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Lipstick on a Pig, An Old Fish Who Stinks.

THE LIPSTICK MEME AND WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN.

The Democrats attacked the Republicans twice on Tuesday using a lipstick metaphor. First,

Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan on Tuesday -- introducing Joe Biden at a campaign event -- ripped into Palin's record and punctuated it with this snarky jab. "There's no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick,"

Later in the day, Barack Obama referred to lipstick on a pig and immediately after to an old fish who smells:

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

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

Before this, Obama listed many issues on which he said that McCain was simply following Bush's policies.

Those juxtapositions allowed Obama's supporters to claim that he wasn't actually calling Palin a pig, and allowed his opponents to claim that he called Palin a pig and McCain an old fish who stinks.

This coupled comparison and the lipstick meme introduced earlier on Tuesday tends to suggest that Obama's comment was not off-the-cuff; it was probably planned.

Palin's defenders complain that it's an insult. Of course, it's an insult. Insulting the opponent is what Palin did to Obama in her convention speech and what Obama did to McCain in his.

Probably, the Democratic speechwriters today were trying to do their own version of Palin's pointed gibes (about community organizing, talking about victory, personal discovery, etc.), but got the tone wrong. There is little question that in literal textual terms, Obama was referring to the views of McCain and Palin, not McCain and Palin themselves. The choice of language, however, suggests a high likelihood that Obama was also intentionally alluding to Palin and McCain personally.

It is not just a case of plausible deniability; the speechwriters were trying to be witty. By referring to McCain and Palin's ideas using colorful language that will cause his audience to think of the actual people Palin and McCain, Obama was almost certainly trying to come right up to the line between acceptable and unacceptable insults without actually crossing it. That Obama's crowd understood the allusion to Palin is suggested by the enthusiastic cheers that started even before he finished the pig sentence. Without seeing the Palin connection, would they have cheered in the middle of him uttering an otherwise completely ordinary cliche?

Did Obama have female speechwriters work on his speech? If not, would he have miscalculated if he did?

Was Obama calling Palin a pig and McCain a stinky old fish? No, it would be too crude to do -- and he didn't directly do so.

But when Obama talked about a pig and a fish, was he slyly referring to them personally? Almost certainly. Very likely, this paired comparison was intended to be a Palin-style sharp, but good natured insult. It misfired because the insult was far less sly (and far more crude) than he and his speechwriters thought it was.

THE PROPER RESPONSE

The proper Republican response for a joke that misfires would be to make fun of Obama's gaffe, but not to demand an apology. Palin is tough. An off-color joke may not be that big a deal -- and even if it is, she should be tough enough to brush it off. The Republican narrative should be that Obama is losing his cool and that he is acting like a VP candidate by going after the other VP candidate — ie, they should be suggesting that Obama can't take the heat.

Further, having people other than Palin demanding apologies on her behalf sends a false message that she is weak and needs protection.

Republicans should make some political hay about Obama's crude insults for a couple days -- as the Democrats did about McCain's multiple apartments -- and then move on.

This is far from the worst thing that either side has said -- or will say -- about each other.

Instapundit has a nice roundup on this issue.

PersonFromPorlock:
Simplest thing is for Palin to smile sweetly, excuse Obama on the grounds that he just didn't understand what he was saying and remind him that a lipsticked pit bull is still a pit bull.
9.10.2008 2:55am
tvk:
Jim,

Agree with your basic analysis of motives here, but whether the line "misfired" is in the eye of the beholder. As a Democratic symphathizer, I was sufficiently turned off by Palin's speech to switch from "not going to bother to vote" to "going to vote for Obama at 9am in the morning." And I find Obama's comment precisely the sharp jab that feels good. I suspect that Palin's speech invoked precisely the same response in Republican sympathizers (i.e. felt great to jab) and Obama's line will also do so (i.e. motivates them more strongly to vote for Palin).
9.10.2008 2:57am
theobromophile (www):
Unless I'm missing something, there was one of two things going on here: the "lipstick on a pig" comment was made in light of the "pit bull with lipstick" comment; or it was not. If it's the former, then it's a pretty crummy thing of Obama to do, and the Palin camp should not demand an apology, but should broadcast the statement around America.

If it's the latter - if it is merely a bad choice of words, given how many people associate the "hockey moms were lipstick" with Palin, then she and McCain should just ask the American public if they want someone who is liable to make those mistakes negotiating with Russia and Iran.

There is the line to never assume animosity when stupidity could be the cause, but BHO doesn't look great from any angle.
9.10.2008 3:01am
Dave N (mail):
Did Obama have female speechwriters work on his speech?
Of course not. Only Sarah Palin has speechwriters.

At least, that was the impression the Obama campaign gave last Thursday.
9.10.2008 3:05am
Syd Henderson (mail):
Obama's statement simply means that if you put ugly ideas in a pretty package, they're still ugly. Indirect insults, sure, but he could have used the same metaphor if Palin was a man.
9.10.2008 3:06am
jab:
oh please give me a break...
after the democratic convention, where the democrats fell over themselves trying to be deferential and respectful of mccain even while they were attacking his policies, followed by the obnoxious GOP convention that dripped with utter contempt PERSONALLY for Obama (especially Palin's speech)...
now the mccain/palin ticket wants to WHINE...

theobromophile... given the amount of gaffes and outright lies spewing forth from mccain/palin, i certainly don't want them negotiating with Russia and Iran.
9.10.2008 3:08am
GV:
Jim, you’re becoming a caricature of yourself.
9.10.2008 3:09am
Jim Hu:
Unfortunately, the McCain campaign did the opposite - they not only responded with outrage, they put together a new special group of women to deliver the response. Ugh.

If I was McCain/Palin I'd be tempted to say something like:
"We appreciate that Sen Obama is keeping the campaign lighthearted with his joke the other day... about how he might not raise taxes in a recession after all."
9.10.2008 3:11am
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
Obama just released this statement: "I'm sorry if anyone was offended by my comment about the McCain campaign being like a pig in lipstick. I was feeling under the weather earlier to day and one of my staff members gave me some Dramamine, which made me extra tired while making the speech."
9.10.2008 3:12am
Jed S-A:
Last year, McCain used the exact same phrase to refer to Hillary Clinton's health care plan. Was it sexist of him then? Especially given that 9 years prior, he bashed Hillary's then-teenaged daughter with a joke so vicious that newspapers refused to print it?

It seems that not only is McCain distorting what Obama said, he is simultaneously being a hypocrite.
9.10.2008 3:12am
Maybelline:
Pretty spot on analysis I think. I frankly don't see what is so upsetting in Lindgren's post -- even to partisans.
9.10.2008 3:13am
Bill Kilgore:
If Obama did this on purpose, he doesn't want to be President. If he said this accidentally, the boy's not smart enough to be president.

Just calling a spade a spade- or is it sometimes a good idea to drop certain commonly-used phrases in certain contexts?
9.10.2008 3:15am
EH (mail):
Mr. Lindgren is becoming as predictable as Mr. Bernstein.

Bill Kilgore: So no matter what, it's bad for Obama?
9.10.2008 3:21am
one of many:
The jokes not what I would call off-color. Not even very insulting, just a ding not rising to the level of a barb. It's got a touch of sex involved since lipstick is not associated with men usually, but no sexual innuendo (which would make it off-color). I wouldn't get upset about it, just mention it and rhetorically ask if Obama is formally declaring that this is going to be a dirty campaign with personal insults. That's the real problem for Obama with this, it's too close to being a personal insult, not that it was off-color or crude.
9.10.2008 3:21am
John Moore (www):
Bill Kilgore...

Outstanding! Explication by humorous example.

As to those comparing this to Palin's speech - get some perspective! Obama's phrasing is an insult - not an attack, not ridicule, but just plain mean and dirty.

Personally, I think it was a slip, but as Kilgore says, that tells us a lot about Obama's lack of qualifications!
9.10.2008 3:29am
Dave N (mail):
Jim Lindgrin is spot-on in his analysis. I look at it as a dig in the campaign's home stretch. As something for the McCain/Palin campaign to complain about--on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being minor and 10 being catastrophic), this is a -100 (and dropping fast).

The McCain/Palin campaign should laugh it off. Maybe their campaign store should sell "Pitbull Lipstick." But to even have faux outrage over Obama using the phrase is stupid.
9.10.2008 3:29am
Kazinski:
It was just out and out stupid to make a remark that could be interpreted as referring to Sarah Palin as a pig anytime in a campaign. To do it the same week that shows Obama's support among white women is falling off the table is near suicidal. Women don't like to be called pigs, they don't much like hearing other women called pigs. Obama's campaign needs to realize that Palin is kryptonite to Obama right now. He needs to ignore her and concentrate on McCain, and let Palin recede into the background, she is not likely to maintain her rockstar status until the election day, unless of course Obama continues to make her the focus of his campaign.
9.10.2008 3:40am
Bill Kilgore:
EH- calling a woman a pig would be bad for Obama. Not calling a woman a pig, but using language that would allow your opponents to argue that you're calling a woman pig would also be bad.

So to answer your question, yes. Unless Obama has internal polling to indicate that the way to stop his slide is to call Palin a pig or use an expression that would allow for this argument. I doubt he has that type of internal polling.

This gaffe seems to reinforce the not ready for prime-time argument. Learning to avoid words that clearly mean "X" but can arguably be interpreted as meaning "Y" is something all politicians must learn (particularly those who will be engaged internationally.) Generally this lesson is learned by trial and error during difficult campaigns. However, Obama has never been in a particularly difficult campaign- over the last week, it shows.

Do not fear- I suspect Palin will make this same mistake. The problem for Obama is that she may not make it until after he has lost the election.
9.10.2008 3:51am
Daryl Herbert (www):
Did Obama have female speechwriters work on his speech? If not, would he have miscalculated if he did?

Women are quicker to turn to personal attacks than men. The kind of women involved with Sen. Obama's campaign--ugh. They're drinking the Kool-Aid. To them, Sarah Palin is a disgusting inbred hillbilly and any dig they can make at her--or her family--is high comedy.

Anyone who dares to stand in Obama's way is "fair game," as is their career and their family.
9.10.2008 3:58am
Bill Kilgore:
I also agree that the best way for Palin to handle this is by providing a back-handed safety net to Obama and not whining. Something like, "we're not offended by the comments and we appreciate Senator Obama's efforts to be humorous. However, we think he is funniest when he tries to argue that he is qualified to be president."
9.10.2008 4:00am
js5 (mail):
what's really funny is that McCain used the SAME EXACT EXPRESSION to describe shrillary and her health care plan. I'm sure Jim will be quick to write up a lengthy syllable-by-syllable analysis of that incident. Jim, it's an expression that plenty of people use, and plenty of people understand. Why this is news is beyond reasonable comprehension.
9.10.2008 4:04am
js5 (mail):
To add, I'm 90% certain I used that exact phrase to describe the pick of palin on this website in the last few days. (it's either this one or another law forum).
9.10.2008 4:13am
Sally:
Governor Palin doesn't have to be insulted and she probably isn't. She doesn't look like a pig. And she looks great in lipstick. But there will be a fair number of women who will find this tasteless and rather typical of a certain type of man.

It should also be noted that while Palin hit hard in her speech last week, she did so with biting wit and sardonic turn of phrase. She didn't resort to immature name-calling, unless "community organizer" is now an epithet.
9.10.2008 4:13am
Milhouse (www):
js5, Syd Henderson, what you're ignoring is the context in which this crack comes. Had Palin not made the pitbull/lipstick joke last week, there'd have been nothing wrong with McCain's lipstick comment this week. But she did, so there is. McCain's comment about Hillary was literally identical, but the context was completely different. The only real excuse Obama could have given was that he was unaware of Palin's joke — if true that would be a completely acceptable excuse and explanation, but unfortunately it cannot possibly be true, and nobody would believe it.
9.10.2008 4:22am
Milhouse (www):
Oops. s/McCain/Obama in the second sentence.
9.10.2008 4:23am
Bill Kilgore:
js5- no one can credibly argue it's not a frequently used expression. The point is that it's a poor expression to use in the current context. Like "boy" or "a spade is a spade" with Obama or "chink in the armor" if your opponent is east-Asian, it's the kind of thing that can have a huge cost with little or no benefit.

Obama is smarter than that and he should demonstrate such intelligence. If he's on his game he'll briefly apologize for the bad joke, use the "controversy" to make the same point in a more emphatic manner, then make another bad joke without the using the word "lipstick."

The last two weeks give no indication that he'll do this.
9.10.2008 4:27am
Bill Kilgore:
Or what Milhouse said.
9.10.2008 4:28am
tsotha:
I've never seen a presidential campaign implode like this, with the possible exception of Carter in 1980. Obama is starting to come off like that whiny friend you don't want to invite to parties.

Bill is right. This is bad or bad - either he stupidly did it on purpose, or he stupidly did it on accident. The race is a dead heat. Hillary supporters were already suspicious, so he needs to be careful about saying anything that might be construed as sexist by the most unreasonable woman.
9.10.2008 4:39am
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Absolutely. Humor yes, whining no.
9.10.2008 4:41am
DiversityHire:
I think Obama should stick to his guns and double down. He should say: "Although George Bernard Shaw—whose collected works adorn my study—once said 'I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.' Well, I don't mind getting dirty—and I sure don't mind giving Sarah Palin what she likes—but I'm not going to stop wrestling that pig, because as Jim Henson—whose work entertains my two darling daughters—said 'People love going along with the idea of a beautiful pig. It's like a conspiracy.' That pig isn't change, she's more of the same dressed up with a strip-mall manicure, synthetic hair extensions, and some cheap Revlon lipstick. And when she squeals, all I gotta say is 'If you can't stand the heat, baby, get back in the kitchen."
9.10.2008 5:03am
Bill Kilgore:
DiversityHire- I like it but I think he needs to work in a c-bomb. That way people will know he's a "fighter."
9.10.2008 5:15am
Syd Henderson (mail):

Milhouse (www):
js5, Syd Henderson, what you're ignoring is the context in which this crack comes. Had Palin not made the pitbull/lipstick joke last week, there'd have been nothing wrong with McCain's lipstick comment this week.


I'm not ignoring it; it probably suggested using this particular metaphor.

But Obama's not calling Palin a pig, he's calling the Republican political agenda a pig. He's insulting her political beliefs, not her appearance.
9.10.2008 5:28am
AMB:
This is all so horrible. Are we ever going to get to REAL ISSUES?

This economy is falling apart. Unemployment is UP. For some, this is a real economic depression. There are real folks having some really bad economic times now.

There are a couple of wars going on, with no end in sight.

No one seems to have any answers or solutions.

So we have our chosen "best and brightest" of our "leaders" engaged in word fights that should embarrass any self-respecting third grader??

Ya, they've all thrown around personal insults. Then the other side wastes time and tries to distract the public by demanding apologies and pretending the p*ssing contests are the real issues.

I'm disgusted with this Presidential campaign, on both sides, and I'm disgusted that someone bright enough to join Eugene Volokh's Volokh Conspiracy would think anything like this was worth any analysis.

This is behavior an elementary school teacher would tell everyone to ignore. It's stupid and does nothing but distract people from the very serious problems that need to be addressed.

If either side had some real solutions ready to put in place, I don't care who he calls a pig. H*ll, he can call me a pig if he knows how to solve the many real disasters this country is now facing. ... BOTH sides are into the name calling because neither side knows what to do to solve the disasters that this country is now dealing with. As between these two sides, it has been reduced to something akin to a high-school student council election, where the kids know they can't do anything, so the elections become personality contests.

This is frightening. Terribly, terribly frightening.
9.10.2008 6:04am
dearieme:
They could always have hinted that "pig" is a very charged insult from a mad mussulman. Congratulations on the self-restarint, or derision for their not thinking of it?
9.10.2008 6:46am
Darrin Ziliak:
You're kidding, right?
I doubt that the McCain campaign has any self-restraint left at all after their latest ad that implies Obama is a pedophile who supports teaching sex-ed to kindergartners.

Whatever respect I had for McCain vanished when I saw that ad.
The 'Straight Talk Express' became the Bullshit Express a long time ago.
9.10.2008 6:55am
rarango (mail):
AMB--very well said. And that we take time to parse political insults belies the idea that people want to deal with issues. I take only one exception to your exceptionally nice post: I think we are winning the war in Iraq. But of course, we would be talking about issues then. Thanks for injecting a much needed note of sanity.
9.10.2008 6:58am
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
Good grief:
McCain himself used the phrase more than once, including last year, when he was talking about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's 1990s health care plan.

He said last October, "I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."
I expect appropriately sheepish updates will be issuing from the usual suspects roughly around the time pigs fly.
9.10.2008 7:05am
paul lukasiak (mail):
I'd like to suggest that the juxtaposition of "fish" with "pig" is also a bit of 'dog whistle' about Palin -- and one that goes well below the belt.

and I think that the Palin response should be say that it was "an unfortunate choice of words" (quoting Obama on the 'RFK assassination' controversy) while the McCain campaign, when asked, should say "no comment, but people have a right to make up their own minds" (quoting the Obama campaign on the MLK/LBJ controversy).

In other words, I don't know if it was an intentional insult or not --- but McCain/Palin should use it to mock the Obama campaign.
9.10.2008 7:11am
rarango (mail):
Mr. Lukasiak--not wanting to seem like a stalker, but I have followed your posts on other forums, notably Jay Rosens blog--your political take on things seems to have evolved into much more centrist positions--am I correct in this, or did I simply misjudge your earliers postings? At any rate, thanks for expressing some much needed sanity into what is a terrible political campaign.
9.10.2008 7:28am
TruthInAdvertising:
This is beyond ridiculous. Obama and Biden's comments were directed at McCain's policies and they are spot on. McCain's policies are largely a rehash of what we've gotten under 8 years of Bush. As usual, Mr. Lindgren omitted the context of Obama's remarks to remove any references to what preceded his comments. In the world of Lindgren and Republican hacks, Obama simply can not say certain words, lest they be an insult to Sarah Palin. What else is on the banned list? EBay? Bridge to Nowhere?
9.10.2008 7:28am
TDPerkins (mail):

I doubt that the McCain campaign has any self-restraint left at all after their latest ad that implies Obama is a pedophile who supports teaching sex-ed to kindergartners.


A) Obama does support quite demonstrative sex-ed for quite young children.

B) To eviscerate your false implications, I as you to cite the ad.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.10.2008 7:38am
Brett Bellmore:
Of course it's ridiculous. But are only Democrats allowed to rave on and on about "dog whistles" and "code words", putting together a whole secret vocabulary so that their opponents can't say anything without having some sort of bigotry attributed to them after the secret decoder ring has been employed? If this blew up in Obama's face, it would only be justice, on that basis.
9.10.2008 7:48am
paul lukasiak (mail):
rarango...
my politics haven't changed -- I'm still quite far to the left, while being pragmatic about the odds of my opinions being adopted as policy. But as an eventual, and very reluctant, Clinton supporter in the primaries (based not on her policies, but on her knowledge and experience and Obama's lack thereof) I was appalled by the media throughout the campaign (even before supporting Clinton, I was appalled by the media's treatment of her).

