe, when she resigned the Governorship of Alaska, but at this stage of the game, the move looks both good and original (originality is always captivating, but it's especially welcome after two years of listening to Barack Obama regurgitate the well-learned nostrums of his many Leftist mentors), as Palin's name recognition and brand identity have become the envy of Fortune 500 marketers.
So, John McCain played Porter Waggoner to Sarah's Dolly Parton. i.e. once the old guy had escorted her to the stage, she didn't need his help anymore to get noticed.
In both cases, the success is due to a combination of form and substance. Sarah isn't merely vivacious, and she isn't merely Reaganite, she is us! i.e. she's Middle-Class America, so the connection -- or disconnection, in the case of elitists (and you elitists out there know who you are) -- is visceral. Sarah Palin has become a litmus test for faith in the common American man/woman, and at least during 2009, no other woman has captured our attention, for more than a moment, to the extent that Sarah has. That makes her 2009's Babe of the Year.