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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.

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55 Comments

  1. I just brought this up in Bruce’s thread, but some people seem not to know about it, so I’ll bring it up again. Obama has a history of making cutesy, I-didn’t-really-say-it-so-hah-hah, slurs against female candidates. Example reference:

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/02/is-obama-using.html

    February 16, 2008 11:30 AM

    Earlier this month, speaking at Tulane University, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said this about the attacks coming his way from Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY:

    “You challenge the status quo and suddenly the claws come out,” Obama said.

    The CLAWS come out? Really?

    Then yesterday Obama told reporters who had asked about Clinton’s latest attack ad, “I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.”

    That prompted some female TV reporters to question the language he was using…

    The second was obviously his cutesy, No-I-didn’t-really-say-it way of suggesting that Hillary must be on the rag, when she attacks him. His behavior is not only sexist and disgusting, it’s cowardly.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 10, 2008 @ 8:23 pm - September 10, 2008

  2. During a week in which Barack Obama unveils her education

    BREAKING! GAY PATRIOT WEST MAKES LIGHT OF TRANSGENDERS / WOMEN / MEN / AFRICAN AMERICANS / DEMOCRATS / HILLARY CLINTON / SARAH PALIN / MY MOTHER / HIS MOTHER / ALL MOTHERS BY REFERING TO BARACK OBAMA AS “HER!!”

    Damn, that’s easy.

    The abortion comment was silly, dumb and uncalled for. The sturm und drang behind seeing every last possible evil connotation of it, kitchen sinks, lip-stick and all the related comments, is just plain out stupid.

    Comment by Jody — September 10, 2008 @ 8:26 pm - September 10, 2008

  3. um, Jody, mistake already fixed.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — September 10, 2008 @ 8:32 pm - September 10, 2008

  4. …and, with it being conceded as a “mistake”: implied apology already given.

    Now let’s see Obama apologize for his comments. Not attack others for daring to notice them… Let’s at least see Obama admit his comments were, ah, “mistaken”.

    Well? (crickets)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 10, 2008 @ 8:37 pm - September 10, 2008

  5. um, Jody, mistake already fixed.

    BREAKING GAY PATRIOT WEST ATTEMPTS TO HIDE HIS INSULTS! WHAT IS HE HIDING?

    Dan, it’s that kind of politicking that’s going on: cheap, sensationalistic crappolla that’s going on. Obviously ridiculous in the comments on a blog, but salacious, cheap and headline grabbing when lobbed disingenuously by political campaigns. Buying into it just encourages it.

    Comment by Jody — September 10, 2008 @ 8:47 pm - September 10, 2008

  6. Jeez, Jody, grow the hell up.

    Comment by V the K — September 10, 2008 @ 8:57 pm - September 10, 2008

  7. Um, Jody, did you even read my post?

    My point is that Obama was bone-headed not to realize how much the media would make of this, especially in the context of George Allen and macaca? Did you take the Washington Post to task for its 100 stories on that gaffe?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — September 10, 2008 @ 9:01 pm - September 10, 2008

  8. Nothing annoys me more than the “Score-keeper” Lefty… you know , the kind who feel entitled to take revenge for every imagined hardshup or unpleasantness she had to face in life.

    Comment by Vince P — September 10, 2008 @ 9:01 pm - September 10, 2008

  9. michelle would cut barack off for a month if she thought he was sexist for a second.

    Comment by michael — September 10, 2008 @ 9:08 pm - September 10, 2008

  10. Nothing annoys me more than the “Score-keeper” Lefty… you know , the kind who feel entitled to take revenge for every imagined hardshup or unpleasantness she had to face in life.

    You mean like Michelle Obama?

    Comment by V the K — September 10, 2008 @ 9:18 pm - September 10, 2008

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

    I’ll settle just for some airing of Obama’s Ayers and Rezko corruption scandals, thank you.

    Barack H. Obama: THE single most un-examined, un-vetted Presidential candidate in my lifetime.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 10, 2008 @ 9:19 pm - September 10, 2008

  12. The WaPo ran the campaign against Allen, similarly, the drive-by media and tools like Jody are running defense for Comrade Obama.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 10, 2008 @ 9:29 pm - September 10, 2008

  13. suewee!!! if barack had been completely honest in refering to the mayor of alaska, it would have been: “a pig in a poke with lipstick.”

