September 10, 2008

Lipstick-on-Pig Round-Up

Monique Chartier

Barack Obama, September, 2007:

I think that both General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are capable people who have been given an impossible assignment," Sen. Barack Obama said yesterday in a telephone interview. "George Bush has given a mission to General Petraeus, and he has done his best to try to figure out how to put lipstick on a pig."

John McCain, October, 2007:

While he said he had not studied Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's health-care plan, he said it was "eerily reminiscent" of the failed plan she offered as first lady in the early 1990s.

"I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," he said of her proposal.

Barack Obama, yesterday:

The other side, suddenly, they're saying 'we're for change too.' Now think about it, these are the same folks that have been in charge for the last eight years," the Illinois senator told a crowd of 2,400 people in Lebanon, Virginia.

"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.

In all of these instances, "pig" as a negative adjective was directed towards concepts or plans, not towards the individual. [Not that it's pleasant to be accused of attempting to carry out the specified action.]

Sarah Palin's comment about hockey moms, pitbulls and lipstick is what made Obama's most recent lipstick on pig comment ... er, stick a bit more than the prior two. Was it intended as a sexist insult? No. Was it a not-so-clever effort to play on Palin's lipstick comment? Yes. Is the McCain/Palin campaign making hay of it in dramatic fashion? You bet.

(Of course, this lipstick-on-pig round-up would not be complete without everybody's favorite, cited by the Ocean State Republican - the one uttered right here in Rhode Island during the 2004 state budget process by a charged up but constitutionally confused House Majority Leader.)

Would an Obama/Clinton campaign have been in equally high dudgeon if John McCain had made a similar comment about Dem VP candidate Hillary Clinton? Presumably. Are these tit-for-tat exchanges between the two campaigns productive? Probably not. Are they disproportionately damaging to one campaign? That's above my pay grade.

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Obama was trying to get a rise out of his base when he made the pig comments. Given Palin's background as a female commercial fisherman (fisherwoman?), Obama's next line also appears directed at her.

"You can put lipstick on a pig," he said as the crowd cheered. "It's still a pig.

You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink."

It's tough to imagine Obama's comment as "accidental" and it follows other instances of Obama's passive-aggressiveness. Remember, the decision to text his VP nominee announcement to cell phones at 3AM in response to Hillary's "who would you trust to pick up the phone at 3AM" commercial?

Obama also dismissed that action as a "coincidence", but anyone who believes that a major presidential campaign just randomly decided to make the biggest announcement of its campaign in a 3AM text message to cell phones would be foolish to believe Obama's claim of coincidence.

I have to admit that there is some irony in Obama's claim that the McCain campaign is playing the "gender card". It was only a couple of months ago that former President Bill Clinton accused Obama of playing the "race card".

Clinton's direct quote:

"I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know, from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along." --Bill Clinton

Posted by: Anthony at September 11, 2008 1:01 AM


Of course, I agree with you entirely. ;)

I don't believe that Obama directly meant to call Palin a pig. However, I believe his use of the word "lipstick" was deliberate, and meant to draw some kind of comparison to the "lipstick on a pit bill" hockey mom analogy which had been used so effectively by Palin at the RNC. However, as often has happened when Obama has been without his Linus blanket teleprompter, he screwed up whatever message he intended to convey very badly.

If he has simply said afterwards, "I absolutely didn't mean what some think I meant, and therefore apologize to Gov. Palin and anyone else who may have taken any offense whatsoever to my off the cuff remarks," this would have been and dead and buried story yesterday. However, he keeps digging in (and digging deeper), and he just can't admit when he has made a mistake -- even without malice. It's a bad character flaw, which is becoming increasingly evident to many more people.

I really have to admire Obama's work ethic -- he is really working above and beyond the call of duty to lose this election for the Democrats big time (we might not even need to use the October Surprise next month!)

PS I disagree only slightly with Anthony, as I believe that Obama's "old fish" analogy was probably meant to be a dig at McCain's age. In either event, his use of these 'off the cuff' quips and jibes on the stump only shows how very 'unpresidential' he is.

And then there's Joe Biden... :)

Posted by: Will at September 11, 2008 3:16 AM

So I guess both candidates have clearly covered their plans for:

Rescuing this economy



The "War on Terror"

The Patriot Act

Social Security reform

Closing the Enron Loophole

Immigration Reform

Oh wait. No they haven't. Whichever candidate you're for, you're for them because you like them or you vote party lines. You certainly can't be for or against their policy plans as they haven't DISCUSSED any!

We're going to vote for a President with as much information as the average high-schooler has when voting for class president. And stupid crap like this only pushes the issues further away.

Bread and circus.

Posted by: Greg at September 11, 2008 7:50 AM

Okay-the media has us diverted with this BS while there is no detailed explanation of the opposing camps' views on immigration issues or the fact that Obama wants to make the US subservient to the UN in foreign policy,or that he supports the George Soros-funded group at the UN which,under Rebecca Peters,is trying to outlaw privately owned weapons in the US by TREATY that would overrule the Heller decision.
Let's talk about empty phrases,says the media;let's keep the groundlings occupuied.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 11, 2008 7:52 AM

Right or wrong, this shows poor judgement. This is a Bushism of the highest order. BO has learned some of the tricks of oratory, but his control over content is lacking.

