It is no secret that I am no fan of Barack Obama, but generally speaking I agree with him that this whole Pig comment thing should not really be a controversy.
For those of you who are not familiar with the controversy overtaking the United States, in a speech about economics yesterday, Barack Obama said, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” At first glance most anyone who has been following Sarah Palin and the election could understand how one would think this was a slam against Palin. But when one reads the context for which the comment was made it is clear that he was referring to Bush’s and McCain’s generally similar economic plans. Essentially he said that McCain can talk about change all he wants, referring to the economy, but “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” And then he added, immediately following that line, “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called ‘change,’ it’s still going to stink.”
Was it a slight at Palin (referring to the lipstick)? Maybe. Was it a slight at McCain (referring to the ‘old fish’)? Maybe so. I kind of think it was meant to be a subtle jab, but I don’t put much stock into the whole controversy, those phrases were reasonable for the topic to which he was speaking and it probably shouldn’t be the issue it is.
But this politics. Anything one says can be and will be used against the candidate. I find it really disingenuous that Barack is criticizing the McCain camp for using this for political gain, as both parties take statements out of context, just as ridiculous as this, all of the time. Obama and his advisors should have known this and should have known better.
So while I think there is no merit to the attack from the GOP, Barack should have been smarter than this. And it demonstrates his political newness. You see, the most memorable line from Sarah Palin’s speech at the GOP convention was, “What is the difference between a pit bull and soccer mom? Lipstick”. As a result, anytime anyone hears the word lipstick, for whatever reason, voters are immediately going to associate that comment with Sarah Palin. If you think I am wrong, just watch the below video of Barack’s comments and pay attention to the crowd’s response when he says the lipstick line.
That kind of response would not occur in normal circumstances, the people there immediately associated the comment with Sarah Palin. Barack and his advisors should have been aware of this. And making a comment like that, regardless of its innocence and in a climate where Palin is ridiculously popular and any negativity against her that seems remotely unfair only results in increasing her popularity, is a stupid move.
You see, in this election people don’t care about policy. I think most people who have been following the election since the beginning of the primary season were well aware of this. It is about being a fixer and having a responsible leader. Most voters are fickle and fairly ignorant anyway. They don’t want to hear the nuts and bolts of welfare reform or economic policy, they want to be comfortable, safe, and feel like their President is someone they can feel safe with while the sleep. That’s it. So little lapses of judgement like this, by either candidate, is what matters. Because this is the stuff voters pay attention to. Personally, I think it is ridiculous, but it is the nature of the democratic process, at least in this election. And this is why I think McCain will ultimately win. He generally knows how to avoid these mistakes and will make fewer of them than Barack. Game over.