    Comment by michael — September 10, 2008 @ 9:43 pm - September 10, 2008

  14. GPW, the idiom doesn’t even come close to word macaca.

    Comment by michael — September 10, 2008 @ 9:48 pm - September 10, 2008

  15. The right-wing talking heads are up to their old tricks of distortion and distraction by playing the self-righteous victim over Barack Obama’s ‘lipstick on a pig’ reference to the McCain campaign’s claim to be change agents.

    As usual, the news media is all over this little manufactured spat. However, I have not heard anyone mention another way of looking at this thing. Could it be argued that the G.O.Pig represents a continuation of the past eight years of bankrupt policies, and Sarah Palin is the young attractive lipstick that has been applied to this pig to make it more appealing?

    QuestionItNow

    Comment by REB 84 — September 10, 2008 @ 10:02 pm - September 10, 2008

  16. Looks like the left is up to their old trick of insisting that we believe the implausible instead of the obvious.

    Comment by V the K — September 10, 2008 @ 10:16 pm - September 10, 2008

  17. It’s good to know Barack really does reflect his followers. If that’s the case there is no need for him to apoligize. What he said is what he meant to say.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 10, 2008 @ 10:18 pm - September 10, 2008

  18. michael is still upset because Sarah Palin and the GOP treat DS children with love and compassion, instead of eliminating them as wastes of resources, and a threat to the genetic purity of the Fatherland.

    Comment by V the K — September 10, 2008 @ 10:20 pm - September 10, 2008

  19. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/justin-mccarthy/2008/09/10/showbiz-tonight-trumps-hasselbeck-controversy
    Michelle Obama shows up with a list of questions and subjects that are off limits. And it is the Republicans that are avoiding the media?
    Barack and Michelle want to be asked “what’s your favorite color?” questions, no wonder they aren’t ready for primetime.
    A brilliant commentator once said conservatives, because of the media bias, for years have had to show up ready to rumble, with their facts and arguments in order. Liberals getting a media pass, show up after not doing their homework, not thinking thru their positions and figure to skate thru interviews with a sympathic media. When pushed they crumble. Conservatives are battle hardened. Liberals are soft and cry easily.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 10, 2008 @ 10:36 pm - September 10, 2008

  20. Did you take the Washington Post to task for its 100 stories on that gaffe?

    I actually thought that was a bunch of hooey too — and precisely the kind of ridiculousness I’ve been talking about.

    Comment by Jody — September 10, 2008 @ 10:41 pm - September 10, 2008

  21. The right-wing talking heads are up to their old tricks of distortion and distraction by playing the self-righteous victim

    Brought to you by the same folks who had a pissy canniption fit when the SWIFT Vets had the audacity to tell the truth about the last ONE.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 10, 2008 @ 10:56 pm - September 10, 2008

  22. I just think he is being pressured to start attacking which is not something Obama does well, he is not good at attacking and it has been something he has campaigned against. Democrats are starting to worry, and they should, because this is not going to be the election they had planned for all year. Obama may or may not be cut out for a hard, drawn out brawl; he has not worn well so far. I still think Obama will win in the end because of how much is going for the Dems still, and I last one I supported this year also lost…so my track record is not good this election.

    Comment by Darkeyedresolve — September 10, 2008 @ 11:23 pm - September 10, 2008

  23. Obama is having his first-ever campaign against a credible ideological opponent. His first opponent where it’s true BOTH that (1) his opponent deeply objects to Obama’s ideology and has sharp things to say about it; AND (2) his opponent is effective and could win.

    Obama is not used to this kind of battle. And he’s already tired.

    (For those working it out in their heads: Hillary only met condition 2; Alan Keyes only met condition 1.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 11, 2008 @ 1:07 am - September 11, 2008

  24. A liberal ‘gets’ Palin’s appeal. RTWT.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 11, 2008 @ 1:12 am - September 11, 2008

  25. 1. Its patently obvious that Obama’s supporters took it as an insult to Palin from their reaction, and clear from Obama’s pause to relish the laughter that he knew they thought he was insulting Palin.

