Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick Smears

Yesterday afternoon, Barack Obama talked about the rhetoric of “change” both parties are touting for the November elections:

“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."

The McCain camp finds the comment offensive, taking “lipstick on a pig” to be a thinly veiled attack on Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin—?—perhaps because as a hard-shell Pentecostal she should not use cosmetics?

But maybe I miss the real point of offense. Perhaps McCain can, since he alone can judge his intent when, less than a year ago, he responded to a question about the healthcare plan proposed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, saying, “I think they put some lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.”

Republicans excel in inconsistency and phony controversy. It always amazes me how thin-skinned a bully can be. Perhaps inconsistency is what Republicans think of as change. Perhaps hypocrisy is what they think of as values.

When asked how she could be sure that Obama directed the comment against Palin, Republican Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift replied. “As far as I know, she's the only one of the presidential candidates or vice presidential candidates who wears lipstick. It seemed to me a very gendered comment. There's only one woman in the race. It's directly analogous to comments she has made.”

I guess she means the joke Governor Palin made at the Republican National Convention—“You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick.”

I loved it. I laughed out loud.

Perhaps Obama should become more tactful in his use of language. These days they prefer to be called pitbulls, not pigs. An apology is due.

If Obama won’t do it, maybe I can smooth over the situation with a little clarification:

Republicans’ calling Reagan-era economic policies and Rove-style politics “change” is no change at all. It’s like putting lipstick on the turd of a pig standing knee-deep in syphilitic splooge while you fart the Star-Spangled Banner eight to the bar.

It feels so much better when you find the right way to say things.

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