Lipstick on a Pig

Like many Americans, I was struck by the humor and grace of Palin’s joke about the difference between hockey moms and bulldogs being lipstick; I really did laugh out loud at that one, even titled my post-VP acceptance speech post “Lipstick on a Bulldog.” And now there’s a flurry of controversy about Obama making the following comment:

The biggest complaint is, of course, the connection to the Palin lipstick comment last week; people on the right are accusing Obama of sexism in making this comment, in the perceived implication that Palin is a pig (in lipstick) rather than a bulldog. Or maybe some kind of bulldog-pig hybrid?

Maybe I’m going soft in my old age, but I honestly don’t believe that Obama is sexist (racist, almost certainly, but sexist? likely not), and I don’t think that this comment was intended to smear Governor Palin. The poor man has been a stuttering, stammering mess since the RNC, and I think he was just flustered and called up an unfortunate but very trite cliche, a cliche that McCain himself has used and that anyone of a certain age in America has at least heard (if not used).

And yes, sure, Obama has been making some serious missteps of late (notably in engaging the VP candidate on the opposing ticket, a thing we just don’t do in presidential races, that’s why McCain needed his bulldog in lipstick in the first place, to take on Obama’s bulldog VP nominee), and he’s been very defensive in light of Palin’s remarks during her acceptance speech, but is he really so green as to make an intentional direct connection between her and a pig? When I put it like that, I kind of think so, actually: he’s been acting very green (in the new to the game, not in the environmental, sense) lately. But his inexperience is not the issue in this case; at least I don’t think so. I think, and the context of the comment affirms, that he was bashing McCain’s policies, linking them to President Bush’s. The president, if anyone, is the pig to Obama; the comment is about policy, so I’m thinking he’s talking about . . . um, policy and not people (or one person in particular). That’s not to say I don’t think he’s intelligent enough to incorporate that echo of Palin’s speech, I do think he is; I just don’t think that was his intent here.

Heck, I almost feel sorry him these days; watching him sink to the level of an interview with Bill O’Reilly (a thing he’d never have done if things were going well for him), watching him spin and twist in the wake of Palin’s acceptance of the VP spot on the republican ballot, watching him lower himself time and again as he compares her (frankly) superior experience to his own . . . maybe my defense of this comment is partly one of pity? Maybe. But at the end of the day, I just don’t think he’s stupid enough to intentionally call Sarah Palin a pig (in any round about way) and open himself up to the cries of sexism that have ensued, that almost anyone could have predicted would ensue–anyone who hasn’t been the media’s darling these past too many months, anyway.

7 thoughts on “Lipstick on a Pig

  1. i heard about this and sort of shook my head. i mean, isn’t this pretty typical of politicians? on either side? it reminded me of this:

    obviously this is going to have a particular slant, but i’m sure it has happened the other way around, too. it just seems to be what politicians do and have always done.

  2. Hey Kerry! I just love Jon Stewart and that vid was great! You’re right, both sides keep saying the other side is the one who “spins” and who is guilty of double standards, flip flopping, and hypocrisy, yet they both do and seem to be all those things. While this was slanted against the republicans (of course, it’s Jon!), you’re right in that someone else can find just as many clips that do the same thing to Obama (the against the now for the surge and the against the and now for the off-shore drilling, the against the war thing that doesn’t matter when he picks Biden, and on . . . .). Neither side is getting it right. And as an aside, I don’t have a problem with so-called flip flopping if the issue is something that further information (real information, not polls of what voters want them to say) can make one change one’s mind. Abortion, not an issue that can be flip flopped: you’re either pro-choice or not. But using corn for fuel (for instance) is something that I think more information has shown is just not realistic or viable; sounded like a good idea at the time, but it’s proven not to be cost efficient and, with crops not what they have been, not viable (people shouldn’t go hungry so I can drive my corn-fed car). Gah, I do go on and could write a whole post about “flip flopping”; hell, maybe I will do just that one of these days. Good points, Kerry, thanks πŸ™‚

  3. I don’t think he was referring to Palin as the pig . . I think she is supposed to be the lipstick on McCain who is the pig. Still a crappy comment to make because he knew everyone would misinterpret it as a comment towards her.

  4. Heyas Laurie, yes, I saw that explanation on some show, and I think that if we are fair (and why wouldn’t we be?), we must acknowledge that this is the direct application of the metaphor in its context. I just can’t get past the fact that he HAD to know that any lipstick and animal reference would resonate as it did, would sound like it was a comment on Palin; he just can’t be that naive, he can’t be. Not when he may well win the White House in a few weeks! Please don’t let him be that dumb.

    Lol, Kerry, me too! Heck I change my mind when I learn new “angles” on old ideas. Remind me not to run for president. Huggs!

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