    2. Republicans responded to this wrong. Obama is a dirty Chicago politician. there are many forms of dirty politics from simple name calling to lies to corrupt dealings with judges to get your opponents divorce recods unsealed and made public. Obama utilizes the entire dirty spectrum. This is the message Republicans need to pound home, that it is just another example of his dirty politics, not that its sexist or misogynistic.

    3. With the enormous amount of projecting Obama does — from accusing his opponents of lying and corruption, to claiming others have bad judgment or are unqualified, it is only a matter of time until someone uses the phrase, “the pot calling the kettle black” and the media will try to destroy that unfortunate persons career.

    4. Did everyone see/hear Biden telling the guy in teh wheelchair to stand up and take a bow? Remember the liberal outrage when they thought President Bush was waving to Ray Charles?

    5.

    Liberals getting a media pass, show up after not doing their homework, not thinking thru their positions

    Comment by American Elephant — September 11, 2008 @ 6:09 am - September 11, 2008

  26. Has anybody looked into this Public Allies group Obama fancies? It’s my understanding this will be the Obama Youth.

    Sieg Heil, baby.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 11, 2008 @ 7:10 am - September 11, 2008

  27. #18: trisomies whether 21 or 18 or 12 etc., etc., are easily preventable births. listening to you, you’d wished it upon another human. what a kind guy you be.

    Comment by michael — September 11, 2008 @ 7:14 am - September 11, 2008

  28. Obama supporters ready the next Palin smear: Track Palin joined the military to avoid jail.

    Not only is the story completely false, they manage to smear Palin, her son, and Americans soldiers in one fell swoop. It’s a nutroots trifecta.

    Comment by V the K — September 11, 2008 @ 8:02 am - September 11, 2008

  29. Geraghty takes us on a walk down Obama’s Sexist Memory Lane.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 11, 2008 @ 9:42 am - September 11, 2008

  30. This post is ridiculous. Obama did not make a “gaffe.” He made an innocent remark which the McCain campaign cynically distorted in an attempt to mislead people who had not heard Obama’s full comments. The idea that this episode reflects negatively on Obama’s fitness to be President gets it ass-backwards. Obama is to be blamed for failing to predict that McCain would pluck a single sentence, one which both candidates had used without incident many times before, from his remarks and shamelessly mischaracterize it? Give me a break.

    I am not a goody two-shoes when it comes to political campaigns and I understand that there may be tactical value in lying about your opponent, but for the sake of your own sanity–by which I mean a comfortable relationship with reality–you need to be able to recognize and acknowledge when that is what’s being done.

    The comparison to George Allen’s “macaca” comment is even more ridiculous. George Allen pointed to an Indian American person and said: “This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He’s with my opponent… Let’s give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” The term “Macaca” is “a pejorative epithet used by francophone colonialists in Central Africa’s Belgian Congo for the native population” and probably derives from the name for macaque monkeys. It was a plainly racist slur directed at dark-skinned person at whom Allen was pointing when he said it. Barack Obama, on the other hand, used an utterly innocuous colloquialism to describe John McCain’s policies, and the McCain campaign pounced with the simply false allegation that he called Sarah Palin a pig.

    You want McCain to win. I get it. I like him, too. I’m not going to vote for him this time, but I did vote for him seven years ago in Michigan. But the fact that you want McCain to win that doesn’t mean you have to defend every stupid or contemptible thing he does. This one is not defensible.

    The most nauseating thing about this whole affair, especially in light of Obama’s reasonable and measured response yesterday, is how it demonstrates what a farce, what a big fat lie, is the whole attempt to smear Obama as an elitist. McCain aims a pitch straight at the presumed stupidity and credulity of his audience; Obama responds with an appeal to their intelligence and discernment. But Obama’s the elitist.

    Like McCain. Love McCain. Vote for McCain. Just don’t be a fool for McCain.

    Comment by Jim — September 11, 2008 @ 11:41 am - September 11, 2008

  31. Jim – A better man (usually) than I, said it better than me:

    Once again, the Obamunists are asking [everyone] to believe the implausible… Obama was not insulting Palin… over the obvious… he was insulting Palin. For reasons that have been exhaustively covered:

    1. Obama has a history of pulling this crap (Giving the finger to Hillary, than pretending it was an innocuous gesture).

    2. The crowd cheered the remark with laughter uncharacteristically enthusiastic for such a lame overused metaphor, and Obama basked in it.

