Archive for September, 2008

Smears

September 10, 2008

I try my best to avoid the daily back and forth of political mudslinging.  However, I find the current spat over Obama’s language regarding Palin to be rather interesting, if depressing.

Obama made reference to the Republican party the other day with an old folk expression:  “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”  The Republicans cried foul, accusing Obama of sexist talk.  Obama has of course denied all such things, and is attempting to cast the Republicans as trying to divert from the issues at hand with idle trivialities.

What appears to be happening to me, is that Obama wants to have his cake and eat it too.  He wants to engage in the time-honored mudslinging tactics which have been part and parcel of American politics since we had the opportunity to have our own politics.  But at the same time, he wants to keep the image he is crafting of being above such things.

Note that I am firmly a believer that our political system has become ridiculously scripted, so that misstatements and other guffaws are held up as indicative of someone’s inability to lead.  For example, the outcry amongst Hillary and Obama supporters earlier this summer, when Clinton made references to Bobby Kennedy, seemed clearly to be something taken out of context and misused by the press – Obama’s press.  What appeared to be a reference simply to another extended contest for the party nomination was instead spun to be some sort of darkly ominous comment on potential assasination.  Ridiculous.  Conveniently, the Obama machine which spun Clinton’s comment initially, provided the opportunity for Obama to look like someone who was above such petty things, when he issued a statement indicating that he believed Hillary had meant nothing improper with her reference. 

Once again, Obama seems to want to be able to sling the mud, but pretend his hands aren’t dirty.  As carefully studied and polished and scripted as candidates’ missives are, the pig & lipstick comment can hardly be chalked up to just coincidence.  If it was merely that Palin was a woman, I might be willing to overlook Obama’s statement.  But Palin’s lipstick comment in her acceptance speech, which was widely publisized and hailed, makes Obama’s statement far too topical to be simply accidental.  In a politically correct culture, one does not make comments about lipstick – particularly if one is running against a party that includes a woman on the ticket, and a woman who had made her own self-references to lipstick in her very public national debut.

Face it Obama, you’re not really any different in the mud-slinging category than anyone else.  Much as I would have at one time liked to believe the better-than-them attitude you sought to purvey to constituents and potential voters, it seems clear that it’s simply that – an attitude, but not a reality.  Take your lumps.  Admit you were out of line.  Move on with your campaign.  There is little nobility in sniping your opponents and then blaming them when they respond.

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