And I'm equally appalled by the witchhunt/feeding frenzy Palin coverage, and the complete betrayal of what was once a rational media critique by the progressive blogosphere.

I don't have a dog in this hunt at this point -- I can't support Obama because of the combination of his lack of experience and his hubris/arrogance/petulance (a Democratic version of Bush would be a disaster -- and that is what Obama looks like to me). I was planning on voting for McKinney until I found out she won't be on the PA ballot -- and may wind up voting for McCain based on the need to prevent a GOP takeover of Congress and the White House by 2012.
9.10.2008 8:14am
omarbradley:
Forget the lipstick, the fish reference was even more insulting to women.

Everyone on this board knows what Obama was talking about when he was talking about something smelling like fish. Any guy who spent a day in HS would know what Obama was talking about. $ women friends I spoke with last night all knew what he was talking about.

Combine this with his sexism against Hillary in the primaries(likeable enough, periodiaclly, the claws come out, kitchen sink, sweetie, etc...)and it's beginning to be apparent that Barack has a problem with white women

I know he wrote in his book about how he used to date them but couldnt because of the race issue. Maybe thats part of it.

Everyone knows what he meant and its hliarious to watch the media try and cover up for him.

I love the "it's just a cliche" defense. Lets say McCain yesterday had said of Obama attacking Palin over earmarks when he himself has requested close to a billion dollars, "let's just call a spade a spade here, this is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black". Would the MSM be sticking up for him?

We all know the answer
9.10.2008 8:16am
Quarterly Prophet (mail):
That Barack Obama, he's so snobby and uppity.
9.10.2008 8:20am
tomheffron (mail):
Doesn't anyone in here recall when John McCain referred to Hillary Clinton with putting lipstick on a pig when referring to her health carer plan?
9.10.2008 8:22am
Big E:
Doesn't anyone in here recall when John McCain referred to Hillary Clinton with putting lipstick on a pig when referring to her health carer plan?

No of course not. Lindgren's got such a problem with Obama or such an infatuation with Palin, his posts are almost becoming self-parody.
9.10.2008 8:27am
Darrin Ziliak:
A) Obama does support quite demonstrative sex-ed for quite young children.


Care to back that bullshit up with a reputable (newsmax, LGF, MM, Redstate, et al are not reputable) source that doesn't use out of context quotes?

B) To eviscerate your false implications, I as you to cite the ad.



View it for yourself

Notice the 'creepy smile' picture the ad uses when it mentions teaching sex-ed to kids.

But of course dishonest shills such as yourself will deny the point.
Just as Georgia Congressman Westmoreland denied any racial intent when using the word 'uppity' to describe Obama.

Only an idiot or a dishonest shill would believe a southerner wouldn't be aware of the racial context of the word 'uppity' when used to describe a black man.

Just like they'd deny any ill-intent on McCain's part.
So much for the 'honorable campaign' McSame promised to run.
9.10.2008 8:27am
hawkins:
Why does it matter whether he was calling Palin a pig or McCain a pig? No one is offended if he called McCain a pig. its sexist to care if he called Palin a pig.
9.10.2008 8:31am
omarbradley:
McCain was clearly referring to the plan itself, not Clinyon herself. Obama was clearly referring to Palin herself. Anyone who's smarter than a 5th grader can see that.

Also, when you consider that the dem introducing Biden in MO also made a lipstick reference. When other dems on TV have made the same reference. It's clear it was an attack aimed at Palin.

Obama was sexist against Hillary throughout the primary, why are people surprised at this? Remember you're likeable enough, periodically she gets down, her claws come out, the kitchen sink, sweetie, gibing hillary the bird when doing jay z's shoulder brush off, playing 99 problems but a bitch aint one at his IA victory speech, etc...

and the fish reference was so beyond the pale ive lost all respect for Obama as a man. He's no man, he's just some kid in HS or the frat house.
9.10.2008 8:32am
krac@live.co.uk (mail):
Hey man, I fully condone you views. That speach was just too bad and below the belt. You could even hear Obama hesitate before almost studering the words "pig" and "lipstick". Shame on him. He will never be PRESIDENT.

Vote RED, Vote REPUBLICAN
krac@live.co.uk
9.10.2008 8:43am
Federal Dog:
Dave N.--

The pit bull lipstick idea is great. You should send that to McCain.
9.10.2008 8:50am
glocksman:
No of course not. Lindgren's got such a problem with Obama or such an infatuation with Palin, his posts are almost becoming self-parody.



Indeed.
For the record, I'm wondering why so many posters on an allegedly 'libertarian' leaning blog attack Obama relentlessly while ignoring McCain's wholesale assault on the personal rights libertarians claim to hold so dear.
9.10.2008 8:50am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Lindgren:

"It is not just a case of plausible deniability; the speechwriters were trying to be witty."


Nice theory, except as I said before, according to my source high in the Obama campaign, BHO writes his own speeches. Of course this time might be an exception, but I doubt it.
9.10.2008 8:58am
Mike Keenan:
"This is far from the worst thing that either side has said – or will say – about each other."

Really. Can you provide an example of something you consider worse that this?
9.10.2008 9:10am
Sarcastro (www):
I have no doubt Obama has decided that sexism will get him loads of votes from his fellow liberal sexist friends. I hear liberals insulting women all the time by calling them fish or pigs or cows or sheep or any of God's critters.

What a cynical political ploy!
9.10.2008 9:15am
omarbradley:
I guess this Barack's new politics

attacking women, using crude fish references to their anatomy

flipping the bird to a former first lady and current senator

blaring misogynistic rap music at parties and soliciting endorsements from Luda and Jigga

saying John McCain has no honor

sliming a former President as a racist

the list goes on
9.10.2008 9:15am
Darrin Ziliak:
Wow.
Lie much, omarbradley?
Frankly if I had my way, Obama would be painting McSame (accurately) as a cross between Grandpa Simpson and George W Bush.
Luckily for the Republicans, he has moral qualms about such attacks.

After reading Nixonland, I don't.
If you want to know the 'truth' about McCain, visit Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain.

Two can play 'slime the opponent'. :p
9.10.2008 9:21am
Sarcastro (www):
omarbradley seruously, what would Obama's motivation be to do everything you're talking about? Surely he doesn't think it'll get him votes.

Is he some kind of unthinking idiot-beast in a suit, then?
9.10.2008 9:22am
Brian Mac:

I doubt that the McCain campaign has any self-restraint left at all after their latest ad that implies Obama is a pedophile who supports teaching sex-ed to kindergartners.

Having watching the ad, I think you've got some pretty serious issues.
9.10.2008 9:24am
Horatio (mail):
The ONE appears to be tone-deaf to his off the cuff remarks. Before the campaign is over I fully expect him to inquire in the immortal words of Sheriff Bart "Hey, where the white women at?"
9.10.2008 9:24am
omarbradley:
Are you saying Obama didn't flip Hillary the bird. Have you seen that video? It's obvious what he did and the crowd even cheered him as he was doing it.

Are you saying Obama and his people didn't play the race crad on Bill Clinton. Of course they did. They made as much hay out of the fairy tale remark as McCain is now. Karama is a bitch, Barack.

He did play 99 problems but a bitch aint one at his IA victory party and easgerly accepted the endorsment of Luda and Jigga both of whose songs have numerous misogynistic references.

Everyone on this blog knows what the smells like fish reference meant.

Sarcastro, Obama isnt doing this on purpose. Right now he's like a QB whose offensive line has broken down and is getting blitzed on every play. He's being rushed, he's hearing the footsteps, he's being forced in to bad throws and interceptions.
9.10.2008 9:26am
pluribus:
Bill Kilgore:

If Obama did this on purpose, he doesn't want to be President. If he said this accidentally, the boy's not smart enough to be president.

Wow, I'm glad neither McCain nor Palin said this. "Boy" has long been recognized as a derogatory term for a black man. Obama is not a boy, but a 47 year old adult. If you said this on purpose, shame on you. If you said this accidentally . . . .
9.10.2008 9:29am
Darrin Ziliak:
Omarbradley:

Having followed your posts for a while, I can say that your 'concerns' WRT misogyny ring about as genuine as a Klansman's concerns about the civil rights of illegal aliens does..

In other words, go peddle your bullshit somewhere where the knuckledraggers will believe it.
9.10.2008 9:34am
omarbradley:
the truth hurts, I guess
9.10.2008 9:35am
Brian Mac:

If you said this on purpose, shame on you. If you said this accidentally . . . .

I know it's a tough ask, but if you go back and read his second sentence you may find your answer.
9.10.2008 9:36am
Darrin Ziliak:

Having watching the ad, I think you've got some pretty serious issues.



Nice way to try and attack the attacker instead of responding to the post, but no dice.

Read this definition of a pedosmile, and try to tell me that it wasn't what the McCain campaign was aiming at.
9.10.2008 9:39am
Darrin Ziliak:
the truth hurts, I guess


Truth?
No, I can deal with that.
Lies, bullshit, and character assassination?
Hell, that's all you neocons have to run on, so I don't know why I took McCain's pledge to run an 'honorable' campaign at face value.

Other than naviete, of course.
I certainly won't make that mistake again.
9.10.2008 9:43am
Dan M.:
Palin is definitely walking a fine line here with whether she wants to be viewed as a strong woman or if the entire campaign wants to be looked at as whiners.

I think they had a legitimate complaint when Joe Biden essentially accused Palin of not loving her child because she doesn't support stem cell research. But this is going to backfire if they keep complaining.
9.10.2008 9:43am
omarbradley:
Darrin,

point out my lies.

Did Obama give Hillary the finger? It's on video you know

Did his campaign and supporters call Bill Clinton a racist?

Did he play 99 problems but a bitch aint one at his victory party in IA?

Did he say Hillary is likeable enough?

Did he he say she gets down periodically and her claws come out?
9.10.2008 9:46am
Darrin Ziliak:
It's all in the spin.
If you want to believe that everything you mentioned was sexist, than you will and nothing I nor Hillary Clinton herself can dissuade you.

For the true HRC supporters who might be reading this, I'll leave you with one statement to keep in mind: 'No how, No way, No McCain'.
9.10.2008 9:49am
Bored Lawyer:

The proper Republican response for a joke that misfires would be to make fun of Obama’s gaffe, but not to demand an apology


The proper response would be a witty counter-joke.

How about:

McCain: You now, Senator Obama is right. Why I was just telling Cindy yesterday, Cindy, you can put a fancy label on a three-piece. But after all, it's still just that: an empty suit.

or try this:

Palin: Senator Obama is right. I was just telling my husband, you know, you can paint cotton candy green. That doesn't turn it into a piece of broccoli. It's still all fluff and empty calories.
9.10.2008 9:50am
Brian Mac:

Read this definition of a pedosmile, and try to tell me that it wasn't what the McCain campaign was aiming at.

It wasn't what the McCain campaign was aiming at. Happy?
9.10.2008 9:51am
Darrin Ziliak:
It wasn't what the McCain campaign was aiming at. Happy?



If this was an isolated incident, I'd agree.
But it's merely one in a series of incidents where McCain questions the character of his opponent, including several where he outright stated that his opponent 'would rather lose a war than a campaign'.

Perhaps you don't see anything wrong in that, but if McCain said that about me, I'd punch him in the gut for daring to question my love of country.

Again, all of this 'character' bullshit goes directly against McCain's stated desire to run an 'issues' campaign.
9.10.2008 9:56am
paul lukasiak (mail):
Palin is definitely walking a fine line here with whether she wants to be viewed as a strong woman or if the entire campaign wants to be looked at as whiners.

that's why the McCain campaign is using surrogates like Jane Swift (just as Obama used surrogates in the whole 'Clinton is racist' thing).

I don't know if Obama was intentionally insulting Palin, whether is was some kind of subconscious hiccup, or whether it was "just a cigar". But regardless of the motivation for the "pig/fish" rhetoric, given the way Obama ran his primary campaign, Obama has no one but himself to blame for those who read malevolence into his statement.

Obama's primary campaign strategy was to get people to see what they wanted to see in Obama -- his vagueness in terms of policy and issues was a feature, not a defect, and it worked for him because the Democratic electorate wants to think the best of Democratic politicians -- and take the WORMs (What Obama Really Meant) at face value.

But that deliberately vague "read what you want to" strategy is disasterous in terms of a general election, because there is an entire political party that thinks the worst of Democrats, and is unafraid to communicate their own "reading" of Obama.
9.10.2008 9:59am
Pon Raul (mail):
jab:

If you are going to call people liers, then you should probably specify the lies. Otherwise, you sound like a hack. I would bet that your so-called lies are really just half-truths and opinion.
9.10.2008 10:00am
omarbradley:
how is playing 99 problems but a bitch aint one after you just beat Hillary in a caucus not sexist?

He could have played any Jigga song. H to the IZZO. Hard Knock Life. Can I get A...

The Bill Clinton smear wasnt sexist, it was just shameful and dirty

and the periodically the claws comes out was clearly sexist, same with the finger

BTW, Darrin, it;s why Hillary crushed Obama among white women

Look at the exits from OH, PA, MO, NC, WV, KY, etc.... She avged close to 70% of white women

That's not a good sign for Obama

I agree McCain shouldnt push it that much. Creating one day today and taking Obama out of his planned news cycle is enough

But Obama is on notice and if he says anything else remotely sexist, the hammer will fall
9.10.2008 10:01am
Eli Rabett (www):
John and Sarah Whiner have a new kid, Jim
9.10.2008 10:02am
JR Lentini (mail):
"multiple apartments"?

That's an interesting spin on it.

And judging by the reaction of the morning news shows, there was no 'misfire': Obama put his campaign in an aggressive posture, sticking McCain on the defensive and forcing him to attack a phrase he himself used to describe Hillary Clinton('s health plan). And when you've spent the last week trying to get the press to put McCain-Palin on the defense over her record, and anything that puts them on defense will get there eventually. This put them on defense. It's not "the politics of change," but it's pretty smart politics.
9.10.2008 10:04am
Sarcastro (www):
Did Obama scratch his face with his middle finger once when debating Hillary?
-YES! This must be on purpose!

Are some of his supporters crazy people?
-YES! We must impute all their opinions onto Obama.

Did an Obama supporter put on 99 Problems?
-YES! Again if one of Obama’s supporters did something it is just like Obama did it!

Did he say Hillary is likeable enough?
-SEXISM! Cause Hillary is a woman!

"She gets down periodically and her claws come out"
-OMG! He said "periodically" it's about PMS!

-Obama has spoken millions of words. Some of them are sexist! It's just like McCain and Clinton are stone racists cause they said the word black once!
9.10.2008 10:06am
Pon Raul (mail):
To address another point: McCain was not calling Hillary a pig when he used the idiom. Hillary had not refered to herself as an animal in lipstick as far as anyone knows. In context, it is clear that McCain was just using the common idiom and it is clear that Obama was having some fun using this common idiom in a way that suggested that Palin was a pig. Note, it is also fairly clear that he called McCain an Old Fish.
9.10.2008 10:06am
Fury:
Eh, I see this as a non-issue. Even *if* it was intentional (which I don't believe it was), the Repubs should just move on.
9.10.2008 10:06am
Brian Mac:

If this was an isolated incident, I'd agree.
But it's merely one in a series of incidents where McCain questions the character of his opponent, including several where he outright stated that his opponent 'would rather lose a war than a campaign'.


I think most people agree that it's been a dirty election. But thinking McCain is trying to paint Obama as a kiddy fiddler is a bit of a stretch.
9.10.2008 10:09am
Darrin Ziliak:
BTW, Darrin, it;s why Hillary crushed Obama among white women


I'm a white man in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, which Hillary won 52-48%.
That's not much when you consider that she was expecting to win the state by a much larger margin.

Sexist?

Yeah, you could make that argument but considering Indiana's somewhat dishonorable historty WRT the Ku Klux Klan and racism in general, it'd fall flat on its face.

In fact considering both Indiana's past history and recent
9.10.2008 10:15am
The Ace (mail):
This is hysterical to watch.
Obama, the much hyped "orator" simply can not perform with out prepared remarks.

Obama is clearly the guy you want on the free throw line with the clock showing 00:00 because you would hear his knees knocking.

He is so rattled it isn't even funny.
9.10.2008 10:16am
CherryGhost:
Well this has been terribly productive. Let us sum: Politician says something. Opponent politician feigns umbrage. The intertubes get all worked up.

FWIW: According the latest ABC News poll, page 5

Among registered voters who care more about issues, Obama
leads by 56-37 percent. But among those who put more weight on personal qualities – or who consider both equally – McCain leads by almost an identical margin.
9.10.2008 10:17am
The Ace (mail):
including several where he outright stated that his opponent 'would rather lose a war than a campaign'

Considering this is an absolutely true statement, your post makes no sense.

Since you can rebut the fact that Obama wanted to lose the war in Iraq, you starting waving your arms about "charater assassination" and such.

Keep waving. It isn't working.
9.10.2008 10:18am
Darrin Ziliak:
But thinking McCain is trying to paint Obama as a kiddy fiddler is a bit of a stretch.


There is an old saying that basically says that 'Once is accidental, twice is coincidental, and thrice is enemy action'.
In other words, the McCain campaign has pissed away any benefit of the doubt they'd normally get because of their previous actions and statements.
9.10.2008 10:19am
Darrin Ziliak:
Since you can rebut the fact that Obama wanted to lose the war in Iraq, you starting waving your arms about "charater assassination" and such.



Prove that Obama would rather lose a war than a campaign, and then I'll agree.

Until then, I'll assume that you're simply a dishonest shit unworthty of further consideration.
9.10.2008 10:21am
Karan Singh (mail):
Hmm, I read the "fish" remark as a derogatory slang reference to "female" (yes, I have personally heard people use that term in that context, though that was going on 15-19 years ago).
9.10.2008 10:21am
The Ace (mail):
Prove that Obama would rather lose a war than a campaign

Um, the fact that Obama a) Opposed the war and used that stance to rise to prominence b) Tried to cut off funding for the war c) said "the surge" can't work, and wasn't working even while it was d) tried to cut off funding for the war all while the war was politically unpopular.

On top of the fact you can't point to a single statement ever, by Obama, saying we can win and should win.

This isn't even up for debate. Questioning it shows you're being intellectually dishonest.
9.10.2008 10:25am
Fishy pig:
Um... this is stupid. Republicans are hypocritical idiots. Where was the outrage when McCain said the same thing about Clinton:
Last October, asked about Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care plan, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was blunt. McCain said Clinton's proposal was "eerily" similar to the ill-fated plan she devised in 1993. "I think they put some lipstick on a pig," he said, "but it's still a pig."A common expression, right? McCain surely wasn't calling Clinton a pig. After all, McCain's former press secretary, Torie Clarke, wrote a book called "Lipstick on a Pig: Winning in the No-Spin Era." Elizabeth Edwards told some health journalists that McCain's health care plan was like "painting lipstick on a pig."


