They just can't help themselves, can they?
Do Obama's supporters, the Obama campaign, and Obama really want voters asking "Did Obama just call Palin a pig?" Because they're doing a remarkably good job of it, so far. With the image at "left," Jeralyn turns the knobs up to 11.
Now, I've looked at Atrios on this subject too, and for both these writers the strategy of denial is the same: First, a citation to some past use of "lipstick on a pig." Second, the claim that since the past use of "lipstick on a pig" was innocuous, Obama's use in the present must be innocuous, too. People, clue stick:
1. "Lipstick on a pig" is a cliche. Of course others have used it in the past.
2. However, Obama used the cliche right after Palin made a joke about "putting lipstick" "on a pit bull" in front of 37 million people, and he used the cliche in front of a politically engaged audience that would very likely have seen that same speech. In that context, to many, and to me, it looked like a clear riposte. "Words matter."
3. And finally, many of Obama's supporters "got it" right away. Their reaction? Of course, he meant Palin. Now, most of them aren't blessed with advanced degrees in obfuscatory verbiage with a minor in tendentiousness. Perhaps that accounts for the difference in reaction.
Rank stupidity and context-free analysis didn't used to be a feature -- I assume it's not a bug -- of the media critique performed by our tribunes of the people in the blogosphere.
What could have changed?
Oh, cute glasses. Pink; heart-shaped; very feminine. Who could the image be of? Here's looking at you, kid....
NOTE 1 I'm not experiencing outrage over this, even faux outrage. I'm outraged by Obama betraying us with a "universal" health care plan that isn't, because that could be a matter of life and death; and I was outraged when Obama smeared Hillary by implying she wanted him assassinated. This little incident saddens me, simply because it's so typical. As Paul said:
The damage done by the normalization of sexism in public discourse does far more damage to women than any policy changes being contemplated by McCain.
NOTE 2 Jeralyn's headline is "McCain Camp's Phony Lipstick Charge Won't Fly." For the record, I don't plan to vote R (though, of course, in a post-partisan world that's a 100% legitimate and non-evil option), so I'm not in the McCain camp. I just choose not to put blinders on during the election season, that's all.
UPDATE Glenn's column is a lot better. At least he traces the propagation through sources. Nevertheless... See #1, #2, #3 above. After all, what Obama said, and the reaction his own supporters to it, is at the heart of the story, is it not? Not the gleeful uses that others made of it? Oh, er, and why could this possibly be an important issue? Because I keep asking how you can possibly build a "progressive" movement on the basis of sexism and misogyny, and I never get an answer. See Paul's comment above.
UPDATE Shakes, with McCain's a Disingenuous Asshole, has the best rebuttal, naturally: She puts the statement in an even larger context, and argues the statement is about the economy -- what, in fact, I've been screaming for Obama to do; commenter DamonMI agrees. I find that a likeable enough argument, but I'm going with the crowd reaction, the online reaction, Obama's past history, and shoddiness of the planted talking points on Tier Two, the A list, which would have explained that the point was really the economy immediately, if that was the point they were trying to make. Sorry.