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the politics of lipstick
sen. obama has called gov. palin a pig? are you serious?!
by margot carmichael lester

Kids, kids. Let’s just settle down.

Sen. Obama has called Gov. Palin a pig? Are you serious?!

Look, the senator has been trundling out that line since well before the governor told her little joke about pit bulls and hockey moms. Plus, the lipstick on a pig line is older than dirt. It’s been circulating since long before anyone even knew what a hockey mom was.

Is the McCain-Palin camp so insecure that they honestly feel it’s necessary to demand an apology for a perceived slight that wasn’t? Honestly, there are bigger fish to fry!

Our country is at war in two countries. Our economy is in the crapper. Many of our citizens go to bed hungry, have lost their homes and don’t have access to affordable health care. And then there’s the cost of energy for our cars, homes and industry.

You want to fight about semantics and idioms at a time like this? I make my living off words and even I don’t want to parse things on this level.

But if you insist. Apparently, it’s OK for Gov. Palin to paint herself as a dog wearing lipstick. It’s not OK, however, for Sen. Obama to allegedly paint her as a pig wearing lipstick. Both animals are pretty smart and provide many benefits to mankind. And if you really want to set the parse-o-meter to high, isn’t a pit bull – often trained to attack violently – a pretty unflattering image?

The fact is, I don’t think it was a sexist remark. And I don’t think Sen. Obama is a male chauvinist pig (with or without lipstick on). Honestly, look at his wife. A woman as smart, capable and progressive as Michelle Obama isn’t going to be married to a dude who thinks women are anything less than equal.

So if Sen. Obama’s remark did harken back to the hockey mom joke, so be it. If Gov. Palin’s addition to the ticket means more umbrage taken (whether necessary or not) than issues discussed, we’re in for another bad election year in which we sweat the small stuff while Rome burns.

I’d like to see the campaigns stop fussing over every little remark and start concentrating on the real issues. Think about it this way: do you want the political powers distracted by thoughts of pigs and pit bulls in lipstick or working on solving the most pressing issues facing our country?



I originally wrote this on September 10th. In the days since, several banks and one big insurance company have failed so badly that even our pretty-much clueless President realizes we're facing a massive crisis.

And Gov. Palin remains in the spotlight, only now it’s not so trivial or funny. When she was queried about the Bush Doctrine, she got a look on her face not unlike, I reckon, the looks of those moose right before she pulled the trigger. Her meetings with world leaders were all but closed to the press and what footage there was showed her saying little. Asked to give examples of what her running mate had done to increase the government’s regulation of anything, in particular lending institutions, she initially dodged. When further pressed, she sputtered, “I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.”

Considering these developments, maybe it's not so surprising after all that the McCain-Palin campaign would rather focus the national dialog on cosmetics and barnyard animals.


Margot’s a content strategist and freelance journalist. She consults with and/or writes for businesses large and small, and new and traditional media. She’s also the author of four books, including Be a Better Writer: Power Tools for Young Writers -- co-written with her husband, Steve Peha -- won the 2007 Independent Publishers Association gold medal for teen/young-adult nonfiction. She is currently working on two additional titles in the Better Writer Series, one for college students and another for corporate employees. A Southern belle and sex symbol for the intelligentsia, she was born, raised and still lives in Orange County, N.C.

more about margot carmichael lester


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juli mccarthy
9.12.08 @ 12:57a

And since McCain used the EXACT SAME PHRASE to describe Hillary Clinton's proposed health care plan, isn't it just a teeny bit disingenuous to exhibit outrage over it?

jeffrey walker
9.12.08 @ 3:40p

McCain isn't viable on the issues, because the war is his only issue. And so, let's resort to name calling (and /or, pretending there is name calling even when there isn't).

Really, no one cares about this. And that's why Obama is making a mistake by dignifying these so-called criticisms with a response. If he doesn't stop trying to respond to the GOP's garbage campaign, he's going to be covered in garbage.

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