And I believe that the republicans actually used the fish thing with Kerry last election. Get over yourselves.
9.10.2008 10:27am
The Ace (mail):
Until then, I'll assume that you're simply a dishonest shit unworthty of further consideration

Er, considering you're typing out &out lies here, this silly statement is meaningless.
9.10.2008 10:29am
The Ace (mail):
Where was the outrage when McCain said the same thing about Clinton

He did no such thing.

What I find funny is that you can't see the difference between referring to a policy and a person.
9.10.2008 10:30am
Sarcastro (www):
The Ace's insights into Obama's cleverly disguised surrender/tax-raising platform raises a question:

Since Obama is so clearly a traitor, why isn't he on trial?

I mean sacrificing one's country for electoral gain is clearly treason. And there is no chance Obama thinks stopping the war is the best scenario for America and not a loss at all.

Questioning me shows you're being intellectually dishonest.
9.10.2008 10:31am
Andy L.:
Yawn. Slow news day, huh?
9.10.2008 10:31am
Darrin Ziliak:
Bullshit.
Opposing the Iraq war doesn't make anyone 'unpatriotic' any more than opposing Bill Clinton's 'war for Kosovo' (which I opposed) does.

For those who believe that patriotism consists of unquestioning servility to the President, I'll leave you with this quote from the well-known communist pinko fag Teddy Roosevelt:

:"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

But I guess that TR was really a Leninist in disguise, eh?
9.10.2008 10:34am
The Ace (mail):
Since Obama is so clearly a traitor

When did I use those words again?

Since Obama is so clearly a traitor, why isn't he on trial?

Playing your silly game for a moment:
Because it would be politically unpopular.

For the same reasons Clinton wasn't removed from office by the US Senate.
9.10.2008 10:35am
The Ace (mail):
Opposing the Iraq war doesn't make anyone 'unpatriotic

Who said it does?

For those who believe that patriotism consists of unquestioning servility to the President

Who said it does?

Do you want to take a guess as to why you're arguing against positions nobody has taken?
9.10.2008 10:36am
Bad English:
Oh, yes, definitely: Have Obama start quoting George Bernard Shaw in response. You might as well have Frasier Crane running for president.
9.10.2008 10:37am
Dan M.:
Yeah, it's pretty clear that Obama is referring to the McCain/Palin persona as the pigs with lipstick, rather than their actual policies.

Still not a big deal, and I think Palin needs to avoid looking like a whiner. She was right when she said that the perceived whining would hurt Hillary Clinton, and if it looks like Palin is directing the response here, it will backfire on her, too.

It won't hurt Palin with Republicans, who are already in her camp. And it didn't hurt Hillary with her supporters, obviously. But the people on the fence don't like to hear it.
9.10.2008 10:37am
Mike Keenan:
I like Drudge's headline: "Boar War".
9.10.2008 10:38am
Alexia:
Jeez.

It seems that both campaigns are doing an excellent job at seeing who can pretended to be the most offended over nothing.

USA. USA. USA. Sigh.
9.10.2008 10:39am
AKD:
Interesting that Obama's comments before the lipstick remark appear to have been lifted directly from a cartoon.
9.10.2008 10:40am
Sarcastro (www):
The Ace has stunned us all with his latest statement!

I would never have suspected that hoping we lose to the Terrorists in Iraq for electoral gain was neither treaonous nor even unpatriotic!

It's even more brilliant than the Chewbacca Defense!
9.10.2008 10:42am
Fusionist:
How Gov. Palin ought to respond:

"... But while Senator McCain and I are committed to fighting earmarks and other wasteful spending, Senator Obama has always been -- and continues to be -- a leading practitioner of pork-barrel politics. He's responsible for so much pork... why, you could say he's a little bit obsessed with pigs -- especially lately.

"Of course, this should put to rest once and for all those ridiculous rumors about Senator Obama being a Muslim. Unlike Senator Obama, practicing Muslims abstain from pork."
9.10.2008 10:46am
sputnik (mail):


Oh no, the Dems are fighting back!

Palin rips Obama a new asshole in front of 38,000,000 people and it's all good. But now that the fun is over, let's all get back to the high ground.

F* the Republican party.

How stupid do they think we are?

Lipstick on a pig is not an Obama creation.

"Lipstick on a pig" gets you 114,000 google hits.

The earliest uses of "Lipstick on a pig" I can quickly find are an entry into the UrbanDictionary, in 2004, by doo doo Brown, as well as another 2004 use of the phrase by Vice President Cheney.

I've heard it before.

But I can see why you're pissed, because Governor Palin said that the thing that separates her from an attack dog is lipstick, and so that means all lipstick analogies are sexist (when used by men) from now on. (She can still use the pitbull/ lipstick thing if she wants, because it's okay if she compares herself to a dog.)

I've sent an e-mail to David Plouffe asking him to instruct Sambo to go easy on Governor Palin, and to be etremely careful when turning phrases because we don't want to upset the very sensitive feminists, who are threatening to vote for McCain....friend to make-up troweling trollops everywhere.

Also, I've come up with a list of other things Sambo isn't allowed to say anymore, which I also passed along to Plouffe:

"That's like trying to sell ice to an Eskimo."

"That dog won't hunt."

"The difference between a barracuda and a mackerel? The mackerel isn't planning on overturning Roe v Wade."

"Hockey moms drive like shit."

"Cold day in hell."

"Juno blows."

"Mush!"

"Land of the Midnight Abortions."

"Alaskan Crab."

"Ted Stevens."

"I smell something fishy."

"That story has no legs."

"Pork."

"What an ass."

"Lipstick on a barracuda."

"Pipeline."

and of course...."Deadliest Catch."
9.10.2008 10:46am
Houston Lawyer:
And here everyone thought that it would be Palin who couldn't be trusted with an open mike. I thought that Biden would dominate the foot in mouth outbursts this election season.

McCain and Palin have Obama's number. It'll be whack a mole from here until November with Obama sputtering in rage and Hillary chortling on the sidelines.
9.10.2008 10:46am
Moonage Webdream (mail) (www):
Wow, AKD.
9.10.2008 10:46am
Hoosier:
When Obama speaks of a pig in lipstick, I find that I'm sort of . . . "intrigued."

Do you think this is a problem?
9.10.2008 10:48am
Hoosier:
Palin rips Obama a new asshole in front of 38,000,000 people

Now that he has the new one, what's he gonna do with Biden?
9.10.2008 10:49am
CherryGhost:

Since you can['t] rebut the fact that Obama wanted to lose the war in Iraq...


Personally, as a McCain supporter, I've become convinced that the "The Ace" is Obama campaign staffer whose job it is to go to right-leaning blogs and make ridiculous statements.

Obama is wrong on so many things in regards to the war, e.g. the surge. He is also wrong on health care, taxes, education, etc. However, I feel like most people don't attribute such evil motives as wanting to lose the war to such wrong-headed ideas.

For example, do you believe that because Obama wants to let the Bush tax cuts on capital gains lapse that he wants a recession? That wouldn't be very good way to get reelected.

Obama is wrong, that doesn't make him evil. (It's the same tactic the far left engages in in its attacks on George Bush). Which is why reiterate my initial position that "The Ace" is a an Obama supporter. His job is to produce a reflexive response to defending Obama, without thinking about the issues.
To "The Ace": Well played Sir!
9.10.2008 10:51am
The Ace (mail):
Can't wait to see these numbers next week:


White women in particular express favorable views of the Alaska governor according to a newly released Washington Post-ABC News poll. Positive ratings of her spike to 80 percent among white women with children at home and among white women who are evangelical Protestants.

The percentage of white women with "strongly favorable" opinions of McCain jumped 12 percentage points from before the parties' national conventions. And nearly six in 10 white women in the new poll said McCain's selection of Palin increased their confidence in the decisions he would make if elected. In the Post-ABC poll, it is white women who helped McCain erase Obama's late-August advantage and seriously cut into the Democratic nominee's lead as the one who would bring more needed change to Washington.


What is the best think to do when leftists start babbling? Let them keep talking...
9.10.2008 10:51am
Hoosier:
But I guess that TR was really a Leninist in disguise, eh?

No. But he was a dangerous loon.
9.10.2008 10:53am
The Ace (mail):
CherryGhost:

If Obama didn't want to lose, what, exactly, did he expect would happen if we removed all combat brigades by March 2008 as he stated he wanted to?

That would be like me arguing I want to kick you in the groin but I don't want to hurt your groin.
9.10.2008 10:54am
The Ace (mail):
However, I feel like most people don't attribute such evil motives as wanting to lose the war to such wrong-headed ideas.

Did he want us to win?

Since nobody could possibly produce a statement demonstrating the answer to that question would be "yes" what other conclusion could be drawn?
9.10.2008 10:55am
TruthInAdvertising:
"What I find funny is that you can't see the difference between referring to a policy and a person."

Why? You can't tell the difference yourself. Obama was talking about McCain's policies when he made the comment. Even if Lindgren deliberately omitted that part of his statements, the videos clearly show that was what he was talking about. Only in your minds was Sarah Palin part of the conversation.

As for calling opponents "pigs", John McCain had no problem doing so when the opponent was >Mitt Romney.


"DOVER, N.H. — As Senator John McCain rolled down a New Hampshire highway today in his "Straight Talk Express" campaign bus, he listened to a description of the latest attack on him by his chief rival in this state's primary, Mitt Romney.

He smirked as he heard the former Massachusetts governor's assertion that McCain wanted to allow illegal immigrants to remain permanently in the United States.

Asked how he intended to respond, the Arizona Republican said: "Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You both get dirty — and the pig likes it."

The back-of-the-bus compartment in which McCain was holding forth went silent for several seconds. Finally, a reporter asked: was McCain comparing Romney to a pig? McCain laughed and paused as he formulated his response: "That was a general philosophical approach to American politics."

Does anyone believe that McCain was talking policy? That was clearly a personal attack on Romney.

Save the fake outrage for someone else.
9.10.2008 10:58am
Sarcastro (www):
Hoosier! Alright! I'll come clean! I may have a problem:

Some choice samples from my harddrive:

This little piggie went to market:

This little piggie stayed home

This little piggie went "WEE WEE WEE"
9.10.2008 10:58am
JK:
Talk about thin-skinned, this is rediculous. I had just reconciled with the idea that republicans were just as bad as dems when it comes to using something like sexism as a defense against anything. But this seems even more rediculous than Hillary, he call's their policy's "lipstick on a pig," and that's sexist?
9.10.2008 11:01am
The Ace (mail):
For example, do you believe that because Obama wants to let the Bush tax cuts on capital gains lapse that he wants a recession?

During the primaries he simply did not care.
" And we are seeing it all across the country. And that was true even before the current economic hardships that are stemming from the housing crisis. This is the first economic expansion that we just completed in which ordinary people's incomes actually went down when adjusted for inflation. At the same time, the costs of everything from health care to gas at the pump has skyrocketed."

Then,
Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital-gains tax for purposes of fairness....[And as to higher rates bringing in less revenue], well, that might happen or it might not.

Now, he's backed off that.

Who knows.
9.10.2008 11:01am
Neo (mail):
Obama isn't so stupid as to not understand why the crowd rose and appaulded when he uttered the "lipstick on a pig" line. It really wasn't that great, especially if you assume it not to be an insult. If he had been smart, he would have put an end to it right there. At least with one of those "no no no no" lines that he does so well, but instead he just went on.

It was rude, lewd and totally unprofessional ... and it is indefenseable.
9.10.2008 11:03am
sputnik (mail):
Again. For intellectually dishonest.
McCain campaign is pure sleaze.
Here is exactly what happened:
It began quietly on Monday in Michigan, but grew in volume as Mr. Obama made his way from Flint to Farmington Hills, carrying over to a speech on Tuesday morning in Ohio. By the time he arrived for an evening stop in the southwestern tip of Virginia, Mr. Obama's sales pitch contained nearly as many references to Senator McCain as to himself, suggesting how the McCain campaign has been driving the recent dialogue of the presidential race.

"John McCain says he's about change, too -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics," Mr. Obama told his supporters here. "That's just calling the same thing something different."

With a laugh, he added: "You can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change; it's still going to stink after eight years."

In the latest sign of the campaign's heightened intensity, Mr. McCain's surrogates responded within minutes and called on Mr. Obama to apologize to Gov. Sarah Palin for the lipstick remark. But to those in the audience, it was clear that Mr. Obama was employing an age-old phrase -- lipstick on a pig -- and referring to Mr. McCain's policies. He had not yet mentioned Ms. Palin at that point of his speech.
9.10.2008 11:03am
The Ace (mail):
Obama was talking about McCain's policies when he made the comment.

Really?
What is your proof of this?


Many in the audience in Lebanon laughed uproariously when Mr Obama made his lipstick remark, clearly taking it to be a reference to the first female Republican on a presidential ticket, who is highly unpopular with Democrats for her arch conservative views and personal attacks on their candidate.


???

Does anyone believe that McCain was talking policy? That was clearly a personal attack on Romney.

Typical.
If someone in the party you vote for acts like Republicans allegedly do, it is ok!
9.10.2008 11:05am
Justin (mail):
"But when Obama talked about a pig and a fish, was he slyly referring to them personally? Almost certainly."

I assume he was also referring to David Petreus personally when Obama used the same line regarding the war in Iraq? Was McCain using it to refer to Hillary Clinton?

COME ON. Is THIS how you teach legislative interpretation? By taking a single line out of context, interpreting it at its least charitable, and then assuming you can read the mind of the author. Please.

This post has crossed a new low, in what at one point was reasonable if biased coverage of Obama. The Palin-worship, where she-must-be-protected-at-all-costs, have turned a bunch of anti-PC, anti-first-amendment infringmenet, into the "you can't say that for fear of offeding someone" crowd.
9.10.2008 11:05am
Clastrenster:
Lipstick on a pig is a phrase General Petraeus has been using a lot lately as well. What gives? This is weirder than "vetting" risking into the public lexicon.

There is no left or right in this, except for one thing: The National Enquirer, and everything like it, has become the political truth machine since the 1980s. Though it doesn't discriminate between Edwards or Palin, it's a particular kind of political smut-making that is fostered above all by Republican responses to "political correctness" in the late 1980s, and is most likely an index of post-Cold War cluelessness about what politics consists of. The smuttier the election, the greater the chances the Republicans win. The more the election focuses on issues, the more likely they will lose. The fewer people who vote, the greater the likelihood Republicans win. Trash strategies are common to all. But it's still the conservative's ace in the hole, even though it's been looking shakier and shakier of late. McCain's "brilliance" here was to bring all discussion crashing down (witness so much even here on VC the past week and a half, really astoundingly hollow). What is most upsetting is that it looks like McCain wants simply to win for the sake of winning. The thought of an actual McCain presidency is currently the thought content-less smug self-righteous confusion. If he were to win and then die, it would be a terrifying free for all. This election shouldn't even be remotely close, taking into account, even exaggerating Obama's flaws and limitations.
9.10.2008 11:07am
Hoosier:
TruthInAds:

Was McCain refering to the famous quote from Twain about teaching a pig to sing? Sounds like quite a coincidence if he wasn't.

Save the fake outrage for someone else.

Well I for one am not outraged. "Ecstatic" is more like it. If Axlerod doesn't get some control soon, the wheels are going to roll right off the bandwagon.
9.10.2008 11:08am
CherryGhost:
The Ace:

I think you have failed to parse that to some the best way to "win" is something different than what you believe a satisfactory outcome would be. I don't have time (you know with work and all) to get into a comprehensive discussion about what our end goal in Iraq should be: e.g. complete elimination of all terrorists and militants, or the ability of Iraqi troops to defend the country alone, or for that matter the successful creation of a sovereign government. But I think, well meaning people can disagree as to what the definition of "win" is. Merely because the ideas of what I think "win" is and what you think "win" is are not completely co-terminus does not mean that I think your definition means to "lose."
I think Obama's plan as you describe it would have been wrong. Do I ascribe a *motive* to "lose" to that position? No. No more than I do to the numerous generals who opposed the surge. (As detailed in Bob Woodward's new book).
Perhaps the rhetoric can be toned down, and we (as a populous) can discuss what the candidates plans are and why they may or may not represent the best option.
As for me, it's been fun Ace, but work calls.
9.10.2008 11:09am
Bandon:
PLEASE!!!! Obama was definitely not calling Palin a pig with lipstick. That jibe was reserved for the GOP's policies. Everyone knows Palin's actually a pit bull with lipstick.
9.10.2008 11:10am
Sarcastro (www):
"You can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change; it's still going to stink after eight years."

Geez, I wonder where the eight years came from?

Probably some Muslim thing.
9.10.2008 11:10am
The Ace (mail):
What is it with these leftists?


Rep. Russ Carnahan also took a swipe at Palin.

For all his tough talk [McCain] buckled to the right wing of his party in his choice. Picked someone with zero experience in national government, zero experience in foreign affairs. There’s no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick," he said.

"There’s no way you can dress up that record even with a lot of lipstick," he said.


It is almost as if, well, these people are stupid.
9.10.2008 11:15am
The Ace (mail):
Seriously,

Did the Democrats focus group a bunch of angry, non-makeup-wearing feminists on this "lipstick" stuff and think it would be a good idea or what?
9.10.2008 11:17am
The Ace (mail):
Probably some Muslim thing

Ok, that was funny.
9.10.2008 11:17am
The Ace (mail):
Well I for one am not outraged. "Ecstatic" is more like it. If Axlerod doesn't get some control soon, the wheels are going to roll right off the bandwagon

I'm in total agreement.

I want them to keep this stuff up. Obama is a gaffe a minute and I can't wait to see what he and Senator "Hey you in the wheel chair, stand up!" come up with today.
9.10.2008 11:19am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Add me to the list waiting for VC to cover the pedophile ad.

The Ace's claim that Obama supports explicit sex ed for Kindergarteners is, of course, absurd. The law was intended to protect kids from perverts. Why would the Ace be against that? One guess.
9.10.2008 11:23am
Sarcastro (www):
The Ace

Ok, that was funny.


At last! I should retire!
9.10.2008 11:27am
Suzy (mail):
Obama has been using the lipstick on a pig line at least since last spring in the primaries, and McCain has used it before himself, too. I'm sure Palin, after what she said about Clinton, doesn't want McCain to adopt a "whiny" tone in complaining about such silly things, does she? If the lipstick line gets a little close for comfort, maybe she shouldn't have called herself a pit bull in lipstick? Is it sexist if we call her a pit bull now, since that's her preferred self description?