    3. There were other metaphors he could have used “old wine in new bottles,” “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” that would not have been obvious insults to a woman whose line about wearing lipstick was one of her most memorable.

    4. It’s in line with the pattern of smears and attacks Obama supporters have been making non-stop since Palin was nominated.

    Like I said, to buy Obama’s explanation, you have to choose the implausible over the obvious. Either that, or Obama is simply too dumb to be president by the virtue of making a remark so easily misconstrued.

    Obama knew people like you would defend him, Jim. Obama also clearly pauses, on the video, for his audience to take in his insult against Palin – and they do.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 11, 2008 @ 11:57 am - September 11, 2008

  32. What a load of crap, ILC. I am *never* a better man than you.

    And don’t you forget it!

    BTW, Boston talk show host Michael Graham is collecting lipsticks from female listeners to send to the Obama campaign. He’s up to 400 or so. One Hillary supporter drove from Rhode Island to add hers to the pile.

    Comment by V the K — September 11, 2008 @ 12:05 pm - September 11, 2008

  33. BTW, if McCain had been talking about Obama’s policies and used the old, neutral, innocent expression, “to call a spade a spade,” do you think anyone on the left would give him a pass?

    I mean, it’s just an innocent expression… right?

    Comment by V the K — September 11, 2008 @ 12:12 pm - September 11, 2008

  34. Just to bring some reality back into this, after Jim’s comment… Here is the video again:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/09/obama-on-mccainpalin-you-can-put-lipstick-on-a-pig-but-its-still-a-pig/

    Obama is talking about McCain-Palin. That is: He is talking about Palin. Nominally, he is talking about her policies. That gives him the ‘deniability’ he needs, that people like Jim have apparently bought. But he pauses just so his audience of Democratic bigots will remember Palin’s bulldog-lipstick joke, and make the connection. And they do.

    Har, har, har, isn’t Obama cute, the way he is able to couch his sexist and misogynistic slurs as ‘Oh-but-I-didn’t-really-say-it’? (/sarc)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 11, 2008 @ 12:20 pm - September 11, 2008

  35. Well V, will you at least take ‘funnier’? 😉

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 11, 2008 @ 12:24 pm - September 11, 2008

  36. We should also remember that Obama’s audience is made up primarily of people like this.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 11, 2008 @ 12:41 pm - September 11, 2008

  37. BTW Jim, nobody HAS to smear Comrade Obama as an elitist. He does it very well on his own.

    I think one should be able to say that Palin makes Obama and his followers sweat like a slave. That’s totally innocent.

    Thanks for pointing out how the Obamunists are in full-throated panic mode.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 11, 2008 @ 1:06 pm - September 11, 2008

  38. NDT, Donger isn’t the only WaPo-Newsweek religion blogger in the tank for Obama bin Biden.

    ILC, let’s just say I’m definitely more Mormon than you, at least for now, anyway. Anything else is up for debate.

    Comment by V the K — September 11, 2008 @ 1:18 pm - September 11, 2008

  39. Like McCain. Love McCain. Vote for McCain. Just don’t be a fool for McCain.

    Comment by Jim — September 11, 2008 @ 11:41 am – September 11, 2008

    well said.

    Comment by michael — September 11, 2008 @ 2:12 pm - September 11, 2008

  40. The smears continue. Unnamed sources in the National Enquirer… a source that the left found not worthy of mention when it discovered John Edwards cheating on his cancer-stricken wife.

    Comment by V the K — September 11, 2008 @ 2:27 pm - September 11, 2008

  41. The only fools are the Comrade Obama excusers.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 11, 2008 @ 3:03 pm - September 11, 2008

  42. What’s more, WND reports that Comrade Obama’s comments were lifted from a WaPo cartoon. More plaigerism.

    Who, again, is the fool?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 11, 2008 @ 3:06 pm - September 11, 2008

  43. Well, this should end it (although I know it won’t):

    [Obama, appearing on Letterman:] “I meant it this way she would be the lipstick,” Obama said. “The policies of John McCain would be the pig.”

