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Of Lipstick, Macacas & the Media

Even giving Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume he had not meant to compare Sarah Palin to a pig when he made his lipstick comment yesterday, given the current media environment, it was a pretty bone-headed thing to say.

He should have known, particularly following former Senator George Allen’s (R-VA) use of the word “macaca” to refer to a left-wing activist covering his campaign, that a media firestorm would ensue should he make such a gaffe.  Or for that matter, if he had said anything which could be construed as insulting his opponents — or critics.  Not just that, he had to be aware of the numerous stories suggesting that sexism helped him defeat Hillary Clinton in the contest for the Democratic nomination.

Yes, we’re aware that “putting lipstick on a pig” is a common expression.  But, we also know Sarah Palin used the word, “lipstick,” as the punch line in the most memorable joke of the Republican National Convention.  Democrats should thus tread carefully when using that expression.  They should have anticipated the firestorm which has followed.  The story currently leads as the “Most Viewed” on the CBSNews web-page.

During a week in which Barack Obama unveils his education policy and with reports of continued success of the Administration policy in Iraq, there are other stories more newsworthy.  Far more newsworthy.  And Barack Obama’s verbal gaffes are considerably less important than his misrepresentations of his relationships to an unapologetic terrorist.

But, is the man once deemed as the voice of a new generation, promoted as being well-keyed into all the new communication technologies, so clueless about the way the media works today that he couldn’t foresee people would assume he was calling the Alaska Governor a pig when he used that common metaphor?

Such absence of foresight is disturbing in a presidential candidate.  And a potential leader of the free world.

AFTERTHOUGHT:  Do you think the Washington Post will run 100 stories on Obama’s latest gaffe?

POST-AFTERTHOUGHT: Nah, they’ll try to bury this story, heck they try to bury the story of a huge McCain rally in Northern Virginia by devoting more paragraphs to the pro-Obama protesters than to the rally itself.

SC Dem Chair: Palin’s Only Qualification — No Abortion

***UPDATE 11PM EASTERN**   SC Dem Chair apologizes, US Rep. Spratt slams his State Party Chair.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler, facing criticism for her remark to Politico’s Alex Burns about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, issues an apology:

“I personally admire and respect the difficult choices that women make everyday, and I apologize to anyone who finds my comment offensive. I clumsily was making a point about people in South Carolina who may vote based on a single issue. Whether it’s the environment, the economy, the war or a woman’s right to choose, there are people who will cast their vote based on a single issue. That was the only point I was attempting to make.”

Also tonight, Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) put out a statement to say: “I cannot believe that Carol Fowler made such a statement, and I want to make it clear that she speaks for herself, and not for me or the Democratic Party.”

More Spratt: “Her statement about Governor Palin is outrageous and wrong, because Sarah Palin’s qualifications are quite evident.”

[GP Ed. Note:  Could the Obama Democrats’ mental breakdown be more evident to even the most comatose person at this point?]


In a continuing pattern on the Democratic side of demeaning women during this Presidential campaign, the Obama surrogates went into full meltdown today with this doozy:

South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler sharply attacked Sarah Palin today, saying John McCain had chosen a running mate “whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

In response to this shameless and vile personal attack, the McCain campaign held a conference call at 4:45PM Eastern today with US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).  I was one of the bloggers invited to the call and was happy to listen-in.

My notes from the call are in my car while a torrential thunderstorm has struck my neighborhood.  So I’ll add specific comments and quotes in a bit.

Quotes from the conference call are below the main post (Click on the “more” link)…

Obama himself has a serious pattern of anti-female comments throughout his campaign.   He called a female reporter “sweetie”; he said Hillary would throw the “kitchen sink” against him; and just yesterday he likened Governor Palin to a pig with lipstick, rather than a pitbull with lipstick (her original joke).

What IS Obama’s problem with strong women?  Sarah Palin has clearly gotten under his skin.

This abortion comment by Carol Fowler is one of the most disturbing, personal, demeaning and troubling for the Obama campaign.  Women were already moving in McCain’s direction and this could increase the speed at which Obama loses independent American women.  I finally agree with Sen. Lindsey Graham on something — Obama should call on Fowler to apologize to Palin and, frankly, to all women around the USA.

For now, let me say that as a gay Republican who has been repeatedly attacked by leftists as “self-loathing” — I would have to humbly observe that any woman who votes for Obama (after his growing track record of anti-women behavior and comments) would have to question her inner self seriously before pulling that lever.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)


Obama looking Tired, McCain Energized

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:58 pm - September 10, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

Given that at least one of three television monitors in front of the cardio machines at my gym is usually turned to a news channel at any given times, my workouts have become a great window into the presidential election campaign. At present, I get the better part of my news from the web, so seeing TV coverage offers me a different perspective.

Not just that. If I watch the news at home, I usually watch FoxNews. At the gym (it’s in Hollywood), they usually show MSNBC and CNN. And yesterday on CNN, they showed clips of John McCain and Barack Obama at their various campaign rallies. What struck me was that in the images they selected Obama, the younger of the two, looked tired, despondent, McCain the older, looked awake and energized.

(Reminded me in some ways of the contrast between Gorbachev and Reagan at their first summit in 1985.  The older man seemed the more youthful of the two.)