Meanwhile, is it okay for McCain to make disgusting, false accusations about Obama in the "before they learn to read" ad? The VC is a purely partisan blog now, it seems.
9.10.2008 11:30am
MartyA:
Geez, and some of you are serious about having Hussein out there talking to our enemies "without precondition?"
9.10.2008 11:34am
I used to be disgusted-now I try to be amused (www):
Oh my, here we go again - more screaming about yet another irrelevant political issue, and/or lipstick-covered mammal of varying pedigree. The only reason to keep reading these absurd political threads is for yucks. But on this one I've got a problem - objectively, Sarcastro "wins" the thread, but as any VC regular knows, he's permanently disqualified from the award. So who wins? At present it's a tie between:

1. GV: "Jim, you’re becoming a caricature of yourself."

2. Big E: "Lindgren's got...such an infatuation with Palin, his posts are almost becoming self-parody."

or

3. Andy L.: Yawn. Slow news day, huh?"

Send your votes for winning comment here.
9.10.2008 11:34am
Sam Draper (mail):
Who can really say what Obama's intent was, but at the very least he has pretty poor judgment and a tin ear.

If it was an intentional reference to Palin, he is no gentleman.
9.10.2008 11:47am
James Lindgren (mail):
If anyone reads my post as a partisan attack on Obama, I suggest that you read more carefully.
9.10.2008 11:49am
Dave N (mail):
I posted 8 hours ago, went to bed, and then read the comments this morning, and the discussion was about where I expected it to be: One lacking substance and where posters accuse the other side in shrill terms, making arguments that are patently laughable (not true of all, but certainly of some).

On the other hand, Sarcastro has been in rare form with his comments.
9.10.2008 11:50am
The Ace (mail):
The Ace's claim that Obama supports explicit sex ed for Kindergarteners is, of course, absurd.

Huh?

Um, newsflash: I never said this.

Ever.
9.10.2008 11:51am
Hoosier:
Sarcastro--At the risk of picking nits, there's no way a fish would still stink after eight years. Not even a really big fish. I mean, hell, how long would it take a whale shark to decompose? And you Obamatrons can't convince me that he meant "whale shark." Could he have meant Carcharodon megalodon? No way! It went extinct long before there was any paper in which to wrap fish. And who, pray tell, does he think would have been around during the Pleistocene to wrap it anyway?

This drives me crazy about you libs! Your candidate is lying about the decomposition rate of fish. He is totally ignorant of the natural history of cartilaginous fish specification. And he has not revealed his serious conflict of interest problem in the area of ichthyology: The media have failed to tell us that he sits on the Board of Trustees of the John G. Shedd Aquarim!!!!


A liar, a phony, and a crook. And you want to give him the net to the Oval Office goldfish tank?

I think not!
9.10.2008 11:53am
Martha:
Obama never mentioned Palin, he explicitly referred to Republican policies, yet everyone assumes that the "pig" is her? There's reason for outrage there, but not outrage at Obama.

This whole thing gives me yet another reason to like Mike Huckabee: "It's an old expression, and I'm going to have to cut Obama some slack on that one," Huckabee told Fox News. But my favorite candidates never gets the nomination.
9.10.2008 11:54am
Sarcastro (www):
Hoosier you're just bitter cause Obama didn't even mention apples!
9.10.2008 11:56am
Big E:
If anyone reads my post as a partisan attack on Obama, I suggest that you read more carefully.

Jim with all due respect, based on your recent posts it's only natural that people would take it this way.
9.10.2008 11:56am
josh:
What you really miss (and continue to miss in all of the anti-Obama posts) is not that the comments/attacks are jokes in and of themselves, but that they are responses to the IDENTICAL COMMENTS/ATTACKS raised by republicans and conservatives generally, and, at times, McCain specifically.

McCain used almost the identical verbage to describe Hillary Clinton's healthcare work during her husband's presidency. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMPYkNQlJMM.

The Obama comment plays on that hypocrisy of the McCain camp and does so quite well.

You'd see that absent your increasingly apparent bias against Obama and in favor of McCain
9.10.2008 11:58am
josh:
Prof L:

"If anyone reads my post as a partisan attack on Obama, I suggest that you read more carefully."

I'd say that about 50% of the comments to this post (excising the extremeities, such as The Ace and omarbradley, to avoid scewing the results) read the post clearly and disagree.

They also base it on the continued anti-Obama oposts you keep coming up with, failing once to consider the hypocrisy that forms the basis of whatever issue/comment you're addressing and your analysis thereto.

Yesterday, you wrote about you're "interest" in learning the "real facts" about the Troopergate scandal, while admitting upfront that you approached the issue with the pre-determined conclusion that Palin's ex-borther-in-law was the devil and she was in the right (that may well prove correct, but it evidences the opposite of approaching something you know nothing about with an open mind).

Today, you comment on a comment from Obama, arguing that it was a gaffe, while failing to acknowledge (or do the basic research to learn) that the comment mirrored virtually identical sentiments McCain has used in the past (against Hillary Clinton).

It's all been so intellectually dishonest of late and a wide swath of commenters (some of whom may very well be on your side and firmly in McCain's camp) are clearly taking you to task for it.
9.10.2008 12:09pm
PLR:
When I heard this on the news, I thought it was an incredibly stupid non-issue.

And I am somewhat saddened that (a) it has been deemed worthy of a lengthy piece here by a mod, (b) in fewer than 12 hours people have been motivated to post 145 comments, and (c) I have added these keystrokes to the pile.

Enough.
9.10.2008 12:12pm
The Ace (mail):
This,


I think Obama's comment—and the fake southern accent, the halting confusion, the disjointed sentences, that video is really amazing—suggest a man out of control, not in control. Clueless and uneasy. And I think that reflects more poorly, not better, on his suitability for the presidency. But that's why (and either way, as Kathryn suggests) whining about an intentional attack is not the right tone. It's not hard to see why they're melting down. The crowd at the McCain-Palin rally I'm now at in Virginia is unlike anything I've ever seen for a Republican candidate.


Is exactly right.

What is it with Democratic politicans and the phony accents by the way?
9.10.2008 12:15pm
The Ace (mail):
What you really miss (and continue to miss in all of the anti-Obama posts) is not that the comments/attacks are jokes in and of themselves, but that they are responses to the IDENTICAL COMMENTS/ATTACKS raised by republicans and conservatives generally, and, at times, McCain specifically.

So, two wrongs make a right, right?

That is your contention?

I love watching you leftists in action. Remember, according to people like you, Republicans are: liars, dishonest, dumb, racist, Christianists, anti-science, hate the constitution, etc., etc., etc.
But when a Democrat acts exactly like them, it is ok.

Right?
9.10.2008 12:17pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
The proper Republican response for a joke that misfires would be to make fun of Obama’s gaffe, but not to demand an apology.


I disagree, the response you suggest is proper when the gaffe is one that makes your opponent look dumb (e.g. “fifty-seven States”). When your opponent does something that comes off as offensive to a section of the electorate that’s up for grabs, e.g. white women and the men who love them, then the proper response to make sure as many of the people in that group know about it so it’s on their minds when they’re deciding who to vote for.
9.10.2008 12:25pm
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
Your contention that Obama's "choice of language...suggests a high likelihood that Obama was also intentionally alluding to Palin and McCain personally" was a remarkably dicey inference on its own, and evidence enough of at least mild partisan biasing. But your subsequent failure to update and conspicuously note that McCain himself has used the phrase in an effectively identical context -- after that fact has been pointed out at least four times in comments here -- leaves it nigh impossible to view your post as anything other than a very low sort of partisan exercise.
9.10.2008 12:27pm
TruthInAdvertising:
This is typical Ace. His response to the point that Obama's comments were about McCain's policies is:

"Really? What is your proof of this?"

The proof is in Obama words. Sputnik quoted Obama's words as he said them:

"John McCain says he's about change, too -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics," Mr. Obama told his supporters here. "That's just calling the same thing something different."

With a laugh, he added: "You can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change; it's still going to stink after eight years."

Confronted with Obama's own words, ACE throws out some reporters interpretation of the event. Come on ACE, the words are right in front of you. Show us how what Obama said is not what he actually said. I also showed how McCain isn't above calling people "pigs" as he did about Mitt Romney. ACE's response?

"If someone in the party you vote for acts like Republicans allegedly do, it is ok!"

Allegedly? McCain said it. Are you now denying that McCain said it?
9.10.2008 12:27pm
Al Maviva (mail):
And I find Obama's comment precisely the sharp jab that feels good.

I assume if he'd said that he makes Palin as nervous as a whore in church, you'd have been exstatic? Just more civilized discourse, brought to you by hopey changiness...

The fact is it doesn't matter what he meant, what matters is how it is heard, and very many people, including every women I've heard discussing it, thought it was a reference to Palin. Bush meant well with "Mission Accomplished" but his intentions weren't treated as the message, the mis-fire of a communications strategy was treated as the message. It was political malpractice to set up a parallel between McCain and stinky old fish, and then Palin and a lipsticked pig. You just don't hand your political enemies a bludgeon with which to hit you. Dumb.
9.10.2008 12:30pm
TCO:
I think the remark was deliberate, but with plausible deniability (because the expression is a well known one). Certainly the crowd enjoyed the double entendre that sly Barry had served up, like a scratching middle finger. I agree that we should not ask for apologies, just sigh and look down on him (as the best tactical move). I also think that Barry served this up as a little bit of red meat for his base who are sick of the ho beating the bro.
9.10.2008 12:30pm
Sophist:
This is the quote which, shockingly, Jim doesn't put in full.

“John McCain says he’s about change, too — except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics. That’s just calling the same thing something different.”
With a laugh, he added: “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change; it’s still going to stink after eight years.”


This blog has become a farce.
9.10.2008 12:31pm
JRL:
Nice theory, except as I said before, according to my source high in the Obama campaign, BHO writes his own speeches. Of course this time might be an exception, but I doubt it.

I guess your source lives in a cave. Is it not common knowledge that Axelrod writes Obama's speeches? The Obama campaign told us this when the Deval Patrick/plagiarism kerfuffle went down.
9.10.2008 12:39pm
josh:
The Ace

You're conflating two issues. Do I really think it is wrong for any candidate (liberal or conservative) to describe the policies or positions of their female opponent as "lipstick on a pig?" Depending on the context, probably not. If that comment is followed by months of comments that I view as increasingly sexist, I might change my opinion.

To give you ahn example of the intellectual honesty I wish we could see from you a bit more on this blog, I find it relatively appalling when people (the "media", democrats, etc.) criticize Palin for running for VP with five kids, one of who is a pregnant teenager and another who is special needs.

Applying the same equity standard I'm asserting to this post, I am troubled that people (like me) would find it OK for Obama to run for President with two kids, but Palin is somehow unqualified b/c she has five. I see it as a problem for two reasons: (1) there's the obvious line-drawing problem (how many kids is too many); (2) it's naive (does anyone seriously think that the Prez and VP don't have about 20 times as much childcare support as the average American); and (3) it's sexist and hypocritical.

But having said that, the merits of the "lipstick on a pig" comment was not the point of my comment or many of Prof. Lindgren's critics' comments. The point was, and always has been, as evidenced by the "how many children can a candidate have" example above, that certain complaints about political attacks are hypocritical b/c the attacks themselves are pointing out hypocrisy.

In sum, Lindgren called Obama's "lipstick" comment an unfunny gaffe. He missed the point that it was a twist on McCain's own comment about Clinton. If Obama's comment was inartfully unfunny and wrong, so too was McCain's. But we don't see that type of fair analysis from Prof L these days (or from you for that matter, unfortunately).
9.10.2008 12:40pm
josh:
for three reasons
9.10.2008 12:42pm
The Unbeliever:
You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink.
Funny, that's exactly how I view Obama's promises and policies: the same old tired lefty solutions, wrapped up in a newspaper from the 1930's and hawked by a charismatic snake-oil salesman.

If the McCain campaign was smart, they'd be harping on that line over the background of Obama's more dreamy slogans and ads.
9.10.2008 12:52pm
ejo:
come, fellow republicans, let's take the high road on this one. the best way to deal with obama, apparently, is to make fun of him. keep doing it-he apparently will then say stupid things. have women make the comments-he apparently doesn't much care to have women talking smack about him.
9.10.2008 12:56pm
I used to be disgusted-now I try to be amused (www):
"This blog has become a farce."

Late breaking news: Sophist "wins" this thread. He/she/it can pick up the Sarcastro Memorial Award Trophy at the nearest lipstick counter.
9.10.2008 1:03pm
TCO:
I watched the McCain response. It was pretty light. I think there is still a chance to take the Palin rises above this style, which served her so well with the Trig was birthed by Bristol rumors.
9.10.2008 1:04pm
js5 (mail):
here's Palin practicing for her interview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Irct2ZGPVdE
9.10.2008 1:07pm
The Ace (mail):
Confronted with Obama's own words, ACE throws out some reporters interpretation of the event.

Hilarious.

Yes, because now the left is all about what was actually said, not what was meant or interpreted.

So you're going to criticize those people who are now saying "community organizer" is a euphemism for race, right?

The fact is it doesn't matter what he meant, what matters is how it is heard, and very many people, including every women I've heard discussing it, thought it was a reference to Palin.

Bingo.

That, is my response too.
9.10.2008 1:07pm
Floridan:
This is like the followup to last weekend's Univerity of Florida - Miami football game (26 - 3 UF victory), in which UM coach Randy Shannon complained that the Gators kicked a meaningless field goal with less than 30 seconds left in the game.

This, of course, is the same University of Miami that has a long-standing reputation of running up the score whenever possible, and had, just the week before, demolished Charleston Southern 52 - 7.

Methinks that much of what political discourse has become is little different from the arguments of sports fans.

Go team!
9.10.2008 1:08pm
The Ace (mail):
He missed the point that it was a twist on McCain's own comment about Clinton. If Obama's comment was inartfully unfunny and wrong, so too was McCain's

But again, it is clear, absolutely clear, McCain was talking about Hillary's healthcare plan.

The Obama comment, is being taken as a swipe at Palin personally. That, I think, is the difference.
9.10.2008 1:10pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Cam we get past phony issues like this? When will Palin start answering questions? Democrats are way too nice.
9.10.2008 1:11pm
The Ace (mail):
Allegedly? McCain said it. Are you now denying that McCain said it?

Ok, I was responding to the idea that what McCain said about Hillary's healthcare plan was the same exact thing.

I look forward to all the leftist ridicule of this:


I think the Republican Party is too smart to call Barack Obama 'black' in a sense that it would be a negative. But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican Convention – a 'community organizer.' They kept saying it, they kept laughing," he said.

Paterson referred to McCain's running mate Sarah Palin who compared her work experience to Obama's.

"So I suppose a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except with real responsibilities," she said at the convention.

Paterson sees the repeated use of the words "community organizer" as Republican code for "black".

"I think where there are overtones is when there are uses of language that are designed to inhibit other people's progress with a subtle reference to their race," he said.


Because words now mean exactly what they're supposed to mean, right?
9.10.2008 1:16pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
This thread has degenerated to the point where it sounds like a freshman BS session.
9.10.2008 1:18pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
He missed the point that it was a twist on McCain's own comment about Clinton.


So basically your story is that Obama was trying to make a twist on a comment McCain made fifteen years ago and he was hoping that his audience would pick up on that?

I think it more likely Obama was making a twist off of Governor Palin’s “hockey mom” joke from last week and the claim that this was in reference to an obscure McCain comment from fifteen years ago is just a desperate post hoc rationalization.

And I bet you a lot more people see it that way as well.
9.10.2008 1:20pm
Brian Mac:

This thread has degenerated to the point where it sounds like a freshman BS session.

They started it!
9.10.2008 1:28pm
markg8:
Obama:

"John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington,'" he said.


"That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing."


McCain has proposed to bankrupt the country even faster with bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% and tax breaks for fossil fuel industries. He'll give you a tax "credit" to go out and buy less than half the cost of health insurance for your family but you're on your own after that. He thinks we can throw the Russians out of the G8 when in fact the Russians would have to vote themselves out. Even the Bush Administration thinks that's nutty. Everyone from the Iraqi government to the Bush Administration has adopted Obama's timetable for getting out of Iraq but McCain still wants to stay for four, a hundred or a thousand years, or whatever it is this week. McCain is still touting education vouchers for cryin out loud which most sensible people saw as a failure years ago.

Frankly none of those pigs fly.
9.10.2008 1:34pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Jim Lindgren:

But when Obama talked about a pig and a fish, was he slyly referring to them personally? Almost certainly. Very likely, this paired comparison was intended to be a Palin-style sharp, but good natured insult. It misfired because the insult was far less sly (and far more crude) than he and his speechwriters thought it was.


Writing from north of the border, i think i have heard these two images used with respect to opponents' policies for many years. They appear to both be appropriate word pictures for the attempt to disguise a record or policy for something it is not. I have no memory of anyone ever suggesting that either was crude. I would never have thought either were crude.

I understand from prior posts that Dick Cheney used "lipstick" in 2004: who was he insulting at the time?

If McCain made a similar remark about Clinton/ Clinton's policies, doesn't this make McCain reaction rather hypocritical?

By your standards, would it be improper for Obama to suggest Palin was a pitbull, on the grounds that this would be insultingly suggesting she was a bitch? If the Obama campaign were to include the relevant clip from Palin's acceptance speech in an ad, would that make it a crude sexist attack?
9.10.2008 1:35pm
josh:
Thorley Wilson (and, also replying to The Ace):

"So basically your story is that Obama was trying to make a twist on a comment McCain made fifteen years ago and he was hoping that his audience would pick up on that?"

No, actually McCain made the comment last October in Iowa. (See, e.g., http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/10/campaign.lipstick)

As many, many, many commenters have now pointed out, Prof Lindgren's selective quote of what Obama said was misleading. The entirety of what he said is as follows:

"John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington. That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing."

So what Obama is calling (and has called) "lipstick on a pig" clearly is the McCain's camp's campaign rhetoric re: change. So when Ace says, "But again, it is clear, absolutely clear, McCain was talking about Hillary's healthcare plan. The Obama comment, is being taken as a swipe at Palin personally. That, I think, is the difference." I think he's really off-base. And I think it is again deomnstrating the rank hypocrisy of all this faux outrage over these faux scandals.

You can't get outraged (or in Prof Lindgren's case, become a concern troll about humor) about Obama's charge that McCain's change claims are "lipstick on a pig" (again, read the full quote), and then try to rationalize away your own candiates nearly identical statements (even if only directed at Hillary's plan and not her personally. Again, read Obama's words.)

I mean, I suppose you CAN get outraged, but it wouldn't be very honest outrage.
9.10.2008 1:35pm
Lawyer (mail):
Dear Democrats,

To all those who are frustrated with the concern of the *effect* of Obama's rhetoric, rather than its *intent*, I have but one word:

MACACA

Sincerely,

George Allen
9.10.2008 1:39pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Josh:
not very honest outrage, but perhaps very effective outrage.
The McCain web ad provides no context for the punch line and makes it appear to have been directed at Palin.
9.10.2008 1:41pm
josh:
Lawyer

There is no dispute about "intent" vs. "efefct." The words have simple meaning and anyone approaching them with any level of intellectual honesty can see Obama was commenting on the McCain camp's taking on the bridle of "change." His comments did not apply to Palin personally, either on their face or by inference.
9.10.2008 1:43pm
Justin (mail):
BTW, the argument that he was talking about Palin is simply nonsensical.