    I’ll translate for the slow kids. **BY OBAMA’S OWN ACCOUNT, OBAMA INTENDED A SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO PALIN**.

    You and he can still argue, Well, he never meant to call her a pig. OK, fine. But let there be no doubt that Obama did intend some reference to Palin. By his own account. Now watch the video again, with that in mind. Watch the crowd’s gasps of laughter, as they pick up on it. Obama is (now) offering a lame explanation that concedes the essential point: He wasn’t just using some common idiom. He meant Palin. Case closed.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 11, 2008 @ 5:13 pm - September 11, 2008

  44. “I meant it this way she would be the lipstick,”

    So, in addition to calling Sarah Palin a barnyard animal, a bad mother, a hick mayor from a small town… Obama is now saying she’s a fashion accessory.

    Yeah, he totally respects women…

    Comment by V the K — September 11, 2008 @ 5:21 pm - September 11, 2008

  45. #29 So Jim the millions of American women who were offended by Obamas snarkey comments about Hillary and now Sarah are what….dumb and stupid or faking it??

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 11, 2008 @ 5:34 pm - September 11, 2008

  46. The New Republic has its panties in a wad because, apparently, Track Palin was a hell of a hockey player. I guess the latte-sipping metrosexuals at TNR never heard of fighting at a hockey game.

    Comment by V the K — September 11, 2008 @ 8:42 pm - September 11, 2008

  47. dumb and stupid or faking it??

    Of course. If you’re not in the elite limousine liberal cocktail party circuit or don’t have a Comrade Obama blow-up doll, you’re dumb and stupid.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 11, 2008 @ 9:40 pm - September 11, 2008

  48. I know we are almost 57 days out from the real vote, but the turnaround in these polls is stunning.
    latest Michigan MAC PALIN +1,
    Pennsylvania Obama only +2,
    Florida solid MAC PALIN.
    Virginia Mac Palin +6
    New Mexico Mac Palin +2
    New Jersey Obama only +6. I mean come on, this is unreal.
    Michigan, NM, Pennsylvania were Kerry states!

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 11, 2008 @ 10:17 pm - September 11, 2008

  49. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6c2f69ce-8031-11dd-99a9-000077b07658.html
    The nutts in the Democrat Congress may start to distance themselves from the messiah. Grumbling about his outta control campaign.
    And yesterday it was Matt Damon showing Sarah no respect, now
    Pam Anderson says……”I can’t stand her, she can suck it!”
    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24333997-5006003,00.html
    Do these people really think they are helping Obama?
    Thanks to Drudge.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 11, 2008 @ 10:32 pm - September 11, 2008

  50. I can’t stand her, she can suck it!

    She already did and has the hepatitis to show for it.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 11, 2008 @ 11:51 pm - September 11, 2008

  51. Hey, if you guys want to check out the astrological breakdown between Obama and Palin, go to http://www.robertphoenix.com

    Comment by dominmatrix — September 12, 2008 @ 12:40 am - September 12, 2008

  52. Why in Hell would I want to do that?

    Comment by V the K — September 12, 2008 @ 10:20 am - September 12, 2008

  53. […] Of Lipstick, Macacas & the Media […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Washington Post: Print Version of MSNBC? — September 12, 2008 @ 10:50 am - September 12, 2008

  54. […] a similar vein, while some might find the McCain’s recent web commercial on the lipstick hullabaloo humorous, it was entirely inappropriate.  The campaign shouldn’t touch such issues, letting […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » John McCain’s A-minus Campaign — September 12, 2008 @ 6:10 pm - September 12, 2008

  55. I know we are almost 57 days out from the real vote, but the turnaround in these polls is stunning.
    latest Michigan MAC PALIN +1,
    Pennsylvania Obama only +2,
    Florida solid MAC PALIN.
    Virginia Mac Palin +6
    New Mexico Mac Palin +2
    New Jersey Obama only +6. I mean come on, this is unreal.
    Michigan, NM, Pennsylvania were Kerry states!

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 11, 2008
    info is about two weeks old. in two weeks it is back to four weeks ago. wanna bet??? einstein.

    Comment by michael — September 13, 2008 @ 9:38 pm - September 13, 2008

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