Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 10, 2008
POLITICS: Not Good With Lipstick

You know, for a guy whose chief asset is his mouth, Obama sure has a way of stepping in things he really should know better than to step in, in this case the inevitable kerfuffle over whether the "lipstick on a pig" line is intended to refer to Sarah Palin. Ben Smith notes that "The crowd apparently took the 'lipstick' line as a reference to Palin, who described the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull in a single word: 'lipstick.'" To that extent, Ace's comparison to Obama appearing to give Hillary the middle finger in an appearance in the spring is on point - the crowd gets the thrill of seeing Obama be "tough" in a decidedly immature way by appearing to get rudely personal against his opponent, but Obama gets to angrily deny that he actually did what his supporters just assumed he was doing.

Was it actually deliberate, or just an unfortunate choice of words that people are taking the wrong way? Certainly the "lipstick on a pig" line is a common one that any number of candidates, McCain and Obama included, have used before. I don't see what in the "fish" reference is supposed to suggest that he was being deliberate. It's not like he was in the middle of a riff about Palin specifically at the time - he was talking about McCain. So it's possible he was just being stupid and not thinking through how some people would inevitably read the line. I don't rule out George Allen levels of stupidity at all.

Then again, Ben Smith notes that this is the very same day that Congressman Russ Carnahan, appearing on behalf of Obama, took a direct shot at Palin's record with the line "There's no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick," which would appear to suggest that you have a concerted effort to make this one of today's talking points.

Well, nobody ever said that Obama was a master of diplomacy, anyway.

UPDATE: Let me just put it this way, after thinking this through a little further. I'm frankly embarrassed to be arguing that Obama intended to call Palin a pig (although I think we can agree that if that was what he intended to do, it was damned ungentlemanly of him, to put it mildly). But really, if I was on the other side of this one, I'd be at least equally embarrassed that my candidate was that big a damn fool to go and say this, no matter what he meant, knowing full well the context - his own and his supporters' hypersensitivity on matters of race, his ugly history with Hillary, the blowback that's already gone down over attacks on Palin that were seen as sexist. I'd be throwing things at my TV screen. If we give Obama the benefit of the doubt here, he just comes off looking like that much bigger a fool.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:06 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (43) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

"lipstick"
The difference between George W. Bush and Sarah Palin.

Posted by: Berto at September 10, 2008 4:25 AM

Sorry Cranky, Bill O'Reilly, and the rest of the right-leaning Obama-defenders, He sure as hell did mean to insult Palin with the obvious allusion to her "lipstick on a pitbull" phrase, followed immediately by the "old fish that stinks after eight years" slam on McCain/Bush. And yes, he is that stupid, because he thinks he's so smart, and he's never had anyone tell him otherwise (see fawning uncritical media adulation for ordinary stump speeches). Obama repeatedly throws up juvenile, schoolyard taunts (calling Palin the mayor of "Wasilly"; implying Senator McCain suffers from Alzheimers), and critics from the left and right rush to defend him, saying he couldn't possibly mean them in the way in which everyone heard them and understood them, because he's "too smart" for that. Meanwhile, most of us not-so-smart, regular joes do take it that way, because we've all known snide, dickheads like Obama who think they're smarter and cleverer than anybody else, but who are, like Bill Maher, David Letterman, Keith Olbermann, P-Diddy and assorted other celebrity douchebags, really just flippant, insulting assholes. This jerk might have been a star at Harvard Law, but the more the average American sees his act and listens to his own words coming out of his mouth, the less they'll like it.