There's the obvious, innocent explanation that is clear from context, but that's not interesting.

Another interpretation is that Palin is the "lipstick" and McCain is the pig. It's clear he didn't mean that, but we're playing the fantasy game. Okay.....what's offensive about that? Palin referred to "lipstick" in regards to herself, and the broader point - Palin joining the ticket doesn't change the ticket's sense of purpose, ideas, policies, etc. - is hardly offensive.

A final interpretation is that Obama was calling Palin an ugly pig, even if she wears lipstick. Does that make ANY sense, context or no context? Is the kick against Palin that she's ugly? Biden gets hit on Drudge for saying that Palin was attractiec, and now Obama is calling her an ugly ugly piggo.

You might as well attack Obama for flip-flopping. What does Obama think of their looks? First he was for them, now he's against them. We could get that ad on Drudge Report in 30 minutes, itll be on the cover of fox news by 5pm, and CNN will lead with it the next day.


It sounds like parody, but welcome to the 2008 campaign. Not that Lindgren would cover the rediculousness of it - there certainly were no posts about McCain's completely dishonorable ad accusing Obama of teaching sex ed to children.
9.10.2008 1:44pm
josh:
Johnny C

I agree. I certinaly make no bones from a pragmatic approach to the McCain response. It'll be effective, but it'll only be so b/c people (some on this thread) don't honestly approach facts. They're the some of the samne huge swaths of people who thought Saddam was involved in 9/11; who think Obama is a muslim; who think McCain has an illigitimate child; who think Palin's daughter is the mother of the special needs child Palin claims as her own.

No matter what is said, no matter what facts are dmonstrated, those people will never change their minds, and they'll play a significant role in deciding who our next Prez is.

But, as David P. Currie used to say, "The Republic will survive."
9.10.2008 1:46pm
josh:
"They're from some of the same huge swaths of people ..."

demonstrated

[Typing too fast. Seriously need to get back to work]
9.10.2008 1:48pm
Federal Dog:
"Yesterday, you wrote about you're "interest" in learning the "real facts" about the Troopergate scandal, while admitting upfront that you approached the issue with the pre-determined conclusion that Palin's ex-borther-in-law was the devil and she was in the right"


Oh, dear. The devil, huh? Feel free to post his words. Even I am amazed at how hysterically overwrought Obama partisans have become. Continued deception does absolutely nothing to inspire confidence in you or the candidate you seek to advance by dint of that deception.
9.10.2008 1:48pm
Lily (mail):
Obama doesn't understand the 'rules'. Surrogates attack the opponent. The actual Pres Candidate is supposed to appear above this sort of pettiness.

Rookie mistake.

Plus, Palin already invoked the lipstick image. And if you look at the video, it doesn't appear that the lipstick / fish comments were off the cuff. There seemed to be some forethought to them. So, either Obama is too thick to realize how his remarks would be taken by the listener, or he fully intended the remark to be personally cutting.

But Palin and McCain now need to appear to rise above it. I think they are not doing so well on the response.
9.10.2008 1:50pm
Lawyer (mail):
josh,

Politicians use rhetoric, symbolism and juxtaposition to harm their opponents. It's politics.

Palin said she was a pitbull with lipstick. Obama said lipstick on a pig is still a pig.

I'm disappointed that you understand the interpretation as a lack of "intellectual honesty." But it's not your problem, it's Obama's.

Either Obama meant his words as a personal attack, or he was too oblivious to understand that his words would be interpreted as an insult.

Either way is bad.
9.10.2008 1:53pm
Hoosier:
you approached the issue with the pre-determined conclusion that Palin's ex-borther-in-law was the devil and she was in the right"


Oh, dear. The devil, huh? Feel free to post his words.


Scroll down to the Evolution thread, you two! Ilya has proved that there is no devil.

Please try to keep up with theology, and not just the news.
9.10.2008 1:56pm
The Ace (mail):
Everyone from the Iraqi government to the Bush Administration has adopted Obama's timetable for getting out of Iraq

Hilarious.

You do realize Obama first proposed having all combat brigades out of Iraq by March 2008, right?

The idea that it is "Obama's timetable" is over the top hysterical.
9.10.2008 1:58pm
josh:
Fed Dog

You're right. His exact words about the ex-brother-in-law regarding the story he "a genuine desire to learn more about" were:

"I watched a 5 minute, 18 second ABC investigative report on Troopergate in a genuine desire to learn more about Sarah Palin's concerns about the dangerous Trooper who had tasered his stepson, allegedly threatened to kill a member of Palin's family, drank beer in a police car, etc."

He also said, " I, for one, wanted to know more." and "I'm slowly learning more about Troopergate, but I still have a lot to learn." and "You are missing one of the points of my post, made both at the beginning and the end. I want to know what happened. I don't know the details; I want to know them."

In other words, he admits lack of knowledge about the story but enters it with pre-determined conclusions about the ex-brother-in-law. Those conclusions may prove to be true, but his admissions demonstrate a lack of honesty about seeking truth.

It's unfortunate that you have to resort to name calling and hyperbole to address this pretty straightforward criticism of Prof. Lindgren's posts over the last several weeks. In fact, I'm relatively certain that several non "hysterically overwrought Obama partisans" are concerned about Prof. Lindgren's credibility on these issues of late. (See e.g. http://volokh.com/posts/1220996372.shtml#434403, 7:14 PM COMMENT: "[F]or the VC, the fair point is that the VC has become unusually shrill, as well. I know a lot of readers think so, and I tend to agree. I hope I haven't contributed to it myself, and I apologize if I have, but personally I have found a lot of posts here rather shrill recently.)
9.10.2008 2:01pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
In 2004, Mr. Cheney used the lipstick expression, as did Mrs Cheney.
I assumed it was about policy and record, now through the McCain Palin lens I see it was an attack on Kerry's sexual orientation:

Office of the Vice President
November 1, 2004
Vice President's Remarks in Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii Convention Center
Honolulu, Hawaii

THE VICE PRESIDENT: In the first debate, this year, Senator Kerry said America had to meet some kind of "global test" before we could take military action.
AUDIENCE: Booo!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President and I know better than that. We know that it is not our job to conduct international opinion polls. Our job is to defend America. (Applause.)
Now, in the closing days of this campaign, John Kerry is running around talking tough. He's trying every which way to cover up his record of weakness on national defense. But he can't do it. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day it's still a pig. (Applause.)


and Mrs. Cheney further explaining the "crude" nature of the comment being applied by Mr. Cheney to Kerry's record but by her

Remarks of Mrs. Cheney
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
October 13, 2004

MRS. CHENEY:...
Now, I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more. And the only thing I could conclude is this is not a good man. This is not a good man. And of course, I am speaking as a mom and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man -- what a cheap and tawdry political trick. (Applause.)
You know what he has been doing for this whole campaign is trying to dress up his political record any way he can; trying to hide, obscure, make sure we don't notice that 20-year record in the Senate. And didn't the President do a great job of bringing it out? (Applause.)
John Kerry tries to put a bunch of fancy, fancy talk -- tried to disguise that record, sort of like his fancy haircut, fancy manicure, tried to disguise the whole thing. (Laughter.) But there is nothing you can do to really -- to really obscure that record. You can try, though. And in Wyoming, we've got a saying for what it is when you keep trying to make something that's not so good look good, we call it putting lipstick on a pig. (Laughter.) Yes. (Applause.) And it doesn't work.
9.10.2008 2:02pm
The Ace (mail):
So when Ace says, "But again, it is clear, absolutely clear, McCain was talking about Hillary's healthcare plan. The Obama comment, is being taken as a swipe at Palin personally. That, I think, is the difference." I think he's really off-base.

Josh,
I don't remember anyone saying McCain's comment was directed at Hillary personally. Do you?
My point is, nobody thought McCain directed the comment at her, as a woman, but people (rightly or wrongly) don't feel the same about Obama's comment.

I am not "outraged." I am laughing. I can't wait to continue to watch this gaffe machine continue his silly utterances.
9.10.2008 2:02pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
It sounds bad because (in order):
1) Palin called herself a bulldog with lipstick at the RNC
2) Obama lost his lead arguably because of her nomination
3) Obama announced that the gloves were now off and his campaign was getting aggressive, and then
4) Obama made the lipstick on a pig joke (and the fish joke)

The timing sequence is what makes it look bad for Obama. After the Palin nomination, he should have known that he couldn't use the pig with lipstick joke, at least for a couple weeks.

A couple of possibilities
- Obama was used to telling this joke and didn't realize that he couldn't tell it, at least for a couple of weeks, due to the Palin nomination.
- Obama was attacking Palin and this was intentional.
- Or a slight twist on that, that this was seen to be a clever way to attack her with (hopefully) plausible deniability due to his previous telling of the joke. The problem though with this is that it is too clever for most of us, and those impressed with getting away with it are already voting for him.

So, I am not quite sure what to think, except that I do think that it was a mistake. He needs to get the spot light off of Palin and onto himself and his presidential timber. This just made him look juvenile with many and may have alienated some potential swing female voters. He needs to be seen as doing more than name calling in his challenge of McCain, et al.

He also needs to start ignoring her, as his opponent is McCain. Telling what appears to some as sexist jokes against the opposition VP candidate is not going to win the election for him. It just reinforces the image that many have that he is vacuous and that the left is nasty. If it wasn't aimed as a sexist joke against Palin, he should have known that it might be taken that way, and not said it to distract from his message.
9.10.2008 2:03pm
The Ace (mail):
Johnny Canuck:

So, two wrongs make a right, right?

That is your contention?

I love watching you leftists in action. Remember, according to people like you, Republicans are: liars, dishonest, dumb, racist, Christianists, anti-science, hate the constitution, etc., etc., etc.
But when a Democrat acts exactly like them, it is ok.

Right?
9.10.2008 2:04pm
josh:
Actually, that's unfair. The comment I cite above may not be intended to crticize Prof. Lindgren's credibility. It only refers to the "rather shrill" nature of posts lately on the VC. But the point is that the individual making the comment is unarguably not an Obama supporter and certainly seems to be troubled by the tone on the blog of late.
9.10.2008 2:04pm
Hoosier:
After reading Obama's comments, I'm OUTRAGED!

Wait, not outraged. The other thing.

Oh, right: I'm hungry. I'm going to get lunch. Have fun with all this pig stuff.
9.10.2008 2:12pm
josh:
The Ace

I'm not sure why you've failed to respond to my comments, but I'll take my last show and get back to work (and this applies to folling comments from Lawyer and Bruce Hayden as well.)

Simply stated, the line of discussion has not been (1) Palin said she is a pitbull with lipstick, then (2) Obama called her a pig with lipstick (I'm paraphrasing).

The simple facts that you and other continue to ignore are the full quote -- the entire statement by Obama (I'll post them again):

"John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington. That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing."

McCain's lipstick comment in October was not directed at Hillary personally. It was directed at her healthcare plan. Here too, based on the clear word above, we know that Obama's comments were directed at the McCain campaign theme of "change" -- It's not change; it's an attempt to dress up a pig (four more years of Bush policies.

Whether you call it outrage or hysteria, the criticial reaction to one (Obama's) and defense of the other (McCain) is dishonest.
9.10.2008 2:12pm
ObamaFan (mail):
Obama has hit the nail on the head with his response to McCain's accusations about the lipstick remark!!!! Once again it just shows McCain's weak attempt to put Obama on the defensive with phony politics. When he made that statement he wasn't even refering to Palin. He was refering to McCain's new claim that he will bring was he call's change to Washington. McCain's been in Washington for nearly 30 years and now he's going to bring change?? Right!
9.10.2008 2:12pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
The Ace:
No, i don't think there was anything wrong with either comment. I think it is hysteria over something that was perfectly appropriate.
to wrench the statements out of context and suggest they are personal when they are explicitly tied to records - Kerry, Clinton or McCain, is pathetic politically correct overreaction.

I would never have seen the Cheney remarks as anything other than clever, except for the "distraction of the day"
9.10.2008 2:14pm
A.W. (mail):
Jab

Give me a break. Obama has been whining that everyone who doesn’t like him is a racist for months. But he has a problem with actual sexism; and he has been the beneficiary of sexism, too. All that is happening here is he tried it one too many times and is being called on it.

Jed

> Last year, McCain used the exact same phrase to refer to Hillary Clinton's health care plan. Was it sexist of him then?

There is clearly a line in Palin’s speech referring to that. That is what makes it clear it is sexism—because it is clearly referring to her. As Milhouse said, if Palin didn’t make the lipstick joke no one would have made this connection. But as it stands, even his audience understood the subtext.

Bill

> Just calling a spade a spade- or is it sometimes a good idea to drop certain commonly-used phrases in certain contexts?

I like the double entendre there. I assume its intentional. Look, if he was just shooting off his mouth rapid fire, I would say, maybe he just didn’t think it through. But when he talks in that halting style of his, giving himself all the time in the world to choose the next word, then I can’t help but think he knew what he was saying.

Obama has demonstrated before that when it comes to sexism, he has a blind spot. Damn, McCain is so inside Obama’s OODA loop it is spooky.

Kazinski

> Obama's campaign needs to realize that Palin is kryptonite to Obama right now.

Is it red kryptonite or green or what?

Kidding. But actually I think you are right. The ferocity of the left’s attack on her has made things worse for them, not better.

Daryl

That sounds actually very plausible. It was female on female violence, but said by a man. Could be.

Diversity

Dude, you’re a ringer, aren’t you. I WISH Obama would say what you suggested.

AMB

> Are we ever going to get to REAL ISSUES?

Character counts. If I thought a candidate was a racist or hated women I would never vote for him. So that is reason #427 not to vote for Obama.

Darrin

> their latest ad that implies Obama is a pedophile who supports teaching sex-ed to kindergartners.

No one called Obama a pedo. As for teaching sex ed, well, its in the law: comprehensive sex ed, including how a kindergartener can avoid getting STD’s. it wasn’t clear if there were any condoms and bananas involved.

> Just as Georgia Congressman Westmoreland denied any racial intent when using the word 'uppity' to describe Obama.

See how quickly you engage in the exact same analysis when the shoe is on the other foot? Now I think all of us here recognizes that when you talk about a black guy, the word “uppity” should never cross your lips, even if you would say the exact same word if he was white. Its not fair, but it’s the rules of the road today. Ditto with Palin. He never should have made an oblique reference between her and a pig. McCain was treading close to the line in his remarks, too, but his deniability was a lot more plausible.

Here’s another example of you engaging in the same analysis, on the McCain education ad:

> Read this definition of a pedosmile, and try to tell me that it wasn't what the McCain campaign was aiming at.

Ah, so we are back to hallucinated racism. Like a woman in the WSJ calls him thin, and that is racist. Mentioning he is a community organizer is code for black. And on and on.

This is a perfect example of the hypocrisy of the left on this sort of thing. You don’t have to look very hard to see how he pretty obviously called her a pig. It’s a shorter trip than the one you are trying to make on the “called him a pedo” routine. But somehow you deny the accusation against obama, but accept the one against mccain as gospel.

> Frankly if I had my way, Obama would be painting McSame (accurately) as a cross between Grandpa Simpson and George W Bush.

Oh, like he isn’t already.

And really McSame? I have said it before, but I am old enough to remember when John Kerry wanted McCain to be his running mate. And I have repeatedly challenged you lefties to explain what McCain did to make him Bush III since then. Can you rise to the challenge and tell me what McCain has done to transform himself from an acceptable republican to an unacceptable one.

I wish McCain was more like Bush, but he is not, and it is intellectually dishonest to say they are political twins.

> including several where he outright stated that his opponent 'would rather lose a war than a campaign'

Well, it is pretty inexplicable why he would want us to lose, even now. Obama once said that if we left Iraq, he expected there to be genocide. Most people think that is an argument against leaving. Obama, not so much.

And I might add the man even killed a bill that would have outlawed infanticide. I don’t mean any form of abortion, not even partial birth, but the murder of a child outside the womb. Even NARAL said the bill was okay, but Obama killed it anyway.

There is really something diseased in that man. Being a shameless politician is probably the most charitable explanation.

Omarbradley

I think the OODA loop thing is the best metaphor for what is happening to Obama. Blitzing is a pretty good metaphor, but really what you are talking about is a breed of the OODA thing.

Houston

I couldn’t agree more.
9.10.2008 2:27pm
ejo:
let's get back to substance-I love that refrain from the left. first, there was an attack on her family and the grandchild being passed out as a child. then, you get the down syndrome/you need to stay home attack. one can go on and on, with each a failure. then, after wallowing in the mud and doing anything but address substance, you suddenly want to move on. we aren't in a primary anymore but Obama still hasn't realized he has to appeal to someone other than the Kos juveniles.
9.10.2008 2:39pm
Sarcastro (www):
ejo not everyone on the left thinks alike. I know I've been avoiding Palin threads due to the lack of substance and I am (most of the time) on the left.

Some using the refrain are being disingenuous, but not all.

I am heartened to see some on the right wishing for a return to actual policy discussions as well.
9.10.2008 2:45pm
Dave N (mail):
Sarcastro,

You need to go back to the brackets when you are being serious (you are actually a pretty good commentator both ways). Yes, I know that on this thread all of your comments but the last one were sarcastic, but given your methodology, I approach your comments from different angles when I know you are being sarcastic and when you are being serious.
9.10.2008 3:07pm
ejo:
actually, I'm not so noble. the gutter mudslinging, juvenile ranting and personal attacks on Palin have corresponded with the GOP ticket's numbers going up. it shows little sign of abating at this point, with the Dems continuing to dig their own hole-why do I want it to change? keep up the good work, leftists-it saves McCain a ton of dough and makes your candidate look like a wimp.
9.10.2008 3:08pm
NaG (mail):
We have one set of people who are convinced the "lipstick" comment could not have possibly been a jab at Palin in reference to her "pitbull with lipstick" quip that got a lot of attention (along with the rest of her speech) during the Republican convention. We have another set of people who are convinced that it was a jab, in which case it was a needlessly ugly one. And then we have another set of people who think it could have been a jab, but could also have been simply a poor choice of words given the context of recent events (see the "spade" comparison that artfully makes that point above).

Seems to me that only Obama knows for sure which one it was.

Personally, if I were Obama, and the "lipstick" comment was incidental and not a jab (it is a common rhetorical flourish, after all), then the proper response is simply to say, "I can see in the light of Palin's recent statement concerning pit bulls and lipstick that my comment might be taken as being in bad taste. That was not my intention, just as I am sure it was not McCain's intention to call Hillary Clinton a pig during the primaries when he made the same comment in reference to her health care plan. For that, I apologize for the confusion. However, my point still stands: McCain and Palin are old wine in new bottles, and if you want to construe that as an attack on McCain somehow, then I think we all need to step back and take a breath."