I’m not the only one to notice. Over at Townhall, Matt Lewis contends that “Obama’s recent series of bad decisions and costly gaffes is largely due to fatigue.” Writing about the lipstick comment Jennifer Rubin agrees, “Obama appears to be crumbling under pressure, reduced to swinging away at the person who has supplanted him as the political star of the Election.

It seems the Democrats were caught off-guard by McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate and how well she has been received by the American people while being savaged in the media. If Obama crumbles so easily in the face of an unforeseen political setback, how will he hold up when facing an unexpected foreign policy crisis should he win election this fall?

UPDATE:  Mark Hemingway agrees with me about McCain:

Far from being outshone, McCain is really, really enjoying the energy Palin has brought in. When he mentioned her in his remarks and the crowd just started chanting “Sarah! Sarah!” he just began beeming and he began waving his arms like he was conducting to the crowd. Last time I saw McCain this close and personal was in January when I was on the Straight Talk Express just before the Michigan primary (which he lost). He was still feisty then, but also obviously weary. Today he looked born anew.

If Hillary had won the Democratic Nomination . . .

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:44 pm - September 10, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Random Thoughts

. . . would her bumper stickers have still read, “Hillary”?

And then how would she do the stickers, signs, posters, T-shirts, etc., once she had tapped a running mate? Would she use her first name and his last? Or both first names?

I don’t think we’ve ever had a major party presidential nominee campaign using his (or her) first name.

Just wonderin’.

Obama’a Unanswered Questions (and Misleading Answers) on Bill Ayers

On August 27, the Obama campaign sent out a series of talking points to supporters, urging them to call in to the Mitt Rosenberg show on Chicago’s WGN network to challenge his guest, National Review investigative journalist Stanley Kurtz. Kurtz has been “probing Obama’s relationships with left-wing ideologues.”

At the time of the show, Kurtz had just been granted access to archives of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Bill Ayers co-founded that education reform group in 1995. Barack Obama chaired it from 1995-99.

A quarter century before co-founding this Challenge, Ayers co-founded another group, the Weather Underground, a left-wing terrorist organization. Age has not mellowed this angry leftist:

he is not apologetic about his terrorist past (and had the bad luck to be quoted as saying, in an interview that ran on Sept 11 2001, that “I don’t regret setting bombs. … I feel we didn’t do enough.”)

When asked about his associations with this unhappy man at the Pennsylvania Democratic debte on April 16, the then-Democratic frontrunner (and current Democratic nominee) brushed off the question:

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

I guess the truth of this comment depends on what the definition of is is. Obama may no longer exchange ideas with Bill Ayers on a regular basis, but it’s pretty clear he did so as recently as the late 1990s when they served on the Annenberg Challenge together.

This is not to engage in guilt by association, not to suggest that Obama is responsible for the heinous actions of Ayers and his organization, but to wonder at why the Democratic presidential “mischaracterized” their relationship.

Senator, you’ve got some explaining to do.

UPDATE:  And the media’s got some questions to ask.  They’ve collectively shown more interest in allegations about Sarah Palin’s supposedly faked pregnancy than in Obama’s actual associations.  As Diane West writes:

I say this having mentally stacked the questions the media have already asked Mrs. Palin in two days of intrusive and pointless questions against the glaringly obvious questions the media have never asked Mr. Obama in two years. Mr. Schmidt noted that “the media is asking more questions about Palin’s pregnant daughter” than about Tony Rezko, the Chicago fixer and Obama patron who was recently convicted on corruption charges. But that’s just the first item on a long list of passes the media have given Mr. Obama — passes on vital matters of character, judgment and political belief.

These range from the media’s protective hesitation on his long-term relationship with former Weather Underground leader William Ayers, to their near-total absence of interest in his recent campaign choice for Muslim outreach, a young man with affiliations to not one, but four organizations with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Alaskans on Obama’s “Lipstick on Pig” Comment:
“Just plain rude”

On the phone earlier with a gay Alaskan from the Kenai Pennisula, I learned how people in the Last Frontier reacted to Barack Obama’s comment about Republicans adopting the mantle of change:  “You can put lipstick on a pig,” the Illinois Senator said, “It’s still a pig.”

Some thought he was smearing Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin who ad libbed at the Republican National Convention “What’s the difference between a hockey Mom and a pit bill?  Lipstick.

While there is some controversy as to whether the Democratic nominee meant to refer to Palin, Alaskans were convinced that he meant to insult their popular governor.  This is not playing well in a place where people call her by her first name.

At a local watering hole, learning about this on TV, my correspondent, along with other locals, including many Democrats, thought the comment was “just plain rude” and “rather low class.”

UPDATE:  I hadn’t intended to blog on this, not seeing it as much of an issue until I was interviewing the gay Alaskan mentioned above for another piece I’m writing.  Without prompting from me, he mentioned that Alaskans of all political stripes were upset about the comment.  It appears to be more newsworthy than I initially thought.

As to my advice, I’ll just echo what Jonah Goldberg said on the Corner:

Palin shouldn’t complain or ask for an apology about the pig thing. She should blow it off, or make a joke about Obama losing his cool.