Posted by: joe at September 10, 2008 4:40 AM

Sorry Cranky, Bill O'Reilly, and the rest of the right-leaning Obama-defenders, He sure as hell did mean to insult Palin with the obvious allusion to her "lipstick on a pitbull" phrase, followed immediately by the "old fish that stinks after eight years" slam on McCain/Bush. And yes, he is that stupid, because he thinks he's so smart, and he's never had anyone tell him otherwise (see fawning uncritical media adulation for ordinary stump speeches). Obama repeatedly throws up juvenile, schoolyard taunts (calling Palin the mayor of "Wasilly"; implying Senator McCain suffers from Alzheimers), and critics from the left and right rush to defend him, saying he couldn't possibly mean them in the way in which everyone heard them and understood them, because he's "too smart" for that. Meanwhile, most of us not-so-smart, regular joes do take it that way, because we've all known snide, dickheads like Obama who think they're smarter and cleverer than anybody else, but who are, like Bill Maher, David Letterman, Keith Olbermann, P-Diddy and assorted other celebrity douchebags, really just flippant, insulting assholes. This jerk might have been a star at Harvard Law, but the more the average American sees his act and listens to his own words coming out of his mouth, the less they'll like it.

Posted by: joe at September 10, 2008 4:40 AM

Ok, I'm convinced now. Obama is clearly unfit to President.

Meanwhile, I find this line oddly ironic: Obama was a master of diplomacy, anyway.

I thought the GOPers made fun of him because unlike Johnny "War is My Middle Name" McCain, he wants to use diplomacy & not gunships to deal with Iran, Russia, and all the other meanies out to kill us.

Posted by: Mike at September 10, 2008 6:25 AM

These are not the kind of issues that independents and moderates care about.

Posted by: MVH at September 10, 2008 7:06 AM

Mike - Yes, and I want to throw 95 miles an hour. Wanting to do something and being able to are two different things.

MVH - Tell that to George Allen. Or Clayton Williams. Gaffes kill campaigns.

Posted by: Crank at September 10, 2008 8:30 AM

Unfit? Well, who knows. But that is nothing like the new McCain ad claiming that Obama was for sex ed for 5 year olds, claiming they should learn about sex before they could read (to the tune of cute baby music). Apparently the so called flap was about teaching 5 year olds to be wary of strangers.

So, is McCain/Palin for child molesters?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 10, 2008 8:38 AM

The lipstick on a pig line was scripted. It wasn't an offhand comment like "macaca". Obama and his campaign used "lipstick" repeatedly.

Without question the line was meant to hit at Palin. Did he mean it as specifically calling her a pig? Doesn't matter. If he and his staff wrote the line and didn't understand that people would take it that way, they are stupid.

Either he was stupid enough to mean to call her a pig or stupid enough to fail to understand that the scripted line would be taken that way.

Posted by: stan at September 10, 2008 9:08 AM

Oh, there's no question the line was deliberate and scripted, the question is whether he meant it to be taken the way the crowd obviously took it, or whether he was dense enough to not realize.

Posted by: Crank at September 10, 2008 9:13 AM

Your post is why Americans hate politics. Too much focus on trivia. Who the hell cares? But I bet this will dominate the right wing radio all day long. As the country burns.

Posted by: steve at September 10, 2008 9:21 AM

BTW, joe's comment has to be the first time I have ever been lumped with Bill O'Reilly on grounds of being insufficiently right-wing.

Posted by: Crank at September 10, 2008 9:27 AM

Please. It is good to see you are capable of embarassment, though even here you really can't sustain it.

The wing nuts can say anything they want, however disrespectful and dehumanizing because, the gospel according to Crank holds that sarcasm and mockery are great rhetorical tools.

Anyone who took the pig reference as one to Palin should stay out of the sun because they might get the vapors. Given the history of our country, including slavery, lynching, "back of the bus," whites only drinking fountins, etc., you better believe racism is a more senstive topic than genderism.

Here's another old saying you can get all in a tizzy about -- If Palin can't stand the heat, she should get OUT of the kitchen.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 10, 2008 9:56 AM

Magrooder,

Some look at our countries history and only see the negative (slavery, segregation, welfare destroying the family structure, interleague play, etc). Others look at our country's history and see the positives (Civil War to end slavery, winning WW I and II, industrial revolution, integration, Man on the Moon, etc).

As far as Palin and standing the heat, I haven't heard her complain. However, Obambi has repeated whined about any perceived mistreatment.

Posted by: largebill at September 10, 2008 10:39 AM

"Gaffes kill campaigns."