On the other hand, if the reference was intentional, then my response would be to attack the Republicans for blowing up the matter just to score political points. After all, knowing that both sides will jump on the slightest thing to score political points (especially in a tight race like this one), the best way to counter it is to throw out stuff that will provoke outrage but appear as innocuous as possible on its face so that you can blame the other guys for being unreasonable.

Unless Obama has been using "lipstick on a pig" against McCain as a regular part of his speeches prior to Palin's convention speech, and I have not seen anything to indicate that that is the case, I am inclined to think that the comment was intentional and was intended to ruffle some feathers. However, I think Obama was surprised at how much blowback it generated. And the reason why it has generated so much blowback is precisely because despite the claims of the Obama camp, it just didn't look as incidental as he would like people to think. And given the gripes of many women over how they thought Hillary was treated, picking on a woman during a rough-and-tumble campaign is a touchy, touchy thing.
9.10.2008 3:11pm
Chimaxx (mail):
I love the "it's just a cliche" defense. Lets say McCain yesterday had said of Obama attacking Palin over earmarks when he himself has requested close to a billion dollars, "let's just call a spade a spade here, this is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black". Would the MSM be sticking up for him?


We don't have to guess. In the official response, McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers referred to Obama using the racist term "buck." No faux outrage from the Obama campaign. And the MSM hasn't attacked Rogers over it. Clearly they're in McCain's pocket this election cycle. It is not just a case of plausible deniability on Rogers' part; he was trying to be witty. By referring to Obama’s reaction to their faux outrage using colorful language that will cause his audience to think of the stereotype of a black male who, according to Wikipedia, "absolutely refused to bend to the law of white authority and were irredeemably violent, rude, and lecherous," Rogers was almost certainly trying to come right up to the line between acceptable and unacceptable insults without actually crossing it. Why else choose to use this particular otherwise completely ordinary cliche? The MSM is so thoroughly in McCain's pocket that they've barely even mentioned the insult, and the Obama camp has wisely chosen to ignore it, as well.

Sarah Palin should learn from this example. Because if she really is so outraged by this that she has to send out dozens of campaign hitmen to make the point, then she has no business being in the VP slot. Dick Cheney can tell her: Far worse things would be said about her once she took office. She can't be running to the Oval Office every day to whine to Great-Uncle John-John: "Someone said something mean about me today. Have your minions hold a press conference and call him mean things back. Then can we waterboard him?"
9.10.2008 3:19pm
josh:
Sacrasto

I agree with you. I have been pretty disappointed with some of the Palin commentary, such as criticism of her being VP with 5 kids. But the frustration in response to a number of Lindgren posts is the utter hypocrisy of it all. And, more importantly for this specific quote, there seems to be an inexplicable disconnect between what Obama actually said and the faux outrage by Lindgren and some of the commenters (not outrage for The Ace. He thinks it's funny)

Believe me, I'd love it if the posts that germinate thses debates focus on more substantive issues.
9.10.2008 3:19pm
josh:
Ejo:

"actually, I'm not so noble. the gutter mudslinging, juvenile ranting and personal attacks on Palin have corresponded with the GOP ticket's numbers going up. it shows little sign of abating at this point, with the Dems continuing to dig their own hole-why do I want it to change? keep up the good work, leftists-it saves McCain a ton of dough and makes your candidate look like a wimp."

Color me one "leftist" who appreciates the honesty!
9.10.2008 3:27pm
Kazinski:
The only difference between Obama using the "pig in lipstick" phrase and McCain using it is that Hillary has never publicly associated herself with lipstick, while of course Palin made a big splash with her lipstick line just last week.

I'm not sure that is enough to try and convict Obama for calling Palin a pig, but it is hardly the debate that he wants going on. Anytime this much energy is spent debating whether a candidate went over a line, it isn't a good thing for the candidate.
9.10.2008 3:30pm
The Ace (mail):
Today's gaffe of the day courtesy of Senator Amtrak:


"What I care about is: What in God's name is she going to do — along with John McCain — about the thousands of people who don't have health care?" Biden asked. He'll ask her about "The superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down...John McCain wants to know where Bin Ladin and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That's where Al Quaida is. That's where Bin Ladin is. It's not in the country of Iraq."


Again, you can no longer parody the left.
9.10.2008 3:30pm
The Ace (mail):
McCain's been in Washington for nearly 30 years and now he's going to bring change?? Right!

Obama has been there 4 (well, really 1.5 then he started running for President) and done nothing and Biden has been there 34.

So um, "change" is an empty slogan coming from that crowd.
9.10.2008 3:32pm
The Ace (mail):
The simple facts that you and other continue to ignore are the full quote

Josh:
I'm talking about the people's reaction to it.
As I've said a number of times now. Obama's quote, the full quote with all the text, is now irrelevant. It was a gaffe.
9.10.2008 3:34pm
Michael B (mail):
One need only consider how Dems and Left/Dems would react if the shoe were on the other foot - e.g., if McCain had used the barb against, for example, a Hillary Clinton.

To indulge some understatement, "temperate" is not the word that comes to mind that would accurately describe the ensuing responses over cable, the airwaves, from the writerly class, etc.
9.10.2008 3:36pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Michael B
I don't understand your post.
McCain did last spring. Talking about Hillary's healthcare plan.
no one took offence as far as i can tell.
9.10.2008 3:44pm
Perry:
Its great how many people here can express faux-outrage. bravo. Righteous indignation is usually something thats learned over years but you've managed to perfect it in a matter of weeks.

Yes - that good ole republican party, scared of sounding sexist or non-PC. Its a good thing that nooneon the right ever trashed Hillary clinton for being a woman. I for one am certainly glad that never happened (even if she might have deserved it..)
9.10.2008 3:58pm
Perry:
(trashing in general, that is.. nothing to do with her womanhood)
9.10.2008 3:59pm
Floridan:
I don't think Obama was referring to McCain &Palin in his fish/pig comments, but it would not have been inaccurate if he had.

McCain-Palin are running a campaign based on sleaze - it's like Rove never left.

Oh wait . . .
9.10.2008 4:01pm
NaG (mail):
Chimaxx: Since when is "buck" a racist term? I've watched plenty of "The Boondocks," which gleefully trots out just about every racist epithet that's out there, and "buck" wasn't one of them.

Johnny Canuck: True. But did Hillary, less than a week earlier, make a comment about lipstick that wound up getting a lot of press? Don't think so.

Context is key. Using your opponent's own words against them is so common and accepted in campaigns these days that it is natural for people to assume it's being done when they hear an echo.

It seems likely that part of the reason why Obama's "lipstick" line got such an emphatic cheering reaction from the crowd is precisely because they were all thinking that he just slyly called Palin a pig. Otherwise, why would a tired old trope that's been used a million times by a thousand other politicians be so stirring?
9.10.2008 4:03pm
byomtov (mail):
My point is, nobody thought McCain directed the comment at her, as a woman, but people (rightly or wrongly) don't feel the same about Obama's comment.

No Ace. everyone with a brain knows that Obama did not intend the comment as a personal attack. Just read the context.

But it's just too tempting for the Republicans to rile everyone up with a lot of BS. Keeps the focus away from the absurdity of their campaign.
9.10.2008 4:10pm
The Ace (mail):
McCain-Palin are running a campaign based on sleaze - it's like Rove never left.

Yet the funny thing is, you could not point to a singular, factual example of this.
9.10.2008 4:10pm
The Ace (mail):
everyone with a brain knows that Obama did not intend the comment as a personal attack.

You mean all those Obama supporters sitting there cheering wildly, right?
9.10.2008 4:11pm
The Ace (mail):
Keeps the focus away from the absurdity of their campaign.

Yet the funny thing is, you could not point to a singular, factual example of this.

Is that sort of like Biden saying his helicopter was "forced down" when it was not?

Or is that like Biden &Obama pretending to know exactly where Bin Laden is?
9.10.2008 4:12pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Chimaxx: Since when is "buck" a racist term? I've watched plenty of "The Boondocks," which gleefully trots out just about every racist epithet that's out there, and "buck" wasn't one of them.


Your ignorance of it doesn't mean it's not true.

And whether Obama meant it or not, the real question here is: Why is Sarah Palin on the ticket if she has such a glass jaw?
9.10.2008 4:17pm
SG:
No Ace. everyone with a brain knows that Obama did not intend the comment as a personal attack. Just read the context.

Really? So everybody in the audience that cheered thinking that he had just attacked Palin was also devoid of a brain?

I don't think it's a big deal, aside from being poor politics to alienate a demographic that you're having problems with. But it strains credulity to assert that Obama was unaware of the innuendo.
9.10.2008 4:17pm
The Ace (mail):
everyone with a brain knows that Obama did not intend the comment as a personal attack

Really?

Many in the audience in Lebanon laughed uproariously when Mr Obama made his lipstick remark, clearly taking it to be a reference to the first female Republican on a presidential ticket, who is highly unpopular with Democrats for her arch conservative views and personal attacks on their candidate.


Thank you for posting that Obama supporters do not have brains.
9.10.2008 4:18pm
LM (mail):
josh:

But the frustration in response to a number of Lindgren posts is the utter hypocrisy of it all.

What hypocrisy? JL has certainly crossed over into the role of a partisan, and sometimes more strident than I'd like, but if he's been hypocritical I missed it. Maybe I did, so please show me. Thanks.
9.10.2008 4:20pm
SG:
And whether Obama meant it or not, the real question here is: Why is Sarah Palin on the ticket if she has such a glass jaw?

I have yet to hear her complain about the crack (or about anything else for that matter). There's no evidence that she has a glass jaw. There is evidence that the McCain campaign is looking to exploit the issue Obama seems to have with the female vote, however.

Frankly, I think this is liable to backfire on the McCain campaign if they push it more than a day.
9.10.2008 4:20pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
NaG:
why would anyone call her a pig? I can't see why that would stick or be relevant. Has one no eyes?
Unless one is thinking of the Alaska policy of getting as much pork out of Washington as possible, and then I think it very appropriate.

In the context of the preceding paragraphs of his remarks, Obama's words were directed at McCain's record. Palin wasn't even mentioned.

I understand how you can make the connection, but I don't think it is fair to wrench it out of the verbal context as McCain's web ad has done

When Mr. and Mrs. Cheney used it in 2004 (see my post at 1:02pm), was that OK?

What are your rules?
9.10.2008 4:23pm
The Ace (mail):
Why is Sarah Palin on the ticket if she has such a glass jaw?

A very clear case of projection.

Obama is so thin skinned it isn't even funny.

I guess this female AP reporter doesn't have a brain:


"You can put lipstick on a pig," he said to an outbreak of laughter, shouts and raucous applause from his audience, clearly drawing a connection to Palin's joke. "It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."


byomtov, did you just call women dumb?
9.10.2008 4:23pm
Chimaxx (mail):
I have yet to hear her complain about the crack (or about anything else for that matter).


Right. She got the official McCain campaign minions to complain for her.
9.10.2008 4:25pm
Seamus (mail):
If the Republicans think they can get people (non-Republican people, anyway) outraged about this comment, they really are the stupid party.
9.10.2008 4:26pm
Seamus (mail):
It's not like Obama is the only one invoking that "lipstick on a pig" image:

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/128711.html
9.10.2008 4:31pm
ejo:
seamus, even Jesse Jackson Jr. on WLS this morning in Chicago (Don &Roma) thought it sounded tone deaf. Is he a Republican? in terms of a glass jaw, now that Obama has made the statement, the McCain Campaign can take its time and respond at its leisure, making her look that much better.
9.10.2008 4:37pm
a knight (mail) (www):
Obama was wrong.
Clearly, he should have said:
"Put Lipstick On A Barracuda".
ROR
9.10.2008 4:40pm
Chimaxx (mail):
The truth is: Sarah Palin is just Phillis Schlafly with lipstick.
9.10.2008 4:43pm
josh:
The Ace

"Josh: I'm talking about the people's reaction to it.
As I've said a number of times now. Obama's quote, the full quote with all the text, is now irrelevant. It was a gaffe."

O ... K ... So facts are irrelevant. Got it. No need to concern ourselves with the fact that he was addressing McCain's adoption of the "change" meme when he made the lipstick comment. Rather, let's rely on our Colbert-ian powers of how it makes us FEEL.

Also, need I cite every comment on this thread from you in which you DID think his words were relevant (when they supported your anti-Obama preconceptions)? Let's try your 10:05 am comment: "Obama was talking about McCain's policies when he made the comment. Really? What is your proof of this?"

"everyone with a brain knows that Obama did not intend the comment as a personal attack. You mean all those Obama supporters sitting there cheering wildly, right?"

Let's turn that standard around on you: Please provide one single piece of factual proof that the audience -- who heard Obama rip McCain for his new change meme as a pig with lipstick -- believed he was refering to Palin. Using your magic googling skills, provide one piece of proof that goes to their state of mind. Funny how you relied on a DailyTelegraph cite in your 10:05 am comment and again in your 3:18 comment using the reporter's speculation as to the audience's state of mind. Funny how the liberal media you so often complain about on this blog when it fits your predetermined conclusions is useful ... when it fits your preconceived conclusions.

But seriously, one piece of proof other than a reporter's specualtion about why a roomful of people were laughing ... We'll wait.

Your comment that "Obama supporters do not have brains" really just sums it up and explains why Prof Kerr has often threatened to ban you from here. You're so angry, so driven by animus for people with whom you disagree, that you won't debate issues or facts with any level of honesty. Unfortunately, for you, it's just anger and name calling and childish snarking. It kinda drags down the whole exchange.
9.10.2008 4:48pm
The Ace (mail):
I love watching a political party melt down:


South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler sharply attacked Sarah Palin today, saying John McCain had chosen a running mate " whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”


The Democratic party is afaid of a girl but will "get" Bin Laden!

Surreal.
9.10.2008 4:50pm
The Ace (mail):
Your comment that "Obama supporters do not have brains" really just sums it up

Mind you, after posting this:
So facts are irrelevant. Got it

Again, you can no longer parody you people.
9.10.2008 4:52pm
josh:
LM

"But the frustration in response to a number of Lindgren posts is the utter hypocrisy of it all. What hypocrisy? JL has certainly crossed over into the role of a partisan, and sometimes more strident than I'd like, but if he's been hypocritical I missed it. Maybe I did, so please show me. Thanks."

I apologize if I was unclear, but I and others have tried to point out the hypocrisy of complaining about Obama's remark when McCain made the same about Clinton (her healthcare plan) and, as Johnny C has pointed out, when the Cheneys have.

Then I guess there's just the general hypocrisy of the Right feigning concern over treatment of a woman in a campaign after years of smearing the likes of Hillary, Janet Reno, et al. But honestly, I don't want to go there. That's really the kind of argument-by-anecdote" analysis I'm getting a little fed up with from the likes of The Ace and a few others here. So I won't go there -- won't smear an entire class of people who associate with a political philosophy or party simply due to anecdotal evidence of a few (IE, Ace citing the DailyKos for a charge that liberals attack Palin's daughter -- Ace, don't deny and make me waste more time to go get the quote)
9.10.2008 4:54pm
The Ace (mail):
But seriously, one piece of proof other than a reporter's specualtion about why a roomful of people were laughing ..

Hysterical.

Coming from the party calling Trent Lott a racist for saying nice things about Strom Thurmond and for having a complete meltdown re: Rush Limbaugh &Donovan McNabb.

Seriously, I would try and create caricatures of people like you, but it simply can't be done.
9.10.2008 4:55pm
The Ace (mail):
after years of smearing the likes of Hillary

Yet another allegation you can not prove.
9.10.2008 4:56pm
I'm a Guest Here Myself:
I actually think the whole lipstick thing is overblown. But some of you Obamabots feigning outrage should get a grip. Your candidate clearly accused McCain of trying to scare voters by pointing to Obama's race back in July. The reference to him not looking like presidents on the dollar bill was a clear reference to his race, particularly given the very similar remarks Obama had made earlier about Republicans who were going to scare voters by reminding them that he was black. On this occasion, I actually think Obama's example was ill-timed. But when you engage in sleazy, cynical politics, you shouldn't be surprised when the other side engages in the same tactics.

And no, two wrongs don't make a right. But save the moral outrage. Both sides engage in excessive hyperbole and outright mischaracterizations of what the other side has done and will do.



July 30:

"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."


June 19:

Obama:

"It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy," Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. "We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid.

"They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?"
9.10.2008 4:58pm
The Ace (mail):
You're so angry,

No, I'm laughing at the American left.

so driven by animus for people with whom you disagree

No, I mock them. With facts.

that you won't debate issues or facts with any level of honesty.

Except I'm rebutting statements with fact. You not liking facts and them not being true are 2 different things.

for you, it's just anger and name calling and childish snarking

Except I'm not angry, haven't called anyone any names, and snark because the left are simply beyond parody.
9.10.2008 5:00pm
The Ace (mail):
So I won't go there -- won't smear an entire class of people who associate with a political philosophy or party simply due to anecdotal evidence of a few (IE, Ace citing the DailyKos for a charge that liberals attack Palin's daughter

I also cited: The Washington Post, CNN Online, the Democratic Underground, and Andrew Sullivan. On top of the Daily Kos, which is the most visited political Web site on the Internet.

Those facts are not what you said.
9.10.2008 5:01pm
josh:
Ace, when I wrote "Facts are irrelevant. Got it." I was being facetious. You said "Obama's quote, the full quote with all the text, is now irrelevant." Thus, you argued that the facts over which this entire dispute is about are irrelevant. With a exaggerated wink I nod, I facetiously say, "Got it." (funny, sarcasm doesn't work as well when you have to explain it).

"Again, you can no longer parody YOU PEOPLE." Again, thanks for proving my point. What "people"?!?!?! Who do you think I am? What cabal do you think I belong to? You don't know me. But you have it in your angst-ridden head that all liberals are the same and all are out to get you in their black, UN helicopters, or something.

Get over it. Get therapy. Stop being so angry at people whose political views may differ from yours, including Obama. Saying he'd rather lose a war than a campaign just shows your animus again. You and Obama disagree about the Irag War from soup to nuts. Fine. I support your First Amendment right to shout that from the rooftops. But to level such an awful charge against him just demonstrates hatred, not a real commitment to the argument you are trying to advance.
9.10.2008 5:02pm
Michael B (mail):
"McCain did last spring. Talking about Hillary's healthcare plan. no one took offence as far as i can tell." Johnny Canuck

Johnny, respectfully, the following,

Not the same thing. McCain was using it without any double entendre intended whatsoever. To help substantiate that fact, there were no stories at that time that suggested otherwise and the laughter in the crowd was directed at the analogy with the health care plan, not a personal affront. No one reported or even hinted otherwise that I'm aware.

By contrast, as others in this thread and elsewhere have noted, including those on the scene, the double entendre was intentional in BHO's case, relative to both Palin herself and the policy oriented subject matter he had addressed.

