Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mean or Just Dumb?

When I first heard Barack Obama's latest quip about "lipstick on a pig", I was thinking the same thing that everyone else was thinking, but I dismissed it as media hype.

Obama's not that dumb, I thought. He would never intentionally use a phrase, so similar to Palin's, now famous quip about "Hockey moms" in her convention speech, replacing the ferocious and take no prisoners Pit bull with the filthy barnyard sow, right?

Then I remembered. This is a presidential campaign. Almost everything is scripted. The candidates give these same stump speeches over and over again. They know them by heart. Obama would never speak off the cuff in this manner by accident. He's proven himself to be a disciplined candidate who rarely gets off message. That's why he's done so well in this campaign, despite the fact that he has very little to offer in terms of policy specifics or experience.

If it had been a mistake Obama would have done the intelligent thing and apologized for offending anyone, saying that he simply meant the term as a figure of speech and not as a direct attack on Palin. Instead Obama attacked the news media, called the McCain campaign liars and referred to the story as a "made-up controversy."

Maybe he's right. Maybe we're making way too much of this. His cheering supporters certainly seemed to understand what he was talking about when he made the comment at a rally yesterday, but what do they know? Let's give Sen. Obama the benefit of the doubt here. Perhaps it was just a really bad choice of words. One more thing to add to the long list of bad choices that Obama has already made in his short political career.

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Jen G said...

Ummm... McCain used that exact same phrase when asked about Hillary's health care plans...

Jen G said...

Although, I thank you for acknowledging that Obama has been very disciplined. I commend both McCain and Obama for introducing campaign trail to a new idea: manners. You're right that Obama is cordial and stays on message, and McCain produced that gracious video of congratualtions on the day of his nomination. It made me very proud of both of them and their political camps that they were showing the public that even politicians have the ability to be polite. Which is why it surprised and disappointed me that Palin's first speech was so assaulting towards Obama. But, as you said, it's all scripted, so she and the campaign clearly had that tactic in mind. Back to the old political games, I guess.

Shannonymous said...

dan said...

Hey, you guys started this mess. As soon a Palin was announced, it was left-wing Obama supporters who began smearing Palin with unsupported lies and slanderous speculation. You started passing around unsourced articles to friends and family members and many of these smears somewhow found their way onto newspaper editorial pages.

Now you're outraged that we're not talking about the issues?

That's rich.

Shannonymous said...

PS- AGAIN: McCain used the phrase "put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig" before Obama did.

And as for us starting all this mess? see my comment on your "race card" post.

dan said...

Yeah but when mccain used the phrase, lipstick wasn't famously mentioned in a speech seen by millions of people. The circumstances changed as did the context.

Shannonymous said...

excuses excuses.

Jen G said...

That's so gracious of you to refer to "you guys" and lump every Obama supporter into one category of mud-slingers. Several of my fellow Obama supporters have tried to sling Palin mud at me and I tell them that I won't have it. Let's debate something real. I am not at all proud of supporters (of either candidate) who resort to bashing and name-calling in lieu of discussing actual issues. And let me remind you (again) that there is a difference between candidate-on-candidate bashing, and voter-on-candidate bashing. The candidates can't control the actions of their followers, but they can set an example. Again, Obama and McCain have both been fair fighters. Palin has not. Biden just hasn't been anything so far. Granted, these are not necaessarily indications of their abilty to hold office, but I do think it says something about their characters. Your mature comment that we "started it" leads me to believe that even YOU have no intention of changing this habit of candidate-bashing either. Why not take the high road and rise above the muck?
Also, as much as I hate to jump on the bandwagon of blaming the media, I felt so frustrated on behalf of the various guests on news shows last night when asked about the lipstick thing. ALL of the guests (Dems, Reps, and otherwise) said that it was an annoying talking point and that it is more important to talk about actual issues, but the news shows just wouldn't let it go. Grr.

dan said...

How exactly has Palin not been a "fair fighter"?

Anonymous said...

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
October 15, 2004
Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally
Deltaplex Entertainment & Expo Center
Grand Rapids, Michigan

THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right, what are you guys doing for the next 18 days? (Laughter and applause.) You saw John Kerry Wednesday night trying to back off that idea of a "global test." That notion fits with his whole career, but he doesn't want us to know about his whole career. He is trying to hide it, to cover it up by using a little tough talk during the course of this campaign. But you can't do that. It won't work. To use a phrase that we like in our home state of Wyoming, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. (Applause.)

dan said...

Uhgg! Look people. it's not the term "Lipstick on a Pig" that's offensive. In itself it's not.

