Old fish and lipsticked pigs

Posted on Wednesday 10 September 2008

Yesterday, Barack Obama deployed a couple of well-used colloquialisms to hit the McCain campaign on its attempt to co-opt the “change” theme.

“That’s not change. That’s just calling something that’s the same thing something different. You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig,” Obama went on, and the crowd erupted in cheers. “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It’s still going to stink, after eight years. We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

And Palin supporters are going totally ballistic.

Hmmm....  will the red clash, do you think?

So — was Obama really suggesting that Sarah Palin is a pig?  Not exactly.

Actually, I think this was an elegantly turned smack.  He made his references specific — I have no doubt he was deliberately talking about Palin and McCain — but they were designed as political insults rather than personal.

Given the “old fish” reference, though, I can see how the right is interpreting things this way… but their sensitivity meter has gone over the top.   I can’t help wondering whether their heads will explode before this is all over.

Not only that, but the degree of hypocricy here is really off the charts.  Not only did John McCain apparently use this exact phrase in reference to a Hillary Clinton proposal (and I’m pretty sure she wears lipstick), much of this faux outrage is coming from people who have been attacking Barack Obama non-stop for the better part of two years.

All in all, a tempest in a teapot — but an amusing one nonetheless.

(And an aside:  Sorry about the single photo subject.  I have no old fish lying around, and precious few pigs.)

15 Comments for 'Old fish and lipsticked pigs'

    September 10, 2008 | 9:53 am
    September 10, 2008 | 10:52 am

    And John McCain is a dirty old man.

    September 10, 2008 | 11:09 am

    Actually, I’m surprised someone hasn’t declared the statement to be a coded message from HUSSEIN to s00pur sekkrit sleeper units to launch an attack against the Bridge to Nowhere using IEDs (Internet Exploding Devices).

    Of course, all the RWPs haven’t weighed in yet, so maybe we will hear something of this sort by the end of today.


    September 10, 2008 | 11:09 am

    BTW, put a great big :snark: on that last post of mine. Please please PLEASE don’t take it seriously!


    September 10, 2008 | 12:09 pm

    Race Man: How Barack Obama played the race card and blamed Hillary Clinton.

    September 10, 2008 | 4:34 pm

    “Actually, I think this was an elegantly turned smack. He made his references specific — I have no doubt he was deliberately talking about Palin and McCain — but they were designed as political insults rather than personal.”

    Agreed. Except for the “elegantly turned” part. He’s in trouble with this for the reasons that you have suggested. All of this ” I didn’t mean what you thought I meant” hoo- haw is beyond laughable.

    Deliberately mean-spirited or unintentionally ill-advised; either way, this doesn’t help his kids (or, his standing in the polls).

    September 10, 2008 | 5:34 pm

    Bello, I have to say… if he did mean it personally (rather than the well-aimed political shot I think it was)…. then they had it coming. Seriously. They’ve been dishing it out the last week+ in rather copious amounts.

    September 11, 2008 | 2:38 am

    This election is too important to be sidetracked by this nonsense. Sarah Palin is not running for President. McCain is. We need to quit focusing on the Jerry Springer Show that is Sarah Palin and focus on the real issues–the economy, the wars, education, global warming, skyrocketing energy costs, unemployment, the failing banks, etc. McCain is part of the party that brought us this nightmare;before this year he was proud to be photographed with George Bush, to be seen as an ally of our current President. So how is this man going to even begin to get us out of this mess? Why would he want to? His constiuency of lobbyists and rich people are doing just fine–it’s the rest of us who are suffering. Do you really want to return to a time like that of the robberbarons–a time when the middleclass was practically nonexistent, and working people were basically chattel to be abused for their employers’ astronomical profit margins.

    The Republicans over and over again use these cultural wedge issues to keep working people from voting in their own economic interest.They are laughing all the way to the bank. The Republicans were in charge of all three branches of government for six years, and they didn’t ban abortion or ban gay marriage or make Christianity our state religion or make English our national language, etc. They wouldn’t have anything to distract the populace with if they actually moved legislatively on these issues. They need poor and middle class people who believe in these cultural issues to continue to support them even though it means that they get poorer and poorer. And don’t think they sincerely believe in these issues as well. Look at the way many, if not most, Republicans live, look at the scandals that Republicans have been associated with–they want the vote of cultural conservatives, but after the lever has been pulled in the ballot box, those voters can be forgotten until the next election when the Republicans will rile them up again, and get folks to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

    The Bible talks about straining gnats and swallowing camels. It also says that it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. The rich Republicans are giving us plenty of gnats to strain in terms of cultural issues that we can’t resolve through legislative means, and meanwhile we just keep swallowing those camels–the economic problems that the Congress and Senate and White House COULD resolve, so that real wealth could be earned by a multitude of American citizens willing to work hard if given real oppotunities. Just think, we could help some of those rich folks get into heaven by reducing their profit margins and taxing the wealthiest among us at a higher, fairer rate. Vote economics first, and work within our churches to address cultural issues. Afterall, our founding fathers in their wisdom decided that in the United States church and government should be separate, and that is as much to protect the churches as it is to protect the freedoms in our constitution.

    September 11, 2008 | 5:46 pm

    I’m still pulling for Obama, but i am heartily amused by the way he fell into this trap. There is nothing really particularly objectionable about what Obama said, but after the GOP operatives began feigning outrage, Obama tumbled onto the feces-smeared punji sticks by taking their outrage seriously, by denying he was calling Governor Palin a pig, and then by getting ANGRY.

    Gladys said, and she’s somewhat right, that these ridiculous campaigns are actually a useful gauge of someone’s abiltiy to wade through a blinding storm of bullshit and stay focused on the key objective. It doesn’t get any easier after one has won the election. If Obama is thin-skinned and if he reacts robotically to adversity by getting angry and petulant, that’s useful information for the voters.

    Matt Bramanti
    September 11, 2008 | 11:46 pm

    “Bello, I have to say… if he did mean it personally (rather than the well-aimed political shot I think it was)…. then they had it coming.”

    The right had Obama’s foot-shot coming? Uh, okay. Blast away, Barry.

    September 12, 2008 | 7:09 am

    Matt? What?

    “They”. As in… more than one. As in… McCain and Palin.

    Make it your very own personal grievance if it supports the wider faux narrative, by all means. Everybody else seems to be doing so. (Everybody. As in… both sides of the political aisle)

    September 12, 2008 | 7:22 am

    Enrico — tell Gladys she has an accurate, elegant way with words.

    September 14, 2008 | 1:45 pm

    Was the comment deliberate? That crowd in the video sure acted as if he was talking about Palin!

    September 14, 2008 | 11:47 pm

    The point is Middle School speak is not what we want from these folks.

    September 16, 2008 | 5:08 pm

    Why is no one defending hockey moms from Palin’s put down comparing them to pitbulls wearing lipstick? Or is it OK for a female dog to call all the others in her pack a dirty word? Seems kinda sexist to me.

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