Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You know, it was a dumb thing to say

Obama used the idiom "you can't put lipstick on a pig" during a campaign stop. How did the partisan crowd interpret this?

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."
Can we call it a gaffe? Well, as Marc Ambinder correctly points out, it's a phrase Obama (and McCain) have used before and he probably meant no malice, but as a minimum there's some tone-deafness on Obama's part here.

Extra - Victor Davis Hanson wonders why Obama used two metaphors and the other one was an "old" fish. Was it just a fluke or did Obama say it just for the halibut?


Anonymous said...

“You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said as the crowd cheered. “It’s still a pig.”

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

Does anyone actually believe this wasn’t planned in advanced? It’s offensive and the point is to generate deniable outrage. The media are carrying his water big time.

Brian said...

I heard the actual quote and you can tell that he didn't use a teleprompter. I think the added benfit of emphasizing this quote is people hearing Obama mumble like a dope.

Anonymous said...

I'm a different 'anonymous' than the one who posted above, by the way.

Not sure but I think Senator Obama's comments hit women differently than many men. Men seemed to shrug, some women (like me) got steamed. Women (imo) understand the subtext of his message. There is no doubt in my mind it was deliberate and played up for his audience. Yes, the audience understood what he was saying and gave him a standing ovation. They interpreted what he said as an attack and they enjoyed it. I think it won't be Sen Obama who has the final laugh about this gaffe though. IMO he lost a lot of women voters today...

Anonymous said...

If you think Obama's comments were innocent, I suggest taking a look at these videos of him talking about Hillary Clinton after he got thrashed in one of the debates:



That should clear up any confusion about how juvenile Obama is. He is the worst kind of sexist - the passive-aggressive sexist.

Anonymous said...

Let's see... Pig metaphor, bad. Dog metaphor, good. Got it.

Anonymous said...

Footage of John McCain speaking colloquially about Hillary Clinton's proposal, and saying "I don't like to use this term, but..."


Anonymous said...

There are statements that are quite innocent when used against one opponant that have a different meaning when used against another.

One example: Bush talked about Reagan using "voodoo economics." Clever statement used against Reagan. But if McCain called Obama's tax plan "voodoo economics" it could be interpreted as a racial slur.

Other examples -- Obama's foreign policy is spooky.

-- Obama is an obfusticator. He never calls a spade a spade.

-- Obama is what happens when you send a boy to do a man's job.

All three are innocuous if used against a white male Democratic candidate (for instance -- John Edwards), but acquire a different, crude and racist tone when addressed to Obama.

Eirik said...

The dog joke was a self-depricating comment, you are generally allowed to do that. McCain has done it about his age. Obama has done it about... nothing I can recall.

But Obama is supposed to be an orator of unusual skill, a man that can take simple words and make them sing. I tend to think that it was a completely honest gaffe, the saying is so pervasive that it probably popped into his mind without a second thought and once said couldn't be unsaid. The problem is that Palin and the word "lipstick" are linked because of the joke at the convention.

So it boils down to two things, either he made an innocent, if damaging, gaffe, in which case he simply human and perhaps not as good a speaker as he's been made out to be, or he went into that appearance with the intention of using the line, which means that he's got a real petty, mean-spirited streak.

The other problem is that Democrats have used these kind of minor slips to completely sink Republicans (Lott, Allen...) that when it happens to them they get no sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Palin's pitbull comment wasn't "self-deprecating" in any way. It was the standard "as tough as any man" crap that female candidates have to pull.

The fact that Palin's joke could just as easily be spun as a negative "dog" reference is a commentary on the emptiness of such spin (i.e. "he called her a pig!"), and the commodification of fake outrage.

My memory must be a little fuzzy. Remind me about which Democratic President privately withdrew his support, spurring the Democrats to subsequently remove Trent Lott as Republican Leader?

Anonymous said...

Rightwing hatchet man Paul Begala, on CNN:
"I criticized Barack Obama when he hasn't been tough enough. Barack's job is to run against John McCain, right. Don't shoot the monkey when you can shoot for the organ grinder."

Wh-wh-what?!?! Did I just HEAR right? I'M OUTRAGED!!!

Anonymous said...

That's because you're such a moron, umble.

Nice example of how acceptable it is for CNN to identify Palin as a monkey & McCain as the organ grinder.

How fast would you wee head explode if Obama were called a monkey?

You stay classy, Begala.

Anonymous said...

If umble's a moron, what would that make someone who restates his exact point, and thinks they've found a weak spot in it?

Or those who still can't, or won't, wrap their heads around an old expression like "lipstick on a pig"?

Watching the conservatives acting out like bratty children because they see all their toys being taken away is great fun.