But Sarah palin made a joke about lipstick in her convention speech. It was played repeatedly in the media. Everyone heard it. It's super famous now.

So while everyone is still talking about "lipstick" in reference to Palin's joke, Obama goes out and uses the phrase in what seems to be a reference to Palin. At least that's what his audience thought.

You can see why so many people are coming to the conclusion that Obama's choice of words was either incledibly insenstive or incredibly dumb.

Anonymous said...

Well, then I can see why some so-called Republicans (more appropriately labeled Neo-Republicans) found Obama's choice of words to be either "incledibly" insensitive or incredibly dumb- most of these losers who are ruining the Republican Party have adopted the 'Political Correctness' fanaticism of the Democratic party of yore. Do me a favor, if you're going to pose yourself as representing my party, don't be such a thin-skinned wuss and concentrate on real issues.

Shannonymous said...

How has Palin played fair when she uses her one son going to Iraq and the other having down syndrome to win voters, accuses Obama of being concerned about reading people their rights (HELLO! BASIC FUNDAMENTAL OF OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM) and saying she's being criticized just because she's a woman??

dan said...

Palin's quip about reading terrorists their rights hits at a larger point. That being, that Obama's history of proposed changes to our nation's intelligence gathering abilties, terrorist surveilence techniques and rights for enemy combatants is atrocious. His proposals would make us less safe at home and he supports a misguided Supreme Court decision on terrorist rights which has absolutley no precedent in American military history.

bartonb said...

I think the main problem with this whole "terrorists rights'" argument is the label "terrorist" itself.

If someone is an actual terrorist -a PROVEN terrorist, has blown up a mall or a coffee shop or has helped someone blow up a mall or a coffee shop or was caught with detailed plans on his harddrive and a suticase nuke in his closet, then yeah - go ahead and dump him in the ocean with a box of rocks chained to his neck.

But "suspected terrorists" are another case. Especially if those "suspected terrorists" are legal, U.S. citizens. If they're not citizens, it gets trickier. But still.
AND btw - "suspected terrorist" doesn't just have to mean someone brown in a turban with an indecipherable name. It could mean your kind university professor who has socialist sympathies. It could mean your friend whose mom used to be a member of the communist party back in the day. It could mean some loud-mouthed outspoken (but ultimately harmless) kid in Des Moines who blogs and blogs about how much he can't stand Republicans.

This whole battlfield is new, it's modern, the rules are changing, no doubt. Who knows how far this thing will go, how deep it will get? We've gotta check in from time to time and make sure we aren't comprimising the very things we claim to stand for.

People have indelible rights.
Our constitution is meant to insure those rights.
We have a standard of behavior to uphold, we're a damn powerful nation, we should at least want to consider maybe trying to make an effort to lead by example.

I know, I know, we're at war, the bad guys hate our freedoms, they blame their economic despondency on the West (which ends up meaning "America"), they think that land is "holy" and worth fighting over, they use religion to justify their atrocities, they're nuts. Some of them anyway. And I know, we should be a nation of Jack Bauers, we should do anything necessary to preserve freedom and protect our values, yada yada yada.

But we should be careful that in protecting American life, we don't abandon our American way of life.
If the cost to preserve the ideal of freedom ends up being ideal freedom... Seems somewhat ironic, no? I might even go so far as to say - "Then the terrorists will have won."

Adelita said...

So Palin can't use her soldier son and down syndrome baby to win votes but Obama can use his status as being half black?

Michael A. said...

Sorry Dan. This is too transparent. Obama can't use the word lipstick again because people MAY think she's talking about Palin? Bollocks! She was in a frickin' beauty pageant. There is being gender/race sensitive and then there is being over sensitive.

If Obama should apologize then McCain should apologize to Clinton in case people MAY think he called her a pig. In other words: neither man should apologize for using this phrase.

I'm tired of the exact same people who told Clinton to "deal" with playing with the boys telling everyone that Palin needs to be protected. She doesn't.

Obama needs to avoid the topic of Palin and focus on McCain. He's not running for veep.

Shannonymous said...

His status of being half black? That's not a status it's just a fact. It's not like he can go on stage without his SKIN. Palin on the other hand COULD go on stage just talking about herself and not her family, but she doesn't. In fact, that seems to be the only time when she really does care about them!

Shannonymous said...


knowitall said...

It may have been dismissed by the mainstream media illuminati, but I knew it was a hit at Palin. This guy makes those types of sly remarks, but it always gets a pass because he is this saint who would never hurt anyone. Yeah, yeah, yeah!