Not when they are that trivial, and this is another example of making a mountain out of a molehill. Are you really trying to equate this with Allen and Williams? It's one thing when a gaffe just leaps out at you and is really serious, but it's another when you have to debate whether or not it's a gaffe for half-an-hour.

Posted by: MVH at September 10, 2008 10:41 AM

Largebill,

Two points. I don't see only the bad parts of our history, but here they inform the differences between racism and sexism. Second, Palin hasn't complained because her handlers won't let her speak to the press.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 10, 2008 11:15 AM

Not that I am following this whole circus too closely but I believe one of McCain's go-to stumping phrases is exactly this one. Both sides have engaged in this sort of mocking of the other's phraseology. I don't see this as any different.

Posted by: jim at September 10, 2008 11:16 AM

I find this comment stupid, andit's a shame that he even said it or that the rpess will make a big deal about it. I do find it a bit amusing that he never has the guts to take anyone on, but he somehow is always in pitched battles with female politicians who are portrayed as tougher than him.

Two Questions

How much more does this infuriate middle aged, white female voters?

and

How fast would McCain/Palin be destroyed if they made a similar joking comment about Obama's mixed race ancestry?

Posted by: Son of brock landers at September 10, 2008 12:00 PM

What, it's disgusting when Obama does it but fine when McCain does it? When talking about Hillary Clinton?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMPYkNQlJMM

Pathetic faux outrage. It's a well known saying. Let's all move on now.

Posted by: cephyn at September 10, 2008 12:00 PM

I do think the McCain camp is deliberately overreacting to this comment. But it was still a rather dumb thing for Obama to say. I think the only net result is that another 48 hours will slide off the campaign schedule without anything of substance or lasting impact happening. With the current momentum of the campaign seemingly in McCain's favor, that probably benefits him.

Posted by: Jerry at September 10, 2008 1:03 PM

I'd be more inclined to give Obambi the benefit of the doubt if I didn't know that he needs cash and I didn't know that juvenile lefties (redundant?) really pony up for that kind of cheap shot.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 10, 2008 1:25 PM

great logic there spongeworthy. Obama has $65M cash on hand. McCain has $32M. I guess that means you expect McCain to be spewing some real BS just to raise cash, right?

Posted by: cephyn at September 10, 2008 1:38 PM

It's funny how makeup has been thrust into the focus of American politics. Obama's career has about as much as a rodeo clown, with decisions being the bull.

Posted by: Nate at September 10, 2008 1:48 PM

The election is all about the 10% in the middle -- those folks who don't pay much attention until after Labor Day. For independent voters in the mushy middle, Obama's pig comment was a really stupid thing to say.

It won't win him any votes and it will likely lose him some. Therefore, stupid.

Period.

Posted by: stan at September 10, 2008 1:48 PM

cephyn:

1. Source? I don't think those are end-of-August numbers, but I could be wrong.
2. McCain & Obama's COH has to include DNC & RNC cash, and the RNC is much more flush right now.
3. McCain is now locked in to public funding, so his job of raising money is largely done. Obama has to keep raising something like $100 million a month to keep up. He's pulling ads off the air in states outside the core battlegrounds left and right. Obama raised vast sums of money this year, but he has burned through it by the truckload, and he's been sending ever more frequent and frantic emails to his supporters begging for yet another five bucks.

I can't say in the end whether or not Obama will end up with more money to spend over the final 55 days than McCain, but it's pretty clear he still needs to work hard to keep the money coming, and McCain - who has suddenly started raising money from a fair number of donors who had been holding out on him until August 29 - doesn't.

Posted by: Crank at September 10, 2008 1:49 PM

America tortures it's enemies and spies on it's citizens. We're in the midst of potentially losing 2 wars (we'll save the "why does Navy admiral Mullen hate America" debate for another time). The country is in the midst of a financial crisis. American citizens' wages have stagnated. Unemployment is at a 7-year high. etc, etc, etc.
ALL of the above is trivial.

We MUST get to the bottom of this psuedo-scandal. Did Obama call Palin a pig? America's future depends on the answer to this MOST important question.

BTW, John Edwards is a 'Breck girl", John Kerry "looks French", and Hillary is "a bitch".