Otoh, I do agree with the advice in the original post: move on after briefly taking note of the fact. I also do not believe Obama was being terribly malicious or nasty in a truly vindictive and personal manner (which is the primary reason we should move past this), but the double entendre is apparent enough imo. That's why I indicated the press, the MSM, would play on this if the shoe had been on the other foot, rather than focusing upon Obama as such. If McCain had intended a double entendre he would have been branded with it (the charge of sexism, boorishness, insensitivity toward women, etc.) and to this day the press would be recalling it, at least occasionally so.

A precious commodity hangs in the balance: votes. The Dems/MSM are, shall we say, not unaware of that fact.
9.10.2008 5:03pm
Suzy (mail):

Unless Obama has been using "lipstick on a pig" against McCain as a regular part of his speeches prior to Palin's convention speech, and I have not seen anything to indicate that that is the case.


He used it at least once in a primary speech; I know this because I heard him say it and I assumed he was using that kind of phrase to appeal to Iowa/midwest voters. In the interest of open disclosure, Palin's addition to the ticket was a great disappointment to me and I do not like her. However, I am telling the truth about having heard Obama use this phrase several months ago. At that time it was not even clear yet who his GOP rival would be.

It's so disappointing that the campaign debates have been reduced to this. At least when debate on issues occurs, we can learn from our opponents and hopefully make better judgments as a result. We have serious problems in this country, and now it's nonsense about lipstick and who's whining today. Maybe we could ask the candidates about the Fannie Freddie bailout, or see more posts here analyzing the future prospects for these entities?
9.10.2008 5:04pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Josh:
In the link "The Ace" so helpfully provided, two more examples, including one where Obama applied this to someone else.


As Marc Ambinder notes, Obama has used the phrase before, to describe George W Bush's instructions to Gen David Petraeus. So has John McCain - to describe Hillary Clinton's revived health care plan, and Elizabeth Edwards to describe McCain's health policies.
9.10.2008 5:05pm
I'm a Guest Here Myself:
Josh,

I doubt Obama said "I think winning the war is possible, and it would be better for the country, but that would really hurt the entire reason behind my candidacy, so I'm going to take a different position." That would be pretty awful, whether or not it constitutes "treason," which it wouldn't.

But that's just not how things work in the real world. People rationalize. They convince themselves of facts because the facts are more convenient to their preferred narrative. I think there is a strong argument that Obama is guilty of that given his shifting positions in the primary/general election on the surge and troop withdrawal dates. If true, he wouldn't be the first politician, Republican or Democrat, to adopt a foreign policy position that is influenced by political considerations, whether overtly or not.
9.10.2008 5:08pm
josh:
Ace

"But seriously, one piece of proof other than a reporter's specualtion about why a roomful of people were laughing .. Hysterical. Coming from the party calling Trent Lott a racist for saying nice things about Strom Thurmond and for having a complete meltdown re: Rush Limbaugh &Donovan McNabb. Seriously, I would try and create caricatures of people like you, but it simply can't be done."

First, when did I ever call trent Lott anything? This is the argument by anecdote I was talking about. You're so mad at the other side, you're lumping me in with and attributing to me things that I have never said. So when you say, "No, I mock them. With facts ...Except I'm rebutting statements with fact. You not liking facts and them not being true are 2 different things ... " you're not being honest.

You have made numerous claims on this thread that the people in the audience thought Obama was talking about Palin. Do what you say you do and prove it. A third-party's speculation is not proof.

But, unfortunately, you can't. As demonstrated by your counterargument regarding Trent Lott and Rush Limbaugh, you're just content to make assertions against entire groups of people without evidence. Ending every comment with "there's nothing left to parody on the left." and "Obama supporters do not have brains" etc.

It's not funny. It's mean spirited. It's angry. It reminds me of grade-school bully tactics. If that's how you want to argue issues, feel free. More power to you. But it doesn't do much to advance anything on the merits.
9.10.2008 5:10pm
I'm a Guest Here Myself:
As a follow up, Josh, a lot of folks on the Left think that Bush just lied about intelligence in order to invade Iraq. Do you think that's true, or is it more likely that he was inclined to believe certain facts because of beliefs he already held?
9.10.2008 5:11pm
josh:
I'm a Guest Here Myself

I don't necessarily disagree with your comment. I think Obama has made political calculations in this race, as has McCain. But that is light years away from the pithy comment "rather lose a war than a campaign" or whatever the nonsense is.
9.10.2008 5:14pm
The Ace (mail):
Ace, when I wrote "Facts are irrelevant. Got it." I was being facetious.

I know. Then you proceeded to attribute words to me I did not write.

Which makes what you wrote hysterically funny.

Thus, you argued that the facts over which this entire dispute is about are irrelevant

Here is the problem, the "facts" are not so clear.
For example, it is a fact that 2+2 equals 4.
It is not so clear, based on the reactions of a number of people, that it is a "fact" that Obama was referring to McCain's policies.
Now you can sit there and pretend it is a 'fact' and wish it were a fact and wave your arms about McCain using the phrase and Obama saying it before too.
But none of that matters because when communication is a 2 way street and perceptions matter.

I could bog this server down with examples of people making the same statements re: racism. That whites are "not aware" of what they say and need to be "more sensitive" etc.

You reject that notion, right?
Right?
9.10.2008 5:15pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Michael B
I don't get the non literal part of the double entendre

I am too obtuse to understand the applicability of either or both of these to Palin's person.

I can now deduce that when Cheney used it about Kerry in 2004 the double entendre was on the lipstick, not the pig and was suggesting Kerry was effete or worse.

I don't get the applicability to Palin -to Alaskan politicians in general, maybe.

want to explain?
9.10.2008 5:15pm
The Ace (mail):
What "people"?!?!?! Who do you think I am?

You are a leftist.

That's what I mean and I have been exceedingly clear on this.
9.10.2008 5:16pm
I'm a Guest Here Myself:
As a follow up to the whole "proof" issue about Obama's quote, let's put this into a legal context: we're talking about what was in his mind, and given that Obama isn't the most unbiased source for that, we really lack any reliable direct proof of what he intended with the lipstick statement. As in most areas of life, we'll have to make inferences, with Republicans inferring their preffered narrative from the timing of the comments and the other speaker who talked about "no matter how much lipstick you wear" versus the very plausible narrative from the Democratic side, namely, that he was using a very common figure of speech, one often used by McCain himself, to describe something as less than the genuine article.

Neither argument is implausible, but as I've often thought that it's dangerous to search for bad intent, my preference is to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on this one. At the end of the day, I'm much more concerned about whether Obama will be aggressive enough on the war on terror, whether he'll cut spending (he won't), and whether the middle class tax cuts will be defined so that the middle class is anyone making under $50,000 a year.
9.10.2008 5:17pm
josh:
I'm a Guest Here Myself

That's a tough question. Do I think there is a verifiable moment in time (something the historians will be able to document 20-50 years from now) that Bush affirmatively falsified intel to justify the war. Certainly not. I do not believe that happened or will be proven to have happened.

Do I think that enormous issue you raise is full of nuance that certain folks on the thread don't see in issues? Most definitely. If anything, as the facts stand now (and, as with all presidents, I think we'll be learning things for years to come), I sort of stand in the Paul Pillar camp. Pillar was the former CIA analyst (and, ironically, former college roomate of one of the Powerline bloggers) who has asserted repeatedly that Bush's justification for the war was the result more of cherry-picking, rather than lying.

Wow. Has this thread gone off the rails.
9.10.2008 5:18pm
The Ace (mail):
I am too obtuse to understand the applicability of either or both of these to Palin's person.

It has already been spelled out for you.


You can put lipstick on a pig," he said to an outbreak of laughter, shouts and raucous applause from his audience, clearly drawing a connection to Palin's joke. "


Why is this so hard to grasp?
9.10.2008 5:19pm
The Ace (mail):
You have made numerous claims on this thread that the people in the audience thought Obama was talking about Palin. Do what you say you do and prove it. A third-party's speculation is not proof.

You are simply in denial.
9.10.2008 5:20pm
Soldats (mail):
Honestly, if you get outraged and whine about a possible connotation of a common turn of phrase, you have no business being president or vice president of the US.
9.10.2008 5:20pm
LM (mail):
josh:

I and others have tried to point out the hypocrisy of complaining about Obama's remark when McCain made the same about Clinton (her healthcare plan) and, as Johnny C has pointed out, when the Cheneys have.

I agree that those who have done it and now complain about it are hypocrites. I just see no evidence that applies to Jim Lindgren, who as far as I can tell is being a partisan advocate. He may be advocating on behalf of a hypocrite if McCain is attacking Obama's comment, but that doesn't make JL a hypocrite himself.
9.10.2008 5:22pm
The Ace (mail):
you're just content to make assertions against entire groups of people without evidence

Really?

Point me to a single elected Democrat or prominent liberal who did now want Trent Lott ousted.

Then I'll agree with you.
9.10.2008 5:22pm
I'm a Guest Here Myself:
Josh,

I think part of the problem is that Obama takes McCain's statement as more of a swipe at him than a gratutitious pat on the back to McCain. Had the war turned south after the surge, McCain would not be a viable candidate. Under no circumstances. Dead as McGovern. So McCain is trying to say "vote for me, because I'm willinig to stand up for a position that is unpopular because I think it is the right position." McCain fancies himself as a hero, and frankly, as much as he irritates me at times, he's earned that right. But I guess I just don't read into that "Obama wanted to lose the war." McCain was making the same argument in the Republican primary against Romney. It was much less, if at all, about patriotism, and much more about McCain being the kind of guy who will stand firm when firmness is required.
9.10.2008 5:22pm
josh:
Ace

What words did I attribute to you that you did not write?

"Here is the problem, the "facts" are not so clear." That's rich. Fact: At 10:05 you disputed that Obama's comment was directed at McCain. Fact: the words show he was directing them at McCain. Fact: faced with the above, you change tune and say Obama's words, the context, is irrelevant. Fact: You allege that Obama's words were directed at Palin and, in support, you cite a news article speculating on audience laughter. Fact: you have made repeated comments on this blog professing animus toward the media. Fact: news article you cite about Obama audience comes from media.

" What "people"?!?!?! Who do you think I am? You are a leftist. That's what I mean and I have been exceedingly clear on this."

Such animus
9.10.2008 5:25pm
I'm a Guest Here Myself:
But Josh, that's the point. People cherry pick facts all the time. Is it good policy? No. It's human nature. But Bush is not a traitor either, despite some of the claims of the Kosmonaut crowd.
9.10.2008 5:25pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Why is this so hard to grasp?


Because in the context of the preceding two sentences, it makes no sense to read it--or the audience reaction--in that way, unless you're doing it purely for cynical political point-scoring.
9.10.2008 5:26pm
josh:
Ace

"You have made numerous claims on this thread that the people in the audience thought Obama was talking about Palin. Do what you say you do and prove it. A third-party's speculation is not proof. You are simply in denial."

Well, so much for "rebutting statements with fact." (See Ace's 4 pm comment)
9.10.2008 5:28pm
AKD:

“Barack Obama says he’s about change, too — except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Clinton-style politics. That’s just repeating the same failed ideas.”
With a laugh, he added: “Monkey see, monkey do.”


Can anyone seriously claim that if McCain said the above, there would not be a shitstorm of unimaginable proportions? Context matters.
9.10.2008 5:29pm
The Ace (mail):
you're just content to make assertions against entire groups of people without evidence.

No, I'm not. And here is a perfect example:


Dem. Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) - I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that the parties have differences. But if you want change, you want the Democratic Party. Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about. Pontius Pilate was a governor. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Added to the fact this same silly nonsense was a)first posted on the Daily Kos and b) posted by liberal commenters on many other blogs.
9.10.2008 5:30pm
The Ace (mail):
Because in the context of the preceding two sentences, it makes no sense to read it--or the audience reaction--in that way, unless you're doing it purely for cynical political point-scoring.

Tell that to the reporters who were there.
9.10.2008 5:30pm
josh:
LM

Based on my ongoing frolic with Ace, I'll concede the point to you. Perhaps it is unfair to attribute the hypocrisy to Prof Lindgren on this narrow issue. But I do think I've seen a pattern on his part and (Prof Bernstein's) of only getting outraged over news events that paint dems in bad light and gop's in good light.

For example, Prof. Lindgren wrote a remarkable post attributing a sharp drop in the DOW to Obama clinching the nomination, but did not do so when the DOW dipped even further after Palin's acceptance speech.

Now I think doing either would be a joke (causation v. correlation). And maybe Lindgren's conduct on that isn't hypocrisy.

Hackery?
9.10.2008 5:31pm
The Ace (mail):
Ace

What words did I attribute to you that you did not write?


This:
Obama supporters do not have brains

You even put it in quotes.

For someone so concerned with "facts" you really ought to go back and re-read what I wrote. In context.
9.10.2008 5:32pm
josh:
Ace

"you're just content to make assertions against entire groups of people without evidence Really? Point me to a single elected Democrat or prominent liberal who did now want Trent Lott ousted. Then I'll agree with you."

OK. Me. While troubling, I didn't think Lott's comments warranted ouster. Thanks for proving my point for me. Glad you now agree with me
9.10.2008 5:33pm
The Ace (mail):
Well, so much for "rebutting statements with fact."

It is a fact people thought that Obama was talking about Palin.

The fact that you would deny this is incoherent and bizarre.
9.10.2008 5:33pm
The Ace (mail):
For example, Prof. Lindgren wrote a remarkable post attributing a sharp drop in the DOW to Obama clinching the nomination, but did not do so when the DOW dipped even further after Palin's acceptance speech.

I love this.

I wonder if you can understand that Palin isn't running for President.
9.10.2008 5:34pm
The Ace (mail):
OK. Me. While troubling, I didn't think Lott's comments warranted ouster

You're neither an elected Democrat nor prominent liberal.

That's a fact.
9.10.2008 5:36pm
josh:
Ace

"What words did I attribute to you that you did not write? This: Obama supporters do not have brains. You even put it in quotes. For someone so concerned with "facts" you really ought to go back and re-read what I wrote. In context."

My apologies. You did write those exact words. Here's the full sentence. "Thank you for posting that Obama supporters do not have brains."

Thank your for conceding that context matters. I should have put your childish snark in full context.
9.10.2008 5:36pm
A.W. (mail):
Chimaxx

I am sorry, are you actually trying to tell us that Barrack “I don’t look like the other presidents on the dollar bills” Obama hasn’t been hypersensitive on race?

> Because if she really is so outraged by this that she has to send out dozens of campaign hitmen to make the point

Actually, I haven’t seen any outrage from her.

But like a lot of the liberal talking points your comment boomerangs back on Obama. Consider a few:

She isn’t experienced enough! Well, she has more executive experience than Noobius Maximus, and has actually accomplished more. And she would only be a heartbeat away from the presidency;

She was only chosen because she is a woman! And if Barack Obama had been white he would have been... John Edwards (pre-scandal). Maybe a veep, but never the nominee for President.

She was only chosen because she is hot! Again, you never heard a woman say Obama was a hottie?

She whines when she hears bad things said about her! Actually, she hasn’t so far. I don’t recall, for instance, a word about “leaving her daughter alone.” Her actual response was to go all “Momma Bear” on Obama and rip his throat out that Wednesday night. I expect she will do something along those lines on this. But on the other hand, Barack has been a huge whiner, complaining about things McCain hasn’t even said about him yet. In fact, its hard to think of a statement more whiney and weak than his infamous “we won’t be bullied” line.

Floridan

> McCain-Palin are running a campaign based on sleaze - it's like Rove never left.

Oh, right and the 100 years in Iraq thing wasn’t at all sleazy. And saying mccain thought you were only rich if you made $5 million a year proved he was out of touch was not sleavy. Never mind that in that context they were talking tax policy, and thus it was meant to say that mccain wasn’t going to punish you for succes—below that amount of income. By comparison, Obama has claimed he only supports taxing “the rich” and apparently thinks that includes anyone making above $50,000 a year, because the tax increases started even below that amount. Either that or this is another case of Obama’s words failing to match his deeds.

Byomtov

> Just read the context.

What you mean is look at the words of his speech in isolation and forget the context of Palin’s very famous joke.

SG

> I don't think it's a big deal, aside from being poor politics to alienate a demographic that you're having problems with. But it strains credulity to assert that Obama was unaware of the innuendo.

If you haven’t noticed, Barack has a blind spot on this subject. Or maybe more of a tin ear. And if you haven’t noticed, they are genuinely rattled by her.

Josh

> Please provide one single piece of factual proof that the audience -- who heard Obama rip McCain for his new change meme as a pig with lipstick -- believed he was refering to Palin.

Well, first, you at least have to admit that the AP and ABC news saw it that way. Not exactly republican strongholds, although I will say ABC is fairer than most liberal media outlets. They do care about facts.

But then it begs the question... why did they laugh so hard? I mean lipstick on a pig in any other context is such an old cliché it has been drained of any and all humor. But juxtaposed with Palin’s pitbull joke, the cliché takes on new meaning. I am at a loss for any other reason for them to laugh, than out of a belief that he meant it for her. That doesn’t settle the issue, but maybe you could cut out this snotty pretending that you are stupid for thinking he meant it that way.

This pattern of argument, of trying to sound tough and clever by turning their own words against them, or trying to appropriate them form himself, is classic Obama.
9.10.2008 5:39pm
josh:
Ace

"OK. Me. While troubling, I didn't think Lott's comments warranted ouster. You're neither an elected Democrat nor prominent liberal. That's a fact."

See, but that's not what you said. earlier, I had asked for proof about audience state of mind: "But seriously, one piece of proof other than a reporter's specualtion about why a roomful of people were laughing .. "

You responded: "Hysterical. Coming from the party calling Trent Lott a racist for saying nice things about Strom Thurmond and for having a complete meltdown re: Rush Limbaugh &Donovan McNabb."

Funny how you didn't mention I had to be "an elected Democrat nor prominent liberal" to warrant receipt of your angry, childish slur at the time.

But now I do. Got it. Thanks for the tip.
9.10.2008 5:40pm
ejo:
"South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler sharply attacked Sarah Palin today, saying John McCain had chosen a running mate " whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

quick cut and paste from Politico. Again, as a Republican, why do we want to move on to substance when we get priceless stuff like this from the Dems?
9.10.2008 5:40pm
pauldom:
I'm a guest here myself:

Here is McCain's statement. How can it not be read as a swipe at Obama? Though I concede it is also a gratuitous pat on the back to McCain.

I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.
9.10.2008 5:43pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Ace:
A very clear case of projection.

Obama is so thin skinned it isn't even funny.


Yet another allegation you can not prove.
9.10.2008 5:45pm
josh:
Last ACE rebuttal. Tiresome. Would like to get to what appears to be a good-faith disxcussion with Guest:

ACE: "Well, so much for "rebutting statements with fact.It is a fact people thought that Obama was talking about Palin. The fact that you would deny this is incoherent and bizarre."

What is bizarre (or was) was your really angry post earlier about how you were so focused on facts and citations in support. When asked to provide one, just one, you can't, and now the argument devolves into conclusory assertions and name calling. Unfortunate, but it does concede the point.

