10 September 2008

What's Wrong With Lipstick On A Pig?

Was it insensitive for Obama to use the phrase "You can put lipstick on a pig," when talking about the McCain campaign? Was it a subtle sexist smear on Palin? Was it OK since McCain had used the same phrase earlier in the campaign?

Yes, yes and no.

Sure, McCain used the phrase earlier but we are now in a new context. One of the most memorable lines of Palin's convention speech was her ad lib that the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull is "lipstick." The next day pundits talked about it, bloggers wrote about it, and caribou shook with fear. It drill baby drilled into our minds because of its wit and intended message after four days of assault from the media: you can attack Sarah Palin, but don't be fooled by the lipstick, she bites back.

Given the profound effect Palin's entrance and speech have had on turning this race around, it's little wonder that Obama and his team have attempted to deconstruct the entire convention address, so it was only a matter of time before they took a shot at the speech's most memorable moment. And based on the fact that Obama's "lipstick on a pig" line was met with "an outbreak of laughter, shouts and raucous applause," there is little doubt that his audience understood the Palin reference as well.

It was a clever shot by Obama and it was obvious that he was already prepared with his "I didn't mean Palin" response (note how fast McCain's use of the line surfaced) but that doesn't mean that there won't be a backlash. And it doesn't mean that Obama shouldn't apologize.


  1. Nikki said...

    Like Dennis Miller said today...he may not have meant it the way it sounded by Palin is sure in his melon! LMAO :)N

  2. Khaki Elephant said...

    That is high-larious (and true). I love Dennis Miller . . . but not in a "I want to have his baby" way.