Jerry,
I'm sure this scandal--instead of substance--won't be pushed by the MSM (snark).
http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2008/08/26/tomo/

In a country with real journalists, Karl Rove would be a laughing stock. In the USA, he's considered a genius.

Posted by: Berto at September 10, 2008 1:51 PM

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.php
They're not August numbers since those aren't turned in until Sep 20th.

Clearly McCain had to take the public funding since he couldn't nearly pull in as much money from donors as Obama can.

Posted by: cephyn at September 10, 2008 2:08 PM

cephyn - I don't dispute that Obama has a marvelous money machine. But having access to a lot of capital and managing it well enough to have plenty left for the stretch run are two very different things. And I do see that that doesn't include the national parties.

There's nothing inconsistent in saying that (1) Obama's raised a ton of money from his base and (2) he's under great stress to continue raising a ton of money from his base. The question is whether the need to keep the spigots of money from the activist base open is in tension with the goal of appearing more mainstream and more presidential to appeal to undecided voters. The smart electoral play after yesterday's flap was to either shut up and move on or be conciliatory. The smart play for firing up the $5 donors was to come out angry and swinging at McCain. Obama this morning chose the latter.

Posted by: Crank at September 10, 2008 2:15 PM

Hah!

In a country with real journalists, Karl Rove would be a laughing stock. In the USA, he's considered a genius.

I guess being smart enough to beat the pants off of the Democrats time and again doesn't really warrant the title "genius" but it is pretty funny. So maybe Rove's a "comedic genius". I know I've been laughing.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 10, 2008 2:57 PM

...Anyone who took the pig reference as one to Palin should stay out of the sun because they might get the vapors. Given the history of our country...you better believe racism is a more senstive topic than genderism.


Palin is not the one offended. It's "open mouth, insert foot" Obama that's offended that "we don't get" his nuanced use of a trite phrase. Heard about the the NY gov? He's saying that "community organizer" is Republican for "black guy". Frankly, now I'm offended!

http://wcbstv.com/politics/paterson.mccain.palin.2.813646.html

Posted by: Phils57 at September 10, 2008 3:01 PM

I want the BS PC crap to stop. Everybody stop playing these BS games of gotcha. Either argue the real issues face to face like adults or go the HBO way.

Imagine an unrated, unscripted no-holds-barred debate moderated by Bill Maher with R rated language and each side having its full team at the ready to provide video clips, research and stats in real time.

It would be great theatre and way more informative than the crap we've been getting. Let McCain and Obama go toe to toe.

Let Biden and Palin duke it out. (If you were upset by the pig non-comment, just wait to see what old Joe will say when he gets going. If you weren't upset by the pig non-comment, don't act like it was an event.)

The reality is, both sides are scared. I know McCain proposed a series of town hall debates and Obama poo-pooed. Crappy move by the guy I intend to vote for. But neither side will answer a real question from here on in.

Oh yeah, quit complaining about George Allen. especially if you ain't from Virginia. If daddy had beaten the Dolphins, he'd be running for President now.


Posted by: Zufall at September 10, 2008 3:04 PM

Well, Zufall, that's a move we're all pretty familiar with. Now that you guys are beating yourselves at the game you want to quit playing.

And I don't think most conservatives are scared right now since we'd resigned ourselves to having either McCain or Obama and that's a no-win for conservatives. Speaking for myself, I just want to see Obama lose so that I can taste your salty tears and laugh and laugh.

Just because you guys lose doesn't mean I won anything.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 10, 2008 3:38 PM

Unless you're a multi-multi-millionaire or a CEO, you aren't winning anything when a Republican is elected either.

Posted by: Berto at September 10, 2008 3:59 PM

You mean the government won't be giving me somebody else's money, berto?

Damn. I was really counting on that.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 10, 2008 4:26 PM

It's simple: the Republicans seem to like spreading around red herrings each election cycle, issues that mean shit, but push the buttons of stupid people.

It used to be burning the flag and school prayer, things that didn't/don't mean squat when you look at the things that middle/lower class families need help with.