OK

But anyway, ACE. You win. I am a bad, bad liberal. In line with all the other liberals on all issues. I am not only out to get you and ruin this country, but, even though not an elected or prominent liberal, I was out to get Trent Lott.

And Rush Limbaugh

And Larry Craig.

You win. I can't debate your fact-laden, good-faith, intellectual honest comments any more.

You win.
9.10.2008 5:45pm
josh:
Guest

Sorry about the detour. Done wasting time with Ace.

As to your 4:22 comment: I really can't see the comment by McCain as anything other than a swipe at Obama. I mean, would you want to be accused of such using such words? If he had stopped at "I'd rather lose a campaign than a war" and said nothing more, I might tend to agree that he was referring to himself. But he goes on to take it straight to Obama. I think that shows more than mere disagreement of policies. That shows real personal attack. Whatever. Agree to disagree.

As to your 4:25 comments: Don't make the same mistake as Ace. Don't lump me with Kos unless I affirmately state my agreement with him/them. I certainly don't view Bush's failures of the last 8 years as traitorous. Do I think he came to power wanting war with the man who planned his father's assasination attempt and whom his father failed to depose? Yes. Do I think he cherry-picked intel to justify going to war? Yes. Do I think that's wrong? Yes. And certainly more wrong than lying about oral sex, but I wouldn't impeach or indict for that either.
9.10.2008 5:52pm
Chimaxx (mail):
A.W.:

My point is: If the best the Republicans can come up with is "He said something mean about us, whether he meant it or not" then they deserve to lose.
9.10.2008 5:53pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Josh:
now that you have succumbed to Ace's overwhelming attack, would you mind answering the question I raised in my 4:15 post. i really am mystified, honest.
9.10.2008 5:53pm
Kazinski:
Chimaxx:

Because in the context of the preceding two sentences, it makes no sense to read it--or the audience reaction--in that way, unless you're doing it purely for cynical political point-scoring.

I will stipulate for the record that a large part of both campaigns are "doing it purely for cynical political point-scoring." What do you think most campaigns spend a large part of their energy on? Policy?

Neither Sarah Palin or John McCain are so sensitive that they would care a whit at being called a pig or a rotting fish. The whole point of Palins "pit bull" line was to tout how tough she was. When John McCain was being tortured by the North Vietnamese, was he saying to himself "as long as they don't say anything about a rotten fish I can hold out a little longer"?

Of course it cynical political point scoring trying to solidify supporters that would find such an insult outrageous enough to affect their vote. There is probably some demographic of middle aged women that are still smartng from being called a pig in middle school 40 years ago, that may well reject Obama for that reason.

On the other hand when Obama says:

“They seize on innocent remarks, try to throw them out of context, throw up an outrageous ad because they know that it’s catnip for the news media,” Obama said before delivering remarks about education to a small group of supporters gathered in a high school library. “I don’t care what they say about me but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics. Enough is enough.”

Yes, it too is cynical political point scoring trying to hit some possible demographic of middle aged men, falsely accused in middle school 40 years ago of calling some girl a pig.

On such ground elections are fought.
9.10.2008 5:59pm
ejo:
you might add that this seems to be a slightly successful cynical political point. it is somewhat better than the passing off grandkid as kid one offered by the opposition-where did the left think that one was going to go? it is better than pretty much all the ones thrown at Palin so far (including the wonderful Ms. Fowler's classy statement above). it also set up a nice low blow to be directed by Palin, at her leisure with the full assistance of speechwriters and political hatchet men, in the near future.
9.10.2008 6:17pm
LM (mail):
josh,

For example, Prof. Lindgren wrote a remarkable post attributing a sharp drop in the DOW to Obama clinching the nomination, but did not do so when the DOW dipped even further after Palin's acceptance speech.

Now I think doing either would be a joke (causation v. correlation). And maybe Lindgren's conduct on that isn't hypocrisy.

Hackery?

I think partisanship is enough, but "tomato" "tomahto." That you point out the inconsistency is I think the important thing.

Unless you think tactics like Ace's persuade anyone not in his choir (many of whom I'll bet find him an embarrassment), IMHO making the substantive arguments, pointing out the weaknesses and contradictions in theirs, and letting judgments about personal character speak for themselves is the most effective advocacy for this forum. Of course, YMMV. I'm not saying it's easy or that I manage it consistently myself -- these are emotional times. And no, you've said nothing that remotely merits comparison to Ace. I only mention him to illustrate my point. Which is that since nowadays blogs and blog comments get scrutinized and exploited by political campaigns, airing our frustrations about other commentators should probably take a back seat to less personal ends. The low road may be an occasional political necessity, but there's only downside in us going there.
9.10.2008 6:19pm
Bad English:
"Now I think doing either would be a joke (causation v. correlation). And maybe Lindgren's conduct on that isn't hypocrisy. Hackery?"

What's with the animus?
9.10.2008 6:39pm
Michael B (mail):
"I don't get the non literal part of the double entendre" Johnny Canuck

In neither case is anything literally intended about the "old fish" or the "lipstick on a pig" comment. The reference is not to lipstick, nor to pigs, nor to old fish.

"I am too obtuse to understand the applicability of either or both of these to Palin's person."

Well, you are.

BHO uses a couple of analogies - to an "old fish" and to "lipstick on a pig" - immediately after referring to the McCain/Palin ticket ...

And since my emphasis was on the MSM/Dem alliance, there's this recent poll from Rasumssen Reports, excerpt:

"Seven out of 10 voters (69%) remain convinced that reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and this year by a nearly five-to-one margin voters believe they are trying to help Barack Obama."

So, regardless of this specific brouhaha as pertains to "old fish" and "lipstick on a pig," 69% agree in general and by a ratio of 5:1 they believe the Dem/MSM alliance is a reality.
9.10.2008 6:50pm
ejo:
so, do we credit the media's interpretation of this Obama statement when it is the same media that had been pushing the trig maternity story? or yesterday's per diem controversy (Extra Extra, read all about it, Palin spends hundreds of thousands less than predecessors).
9.10.2008 6:53pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Michael B:

1. In neither case is anything literally intended about the "old fish" or the "lipstick on a pig" comment. The reference is not to lipstick, nor to pigs, nor to old fish.

"I am too obtuse to understand the applicability of either or both of these to Palin's person."

Well, you are.

If lipstick on a pig is so terrible you can't even explain it, how did Cheney and McCain get away with the same metaphor?

2. BHO uses a couple of analogies - to an "old fish" and to "lipstick on a pig" - immediately after referring to the McCain/Palin ticket ...

This of course is not true: what he said was:


"John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington. That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing."



It is all about George Bush's policies and that McCain's are no different. He did not refer to the ticket. He did not mention Palin.
9.10.2008 7:07pm
eddiehaskel (mail):
Is this really a blog run by professors? Is this really a blog run by law professors? Was this post meant to be serious at all? And finally, are politics, law and democracy simply some kind of game to you people?
9.10.2008 7:09pm
Major Undertaking (mail):
When I first saw Senator McCain's campaign ad, I thought it went too far: the phrase is a common one and has been used by many people in many contexts, including by Senator McCain. When I repeatedly watched the comment by Senator Obama on videotape from various outlets, however, I reached a different conclusion. The junior Senator from Illinois is an extraordinarily intelligent, gifted and articulate person of high academic achievement. Are we supposed to believe somehow that when he paused for several seconds after saying the phrase in question, waiting for the amusement and applause from his partisan audience in appreciation for his sly jest — which came surely and loudly — that this great orator was doing so in innocence? That is an insult both to Senator Obama's ability as a speaker and to the intelligence of America's voters! Also, Senator Clinton did not take umbrage as to Senator McCain's comments, as far as I have been able to discover. As so many of our mothers and grandmothers taught us, it isn't what you say, it is how you say it.

I think many would have taken them to task and for good and sufficient reason, had the McCain campaign not raised strenuous objections to the clear implication — certainly in the minds of the audience in front of whom they were first uttered — of Senator Obama's words in both the 'lipstick' and 'fish' slurs. I completely agree with the analyses that the attack was planned, coordinated and on Governor Palin, personally. She is clearly the catalyst for the tremendous surge the McCain campaign has seen in the polls. The Obama campaign has been watching a near-catastrophic avalanche. They seem to be in a real and serious panic. There is no question that they have been put on the defensive. It seems to me they are experiencing the terrible, sinking feeling of those who have been predicted to win, and win handily, who unexpectedly find themselves in a tight race — and behind. Thus, the smear, doing everything they can to drag down her approval rating, followed by what I perceive as utterly inartful and entirely phony outrage by them at the McCain folks' reaction, rather than giving a simple apology to any "who might have been offended unintentionally." Senator Obama has a great deal to be proud about, from my point of view. I wish, though, that he had chosen this critical moment to practice just a bit of humility.
9.10.2008 7:25pm
rarango (mail):
Mr Lukasiak--thanks for your forthright response and refreshing response. That makes you an honest progressive. And we need honest progressives such as you represent policy positions. Well done, Sir. Then we can debate real issues instead of the personalities behind them. My hat is off to you, Sir.
9.10.2008 7:33pm
SG:
While the innuendo was clearly intentional and premeditated, I think he was trying for the same effect that Palin achieved in her RNC speech - playful mocking. It just didn't come across well.
9.10.2008 7:33pm
Milhouse (www):
Sigh. Do I have to say the same thing again? The difference between McCain saying it about Clinton, and Obama saying it about Palin is not in the words themselves, but the context in which they were said. Had Clinton famously compared herself to an animal in lipstick a week before McCain used the "pig" saying, and if he had an ounce of sense, he would not have done so. Had Palin not used the pit bull joke, or had it not become so famous that Obama can't plausibly claim not to have heard of it, then there'd be no objections to his using the pig saying either. But the fact is that Palin did use the joke, and it's been in the public discourse ever since, and in that context it's crystal clear that what Obama meant was "you're not a pit bull, you're a pig".
9.10.2008 7:44pm
Michael B (mail):
Johnny, we disagree. You're hung up on some highly selective and literal interpretations. E.g., "the ticket" wasn't indicated literally by BHO, but it's inherent in what was being said.

"Old fish" and "lipstick on a pig". Hmmmmm....

We disagree and decidedly so.
9.10.2008 7:58pm
fullerene:
Has Rome burned to the ground yet?
9.10.2008 7:59pm
LM (mail):
This was a political gaffe by Obama, but not because it reveals anything about how he feels about Palin. It's because he overestimated the intelligence of the press and the populace. It's quick and obvious to connect the comment to Palin. It's longer and more nuanced to explain why it doesn't mean what it's accused of meaning. This is Obama's blind spot, and it's what also makes him vulnerable to false accusations of elitism.
9.10.2008 8:07pm
Major Undertaking (mail):
To enlarge just a bit on what I said a few posts earlier, let us compare the Obama incident with today's flap over the comments of South Carolina Democrat Party Chairman Carol Fowler, and what Ms. Fowler has seen fit to do about it.

What she said: http://tinyurl.com/6lbq4t


South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler sharply attacked Sarah Palin today, saying John McCain had chosen a running mate "whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”


Her subsequent statement this evening: http://tinyurl.com/69umjb


“I personally admire and respect the difficult choices that women make everyday, and I apologize to anyone who finds my comment offensive,” she said in a written statement. “I clumsily was making a point about people in South Carolina who may vote based on a single issue. Whether it’s the environment, the economy, the war or a woman’s right to choose, there are people who will cast their vote based on a single issue. That was the only point I was attempting to make.”


Isn't that a far better response, when one has not intended to offend as many potential voters as one evidently has, or may have? I certainly think the answer is clearly, "Yes." It is not too late for Senator Obama to do likewise. I hope he does, so we can all put this ludicrous kerfuffle behind us.
9.10.2008 8:18pm
SG:
LM,

You honestly don't think he intended both meanings? Look at the video - that's a prepared line. And the next line about the old fish is clearly a reference to McCain's age. If he really only intended the one meaning, then he's clearly not as bright as you give him credit for.

You don't think he's able to construct a phrase with dual meanings? He was trying to go on the offensive and it backfired.
9.10.2008 8:20pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Michael B
I certain admit to literal, but i don't see how I'm being selective. I've seen the same first and apparently offensive metaphor being used by Mr and Mrs. Cheney against Kerry's policies; by McCain against Hillary Clinton's policy; by Elizabeth Edwards against McCain's policy; Never seemed to be a problem. and then Obama also applied second metaphor.
What was wrapped in the paper was 8 years of Bush policy.
Both metaphors relate to Bush/McCain policies.
Reaction seems completely irrational.

sorry you can't explain.
9.10.2008 8:31pm
NaG (mail):
Chimaxx: Oh...you meant "BLACK buck" is a racial epithet. So "buck" itself is, in fact, NOT a racial epithet as you originally claimed. Not to mention that you chose to use as your example a racial epithet that, by your own link's admission, hasn't been used in decades. Thanks for clearing up your earlier statement.

Again, people, if it really was a simple poor choice of words, then Obama would have come out by now and said so. He hasn't. Instead, he's trying to whip up as much outrage over the Republican's reaction as the Republicans have tried to whip up over the statement itself. Funny thing is, as the AP reporter pointed out, and folks like Major Understanding grokked immediately upon witnessing the actual delivery of the statement, Obama knew what he was doing all along.
9.10.2008 8:32pm
Hoosier:
LM

So you're saying that Obama is talking over our heads, and we aren't sophisticated enough to understand him. Therefore, we mistakenly think he's an elitist who looks down on us?
9.10.2008 8:40pm
pauldom:
Having watched this tape multiple times, I find it obvious that the crowd was cheering what Obama actually said--that the McCain policies are not "change" by any definition, but just the same old thing with a different name.

Of course Obama supporters would cheer that sentiment. They have cheered it every time he said it lo these many months, well before anyone in the lower 48 had ever heard of Gov Palin. I know many people think very highly of her, but really, every "lipstick" reference from here on out is not going to be All About Her, no matter how much people loved her speech.

I don't even think it was a poor choice of words. Cliche, yes (tho the crowd in the tape doesn't seem to mind--the laughed, just like McCain's audience laughed when he used the same phrase). "sexist," no--not for any reasonable person. If you honestly think his statements were a reference to Palin, you're being unreasonable, and that goes for the AP reporter too.

Even if the line DID refer to Palin, she would have been the lipstick--putting a pretty face to bad policy--and not the pig.
9.10.2008 9:10pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I am glad we are debating these issues about "pig/lipstick" and "fish/newspaper". Iraq, Afghanistan, and the economic meltdown are such downers, and of so little importance, anyway.
9.10.2008 9:11pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Maybe my memory stinks, but I don't recall anyone ever going this nuts over a VP pick in my life. Hilarious that Obama is so off kilter because of Palin.
9.10.2008 10:29pm
NaG (mail):
I, too, am amazed how Palin has pretty much made the Democrats go collectively nuts. When I first heard that Palin was McCain's choice, my first reaction was, naturally, "Sarah who?" Then it became, "That probably was not a good idea. It looks like a transparent ploy to woo women voters." Then Palin spoke at the convention, and the pundits were all saying that she did quite well, so then I thought, "Well, guess she won't be a detriment, at least. Maybe not the best pick, but not a bad pick." But for some reason the pro-Obama horde has decided that Palin is so terrifying that they have made their criticisms -- some fair, many not -- so hysterical that she has dominated the news. Wait, I thought Obama was the "rock star" of this election? How did the Democrats manage to make Palin into the rock star? And yes, it was the Democrats that did it, because I don't think her speech at the convention was so off-the-charts awesome that she became the Next Big Thing as a sole result of it.

If the Democrats had just said, "Eh, so what. A governor of a small red state. We're glad McCain didn't pick someone that could have scared us," that would probably have been the end of it.

And Major Undertaking beat me to pointing out the mea culpa from the Democrat operative that was what Obama should have been saying all along. Really, I can't imagine that abortion comment having any more traction, because it's pretty obvious now that it was a simple gaffe. So why didn't Obama react that way?
9.10.2008 11:23pm
A.W. (mail):
Climaxx

> If the best the Republicans can come up with is "He said something mean about us, whether he meant it or not" then they deserve to lose.

As opposed to: “they will say something mean to me, I know it!” from The One.

Christopher Cooke

You don’t think it matters whether the next president of the United States is a pig? And the potential pig I am concerned about is Obama: as in, a sexist pig.

Well, hell, then David Duke for President! Sure, he hates black people, but let’s not get distracted by that. Let’s talk about the issues. And the fact he is a former klansman and generally unreconstructed racist is really a personal attack.

(And yes, that entire last paragraph is sarcastic. Do not take literally.)
9.11.2008 12:02am
Dax (mail):
Two very quick points:

1. Even assuming Obama was referring to Palin (some free-association with her lipstick line, perhaps), I honestly don't understand how this is a gender issue. The hackneyed phrase "lipstick on a pig is still a pig" is not really a gendered line. It's not even a line about people. In the countless times I've heard the phrase, it's always used to attack an idea, an argument, a sales pitch -- i.e., you can dress up argument X anyway you like, but it still stinks. I've seen more than one judge use the phrase in a judicial opinion. But I've never, ever heard the pig/lipstick line used as a personal insult to suggest that a person is a pig in lipstick. Obama was deriding the sales pitch being used by McCain/Palin (but primarily McCain, because that's who he mentioned by name), because he thinks they're trying to dress up old policies as change -- a pig in lipstick. Seems pretty straight-forward to me. Maybe I don't get out enough.

2. The fact that the audience laughed does not support the inference that the lipstick comment was a reference to Palin. The news tonight showed five clips of McCain using the same phrase within recent months and on least three of those instances the crowd laughed at it. That's why politicians use that metaphor so much -- it's funny. Obama also delivered the line well, which tends to amp up the crowd reaction (which is obviously predisposed to laugh at his jokes anyway). This obviously doesn't prove that Obama wasn't talking about Palin (I think the context does that), but the crowd laughter doesn't advance this argument at all.
9.11.2008 12:03am
Eli Rabett (www):
Sarah Palin earmark welfare queen
9.11.2008 12:13am
Smokey:
Eli Rabett:
Sarah Palin earmark welfare queen
Halpern, go back to wasting taxpayers' money. You're just a troll.


LM:
This was a political gaffe by Obama, but not because it reveals anything about how he feels about Palin.
Oh, contraire! It reveals Obama's visceral hatred and loathing of Governor Sarah Palin, whose very existence reminds 0 that he's just an empty suit.
9.11.2008 12:52am
Mikal (mail):
"Last October, asked about Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care plan, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was blunt. McCain said Clinton's proposal was "eerily" similar to the ill-fated plan she devised in 1993. "I think they put some lipstick on a pig," he said, "but it's still a pig."A common expression, right?"


BAHAHAHAHAH.... Republicans are so afraid of losing that they're willing to pull out the gender card. Put a fork in 'em. They're done.
9.11.2008 1:07am