Thursday, September 11, 2008

Barack Obama and Lipstickgate

The willfully ignorant are out in force these days, all upset about Barack Obama and Lipstickgate. They’re wringing their hands, they’re getting their undies in a knot, and if it’ll help draw attention to themselves they’re probably wringing their undies too.

I’m referring of course to the pretend outrage over Obama’s comment about John McCain’s claim to be the candidate of change. Speaking at a rally in Lebanon, Virginia, Obama said:

“You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink. We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

Unfortunately for Obama and fortunately for the willful ignoramuses, Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin had made a joke at the Republican National Convention, noting that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick. Lipstick was thus fresh in the little minds of the sort of kneejerk Republicans who want desperately to believe their party has a corner on gentility, fairness, purity, and goodness. In these tiny minds, Barack Obama was referring to Sarah Palin as a pig.

And the media—too often as willfully ignorant as the rest of these clowns—gave them the voice they needed, as if there were honestly some debate about Obama’s meaning.

Never mind that the phrase “lipstick on a pig” has been in the lexicon for years (and enjoys a resurgence every four years, coincidentally enough). Never mind that McCain used the phrase years ago to refer to Hillary Clinton’s healthcare proposals. Never mind that it’s unfathomable that any presidential candidate in the 21st century would refer to his opponent as a pig—let alone one as gentlemanly as Obama, who had earlier noted that Palin’s family would be off-limits as campaign fodder.

No, these people had to pretend that they believed the unbelievable. Their outrage was manufactured and deceitful, and they know it. But here’s the sad part: They also know they only have to fool enough of the truly ignorant to keep this bullshit alive. So right now there’s a registered voter in Palookaville saying “I can’t vote for a man that calls a woman a pig,” and he’s saying it to two friends, and they’re saying it to two friends, and no matter what goes on between now and election day they’re going to remember something that never happened.

And the willfully ignorant will pat themselves on the back.

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