What Kind of Animal Wears Lipstick?!
I have to admit that I laughed hard when Republicans started squealing about the recent Obama quote. Barack was talking about McCain's newfound commitment to "change" and said:
"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 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."
That seems fairly straightforward to me. It's merely a continuation of his recent insistence that words matter. You can't just make stuff up. If your policies are simply a continuation of the last eight years (like the McCain/Palin ticket is), then it seems especially disingenuous to claim to stand for "change".
But the humorous thing is that conservative pundits throughout the nation immediately interpreted it as a knock against Palin. They knew in their hearts that Palin is indeed the Pork Barrel Queen, and so they naturally made that association. Who else could Obama have been referring to? Then they stepped back and started feeling guilty about their own train of thought. See... when extremist conservatives have a naughty idea that they feel guilty about, they try to project it on to someone else so that they can vilify him/her, while at the same time displacing the sinful thoughts. In that manner, they effectively repress the self-perceived "icky" parts of themselves. It's an all-too-human reaction.
Obviously they missed the boat, and now they look shrill and foolish with their strident claims that Obama's comments were "sexist". In a way, I guess it underscores just how well the GOP has disguised its true mission. Obviously they intend to continue the divisive strategies and business-as-usual politics that the Bush administration has been pimping for eight years. Yet they have finally found a way to see themselves as "victims"- something that they have been bitching about regarding the Democrats for decades. Apparently that's the bottom line for the Right Wing. Now that they have discovered their collective "inner feminist", they are appropriating for themselves the very role they have forced on women all these years.
Anyway, the McCain campaign shouldn't have whined in public about Obama's analogy. They should have just steamed about it in private, and came up with some witty retort. Because when McCain called for an apology, he exposed his immense facility for hypocrisy. He used the very same comparison to sum up his feelings about Hillary Clinton's plan for health reform. The intriguing thing is that the Clinton people didn't bite. Nor did they stumble into the trap of implicating their own help-mate. They went on with their tactics of trying to promote policy positions. Unfortunately for McCain/Palin, they can't do that. People don't want to hear that their candidate is simply recycling the Bush playbook.
Obama comes out looking pretty good after the onslaught of outbursts emanating from the school-marmish Republicans. The Right looks even more defensive and melodramatic than usual. And Obama's supporters should be overjoyed. Their man demonstrated both the depth of his wit, and his willingness to engage in the street-fighter style he's proclaimed to possess. Personally I prefer to assume that Obama meant exactly what the Republicans accused him of. Maybe he was just "calling a pig a pig". What's so wrong with that? Even according to the "Conservative" version of reality- he wasn't making a general characterization of women*, but rather summing up Sarah Palin as a politician. Is it really any more offensive than calling her a dog?
*... or being disrespectful of an entire profession merely to get a cheap laugh.