Friday, September 12, 2008

Why Tackle Issues When There's Lipstick, Pigs and Spin?

I hereby award a Generous Thump on the Head To:
Senator John McCain, his campaign handlers, spin dorks and everyone who took false and flaming umbrage at Senator Barack Obama's statement that "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.".

Not only is there videotape of John McCain using that same exact phrase Three Times over the last year or so...
McCain used the "Lipstick on a pig" phrase when referring to Senator Hillary Clinton's Health Plan.
Did the Democrats get all apoplectic and offended?

Even evil Darth Cheney used the exact phrase not that long ago.

So... What's all the Hubub About?

Well, apparently, McCain and the GOP have noticed that when Actual Issues That Affect Americans and What Needs To Be Done To Get Our Country Back on Track are being discussed in the various media, across the Blogosphere and across the United States of America...
Senator Barack Obama and his strategies for positive change fare much better than the plans of John McCain (if he has any).


The Republicans - when faced with the fact that, as far as The Issues go, they don't have a leg to stand on - fall back on the 'swift-boating' style of attack used against Senator John Kerry and many others before him.

Their aim becomes one of trying to create as many diversions as they can to distract the American people's attention away from the fact that, the issues that are affecting the majority of us: the Iraq War; the Afganistan War; the heart-and-record-breaking deficit; the price of gas; the economy; Global Warming; the sub-prime mortgage racket and subsequent taxpayer bail-outs of banks and Fannie & Freddie (businesses that knew better but did it anyway and that won't learn any lessons if they get bailed out); rising food prices, skyrocketing healthcare costs, callous incompetence following natural disasters... (I could go on, but it's getting late) are the 7-going-on-8yr. legacy of Republican President and John McCain good buddy, George W. Bush and that John McCain and the GOP have no intention to change anything... Why would they? They're rich old white men who have lots of money, homes, job offers (lobbying?) and state-of-the-art health care.

Lacking substance, strategy and any reason to change their status quo...
What's a GOP candidate to do to try to convince the American people to vote for him?

The Republican Razzle Dazzle:

They attack their opponents character like a herd of rabid and foaming chihuahuas.
They pick through their opponent's speeches with tweezers and a microscope, find actionable words and take them completely out of context and then combine them with much harrumphing, "How dare you's" and fabricated fake offense (they're really good at the fabricating stuff - see Iraq War Build-Up/WMDs).

In this instance, the spin dorks excised that one innocuous sentence with the precision of a surgeon, added Sarah Palin and injected some artificial insult, chewed it up, swallowed it and regurgitated it like a projectile... in some cases they followed it with a demand for an apology from Senator Obama.

An apology? For What Exactly?
What Senator Obama was commenting on is this:
As an analogy, let's say that the Bush Administration, its policies and practices are a pig.
Here comes John McCain and the rest of the Bushies saying "Rah! Rah! Change is coming." (This is The LIPSTICK.)
In other words...
The more things McCain... The more they stay McSame.

No apology necessary on Senator Obama's part...

But, if the GOP wants to apologize for instantly assuming that any mention of a pig refers to Palin...
Don't hold your breath...
The Republicans don't do apologies or admit any wrongdoing - even when everyone knows they're wrong... Not Ever. (Just ask 'the Decider'.)


Who First Put "Lipstick on a Pig"?
The origins of the porcine proverb.

By Ben Zimmer
Posted Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, at 5:37 PM ET

When Barack Obama told a crowd at a campaign event on Tuesday, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," the McCain campaign swiftly took offense, claiming the analogy was directed at vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki countered the accusation, saying, "That expression is older than my grandfather's grandfather and it means that you can dress something up but it doesn't change what it is." Is the expression really that old?

The concept is an old one, but the phrasing used by Obama is rather new. Many porcine proverbs describe vain attempts at converting something from ugly to pretty, or from useless to useful. The famous maxim that "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear" dates back at least to the mid-16th century. Other old sayings play on the ludicrousness of a pig getting dressed up. "A hog in armour is still but a hog" was recorded in 1732 by British physician Thomas Fuller. As Francis Grose later explained in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796), a "hog in armour" alludes to "an awkward or mean looking man or woman, finely dressed." Charles H. Spurgeon noted another variation in his 1887 compendium of proverbs, The Salt-Cellars: "A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog," meaning, "Circumstances do not alter a man's nature, nor even his manners."

The "lipstick" variation is relatively novel—not surprising, since the word lipstick itself dates only to 1880. The incongruity of pigs and cosmetics was expressed as early as 1926 by the colorful editor Charles F. Lummis, writing in the Los Angeles Times: "Most of us know as much of history as a pig does of lipsticks." But the exact wording of "putting lipstick on a pig (or hog)" doesn't show up until much later. In 1985, the Washington Post quoted a San Francisco radio host on plans for renovating Candlestick Park (instead of building a new downtown stadium for the Giants): "That would be like putting lipstick on a pig."

Ann Richards did much to boost the saying's political popularity when she used a number of variations while governor of Texas in the early '90s. In 1991, in her first budget-writing session, she said, "This is not another one of those deals where you put lipstick on a hog and call it a princess." The next year, at a Democratic barbecue in South Dakota, she criticized the George H.W. Bush administration for using warships to protect oil tankers in the Middle East, which she considered a hidden subsidy for foreign oil. "You can put lipstick on a hog and call it Monique, but it is still a pig," she said. Richards returned to the theme in her failed 1994 gubernatorial race against the younger Bush, using the "call it Monique" line to disparage her opponent's negative ads.

Since then, "lipstick on a pig" has spiced up the political verbiage of everyone from Charlie Rangel to Dick Cheney. John McCain himself used it last year to describe Hillary Clinton's health care proposal. And even though the folksy expression is one that sounds old (and connects back to genuinely old proverbs), it's not quite the vintage of anyone's grandfather's grandfather.

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