Tone-deaf Obama

How could Barack Obama be so tone-deaf as to talk about “lipstick on a pig,” given all the lipstick references surrounding Sarah Palin?

The McCain campaign, naturally and shamelessly, is claiming that Obama called Palin a pig, which he didn’t. But, really, Obama is almost inviting the Republicans to misinterpret him. (Via Mickey Kaus.)

Now if Obama wants to call Palin a cheap, grasping hack, that would be entirely accurate.

13 thoughts on “Tone-deaf Obama

  1. Steve

    John McCain used the very same phrase just last year in talking about Hillary Clinton: McCain criticized Democratic contenders for offering what he called costly universal health care proposals that require too much government regulation. While he said he had not studied Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s health-care plan, he said it was “eerily reminiscent” of the failed plan she offered as first lady in the early 1990s. “I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” he said of her proposal.

  2. Mark

    This on the same day that Governor Patterson is claiming that making fun of community organizers is an affront to African-Americans because saying community organizer is another way of saying back.You may not like where this is going, I certainly don’t… But let’s not pretend only one side is playing.It’s entirely the media’s fault. They have lost control and will print any dustup no matter how trivial.

  3. Aaron Read

    Tone-deaf? I think it was brilliant! Why is taking Republican’s own stupid saying and twisting them back on them a bad thing?Palin IS a pig! She’s the queen of pork, fer Chrissakes! She’s the governor of Alaska, the state that sucks so bad they have to pay people to live there! That money has to come from somewhere, and it comes from Bridges to Nowhere!!

  4. Rick

    Bridge to nowhere"When the vote came up to take the earmark away from Alaska and give it to New Orleans to rebuild bridges there,Sen.Obama voted to let Alaska keep the money. As did 81 other senators. Sen. McCain did not vote on the measure."A nay is a vote to let Alaska keep the money.http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00262The Daily Kos reaction: "Simply unconscionable. Those who voted against these amendments have zero credibility on issues of fiscal responsibility. Zero."http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/10/20/172146/11

  5. Joel Monka

    Senator Obama is indeed tone deaf, or at least has a habit of thinking aloud that he should curb, as he demonstrated with the “My Muslim beliefs” remark. In context, it was the correct phrase, but a seasoned politician should always be aware of how his quotes can be used- he hasn’t yet learned that.I also think he isn’t wise to talk about Gov. Palin’s earmarks, considering the $740 million in earmarks he’s asked for in his first two years in the Senate.

  6. Dot Lane

    Hmmm…so we can’t say McCain is asking us to buy a pig in the poke with his campaign, nor can we say the GOP is trying to make a silk purse out of sow’s ear when talking about Palin’s meager accomplishments, nor can we say that the town of Wasilla’s finances resembled a pig sty after Palin’s tenure. I suppose I can’t say I have a dog in this fight either, or that we should let sleeping dogs lie, although the McCain campaign certainly is doing enough lying….

  7. Gerard

    “John McCain used the very same phrase just last year in talking about Hillary Clinton:”Not the same context. That’s clear enough.God knows how many votes from women and from voters towards the center Obama lost with his blather. But they were substantial. Perhaps a macaca moment as many have suggested.What we’re seeing here is the essential weakness of the man made manifest.The other part of the gaffe (which is so delicately not mentioned here) is that it was hooked to a the stinky fish image. You can bet a lot of women heard that one and started to exit the Obama tent stage right.”Now if Obama wants to call Palin a cheap, grasping hack, that would be entirely accurate.”Actually that sort of remark just ups the desperation level to, well, shrill.Promise me you won’t join the nation-wide ritual suicides on Nov. 6.

  8. mike_b1

    gerard: Remind me again how much of your taxes are going straight to the Bush-McCain war in Iraq? Remind me again what the price of a gallon of gas was when Bush-McCain was elected, and what it is now. Remind me again how your life has become better ever since Bush-McCain was “elected” in 2000.This is precisely what a much wiser Republican president warned about in the 1950s.

  9. Gerard

    “gerard: Remind me again how much of your taxes are going straight to the Bush-McCain war in Iraq? “Not enough. We need to put a lot more into the military overall.Remind me again what the price of a gallon of gas was when Bush-McCain was elected, and what it is now. Still just as affordable to me. And heading down. As soon as we get a lot more drilling and nuclear plants online it will go down even more. Remind me again how your life has become better ever since Bush-McCain was “elected” in 2000.More secure. More free. More affluent. More leisure. Lower taxes. More real friends. More love. Pretty much more of everything across the board.Sorry your life isn’t on track. It might have to do with your philosophy, attitude, and mood.

  10. mike_b1

    gerard: If you believe all that, you must be on some good drugs. Please share them. Thank you.Your friend,mike_b1P.S. Since you think you should pay more, you can start by paying my taxes. Our tax bill last year was about $98,000. I can think of a lot of better things to spend that on than buy more guns for Iraq.

  11. Chris Lovett

    If you only follow the metaphors, the pig stands for the policies, while the lipstick stands for the the packaging (and I am inclined to think that includes the “breath of fresh air,” Sarah Palin, especially if you note the chuckle from the audience). None of this is to say Obama called her a pig, let alone a pitbull. If you go by Obama’s remarks, the charges of sexism don’t make sense, but the ensuing barrage reminds me of a campaign skirmish that happened before Boston’s preliminary election for mayor in 1983. The skirmish was a mini-debate between David Finnegan and Ray Flynn that aired live early in the evening on TV news. Finnegan called Flynn a chameleon–for changing positions. As I took it, Finnegan accused Flynn of being a flip-flopper, and the metaphor seemed all the less offensive for being hackneyed. But Flynn went ballistic, saying Finnegan had just called him a lizard. I thought any idiot knew Flynn had only been accused of flip-flopping and that he did himself no good by (in my view) overreacting. As it turned out, the wider public thought Flynn got the better of the exchange. Apparently, a lot of people thought (for a while, at least) that Finnegan really accused him of being a slimy reptile–which is a good deal worse than a mere flip-flopper. The exchange was hardly the only reason why Flynn was elected mayor, but at the time it got a good deal of attention. If it didn’t leave a lasting impression that Finnegan considered Flynn a reptile, it probably helped reinforce the view of Finnegan as arrogant and callous–a bit like the outgoing mayor (Kevin White–the not-him-again) who, at the time, was very much in disfavor. Unfair and mindless as it may be, something similar could befall Obama from the lipstick smear. By using part of a cliche (the “lipstick”) with a newly acquired overtone that could simultaneously allude to America’s most famous hockey mom, Obama’s wordplay was more clever than Finnegan’s, and for that reason less forgivable. I wouldn’t say the episode makes Obama come across as being callous or arrogant, but anyone less than completely in agreement with what he was saying about policy might focus more on the candidate’s persona–and find it smug.

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