This is a nothing and will blow over. But what happens when a President O makes a similar gaffe with a foreign leader or dignitary? I thought we wanted an eloquent and sophisticated leader.

Posted by: chuckR at September 11, 2008 7:55 AM

You guys have to be kidding.

"Was it a not-so-clever effort to play on Palin's lipstick comment? Yes."

No freaking way. He was just talking about policy. And the "fish" - give me a break!


Posted by: anonymous at September 11, 2008 9:10 AM

I have to take issue (pun intended) with your statement that the candidates havne't addressed issues.

In fact, I think both candidates have done a fairly good job of outlining their platforms this election when compared to previous years. You might have to go their respective websites to get the information because the media likes to focus on the "controversy of the day" (that's what sells), but the information is out there.

I think there was a gap at the start: Obama was doing his best not to offend ANY voter, so it was tough to pin him down on specifics. McCain was just trying to stay alive in the primary a year ago, so his focus appeared to be on his own campaign rather than publishing policy.

However, I think at this point, both candidates have outlined there visions and given an indication of the policies that they would promote.

There are huge differences between the candidates in their approaches to the economy, taxes, education, energy, the War on Terror and the Patriot Act and fewer differences in the area of immigration.

The infomation is out there. You just can't rely on the media to always provide it to the public. Their interest is in selling advertising in order for them to survive.

Posted by: Anthony at September 11, 2008 9:57 AM

Barak Hussein Obama deliberately and calculatedly used the phrase to bitch slap Mrs. Palin and it was obvious by the immediate crowd reaction in the background and his sly little grin. If he had used this analogy a month from now, it would have had less significance; however, Sarah had referenced ”lipstick” just a week earlier and the obvious use by Barak Hussein Obama was meant to be directed at Palin. He then has the nerve two days later to still act outraged by the republican camp reaction, touting that his campaign has more important issues to talk about, but hten not going into any detail about those issues. If he had more important issues to discuss, he should have done so on the 8th, instead of attacking (albeit, tongue in cheek) Mrs. Palin.

His reference to "old fish" was also a deliberate jab at McCain's age, which has been a mainstay squawk of the Democratic side since the campaign started. Again this just shows poor judgment on Barak Hussein Obama’s part or the weakness of giving in to less scrupulous speech writers. Either fault is not presidential. I would say, if he had not grinned while muttering the phases, he would not be guilty of the deliberately insulting comments.

If the public would wake up and realize that the last two years we have had a democrat controlled Congress and our economy has turned sour during that time, they would stop referring to Bush being the problem. Quite frankly, if you truly look at the facts and not the lopsided so called “news” that is delved out by the media, Bush has compromised more than most presidents during his two terms in office.

Registered Democrat - - - still voting Republican because the Democrats don’t have viable candidates. Where-o-where is the Independent candidate that America's Middle Class screams for?!?!?

Posted by: Russ at September 11, 2008 10:13 AM

This whole pig debate illustrates just how ridiculous and trivial the whole campaign has become. I wish 9-11 never happened, but the anniversary comes at just the right moment to give both cmapaigns a badly needed timeout.

Posted by: rhody at September 11, 2008 11:11 AM

I don't think there is a question that Obama's remark was aimed at Palin and that it was intentional.

What amazes me is how quickly Obama '08 got off track.

Obama was at his best when he promoted himself as a post-partisan agent of change.

McCain nominates a conservative woman for VP, and BOOM! the Obama camp immediately abandons everything that it claims it stood for and engages in some of the most vicious and belittling partisan personal attacks seen in recent history.

Talk about a boomerang.

The McCain campaign did a great job countering the personal lies that were being spread about Palin (no, Trig wasn't her grandson, she wasn't having an affair, there was no 'list' of banned books, she was part of a separatist movement, etc.), so the Democrats immediately began suggesting that McCain hadn't vetted her.

Well, there are apparently 30 Democrat lawyers and investigators on the ground in Alaska actively seeking to find SOMETHING on Palin, and they haven't come up with much yet either.

At this point, the Democrats and MSM would have to come up with a picture of Palin murdering someone for most American to believe it. They have lost all credibility.

Obama also hoped to convince the American public that a McCain presidency would be another four years of Bush. He didn't count on 40 million Americans listening to John McCain talk about the need for reform.

I'm not sure that Obama can ever regain the high-ground that initially made him popular after his campaign has engaged in so much mud-slinging.

More troubling for the Democrats, Obama is going to have to come up with a better reason for American to vote for him besides his standard "I'm not Bush" rationale.

It's been fun watching Obama '08 self-destruct because it couldn't figure out how to respond to a female on the GOP ticket (and make no mistake, it is Obama '08 destroying itself, not the McCain campaign destroying it).

But it's almost inexplicable to think that the mere presence of a conservative woman on the GOP ticket could have had that effect on Obama's campaign.

Posted by: Anthony at September 11, 2008 11:24 AM
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