Last time it was Swift Boats, now it's blowing up this lipstick comment.

Obama is fond of saying, "I have more faith in the American voting public..." or "Americans are smarter than that..." when assuring that such sidebars won't become major factors of swaying votes. Really?

I know good and well that most Americans, at least the minority that vote, are, on the whole, pretty uneducated on the issues. These folks are quite ready, in my opinion, to vote for a candidate on a throwaway issue. If the public was as smart as Obama claims they are, this race would be a landslide for him, much like it should have been for Kerry.

The Republicans ability to distract the public AND make them vote against their best interests every 4 years is a knack of some kind; I'm just not sure who would brag about such cynical, and amoral, tactics. The Republicans, I guess to their credit, KNOW how dumb Americans are, that's why they try to focus on the fluff. It's worked in the past and will probably work again in November...

FIll

Posted by: Fill at September 10, 2008 4:54 PM

I'm going to call a spade a spade here and suggest that some of you are being too niggardly with your logic.

Posted by: Not the first Joe at September 10, 2008 5:53 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to1beCIyUdM#

There's the response. Make of it what you will.

Posted by: cephyn at September 10, 2008 6:35 PM

cephyn, it's a good response. Now wait and see how the Republicans harp on, say the Swift Boat comment, which is, what? 1% of his answer, and they will emphatically state how he was wrong on one syllable or something.

How dare Obama talk about issues like energy and education, the economy and ignored war veterans, when McCain and Palin talk real issues, like lipsticks on pigs, and maybe how McCain forgot he said it. Is that age, or just strategic bull?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 10, 2008 6:56 PM

You can see Obama get progressively grumpier as he goes. Not a good job of trying to pretend it was a jovial response. Frankly he should have either ignored it or issued some sort of apology - doing neither just keeps the story alive.

I did notice the "swift boat" line, Daryl. Just goes to show that Obama recognizes that the definition of "swift boating" is accurately quoting a Democratic politician's own words.

And here I thought the two issues in this campaign were "Hope" and "Change." Sometimes, when you spend months building a brand around vague slogans and shiny logos, it's hard to get people to focus on your issue positions.

I'm all for a debate about issues. You'll recall that McCain spent months pounding Obama on Iraq, energy and taxes. Obama responded with "McSame" and "McBush."

Posted by: Crank at September 10, 2008 7:18 PM

No, Spongeworthy. That wasn't what i meant (but kudos for playing the fool).
What I meant was the government is taking your money and giving it to someone else.
I know you've been told it's illegal immigrants, the homeless, and the poor (and after reading your posts, you probably believe it), but it's actually going to defense contractors, pharmaceutical companies, energy companies, and large corporate farmers like Monsanto.

You think it's cute playing the fool, but you really just look foolish being played by those in power.

Crank, McCain's own campaign manager says the election is about character (assassination?), not issues.

I could live with that if you would call Palin a liar. Her "telling Congress to stuff" the bridge to nowhere earmark is a lie.

Posted by: Berto at September 10, 2008 8:09 PM

Spongeworthy,

Isn't the election about finding the better man to lead the nation for the next 4 years?

You make it sound like a game.

A game you watch that you're not playing in, yet claim victory for when the team you root for wins.

Y'know, a dick.

Posted by: zufall at September 10, 2008 9:25 PM

You can't read for shit, can you? I said I win when you lose because it makes me laugh to see you cry.

But I don't win just because I have McCain to look at for 4 years.

Now, if you guys could be persuaded to actually cry for 4 whole years, that would be a bonus. Think it over!

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

Sponge,
You're delusional (hence the believing Conservatives are good for the citizens of this country), you've never seen me cry.

Posted by: Berto at September 11, 2008 12:34 PM

Berto, silly, it doesn't need to be the actual berto! I live in NYC, there's plenty of you guys around! You should have seen the bar I was in on election night when the networks reversed their call of Florida for Gore. Dead silence and I burst out laughing. I still have to grin when I think back on that moment. It was...sublime.

Any lefty crying over a political defeat is for me like spinach to Popeye.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 11, 2008 2:09 PM
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