UPDATE: Today, in an act of school yard chivalry, Sen. McCain, who once used the lipstick on a pig phrase to describe Sen. Clinton's health-care plan, saying it was the same one she worked during the first two years of her husband's administration, which a was a single-payer government administered plan- a claim, like an increasing number of his claims, that was factually erroneous and easily proven to be false- admitted that Sen. Obama did not call Gov. Palin a pig. I guess they were able to get about a week's worth of distracting the media and, hence, the public out of their ploy. It also bothers me that Michelle Obama was roundly criticized earlier this year when she said that patriotism was difficult for some African-Americans, which should be a non-controversial truism. So, why does Todd Palin, who until 2002 was a member of some nutty Alaskan independence party, to which Gov. Palin herself may have belonged, get a free pass? Besides, it looks like the blatant racism is starting to rear its ugly head at, of all places, a Values Voter summit. Have you heard of Obama Waffles? This as disgraceful as it is disgusting, all the more so because it is apparently sponsored by a Christian group.
I can prove the point made by Dr. Reno in his post Putting Politics in its Place with one word: lipstick! Lest I be misunderstood, the McCain campaign understands metaphor perfectly well, but the news media does not, or at least not the context of the metaphor used by Sen. Obama to describe McCain's- listen carefully- economic policies, not his running mate, who famously used lipstick in her convention speech last week. "On Tuesday, Obama criticized McCain's economic policies as similar to those of President Bush, saying: '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 going to stink after eight years'" (Nedra Pickler writing for the AP). No doubt Sen. Obama's use of the word lipstick was a vague allusion to Gov. Palin's convention speech. This gave his comment some currency and added a little humor. He did not back-handedly call Gov. Palin a pig, which is what the McCain camp is claiming to the news media as a diversionary tactic.
Obama said the McCain campaign moved to "seize an innocent remark and take it out of context because they knew it's catnip for the news media" (Ben Smith). It is, the media went right for it. So, the McCain campaign is stupid like a fox, to employ an analogy. Obama was correct today when he said: "See, it would be funny, but the news media decided that would be the lead story yesterday. This happens every election cycle. Every four years, this is what we do. This is what they want to spend two of the last 55 days talking about...Enough!" (ibid) Enough, indeed. It is easier to manipulate the media in this way in an effort to detract attention away from the criticism made by Sen. Obama than to respond to the criticism.
The real pig, it seems, wearing lipstick, rouge, and a silky dress, is the media in our political culture, especially those in the media who have the audacity to criticize bloggers for irresponsibility. The third estate? In a pig's eye! Such media manipulation is not the exclusive domain of the McCain campaign, this is just the latest installment in the news media's on-going trivialization of U.S. politics. All this after the juvenile antics of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews and in the wake of Mr. No Spin's spinning, etc. Tim Russert, we need you!
Despite the vitriol I just heaped on the news media, I still think it fair to ask why Gov. Palin is not making herself available to speak with reporters and is being limited to reading from written scripts in front of friendly and fawning crowds. Perhaps she is being closely contolled by the campaign because of her penchant for invoking God's will for things like the Iraq war and the Alaskan natural gas pipeline, as she did in a speech to ministry students at her church last June. If nothing else, it will make for an interesting debate at St. Louis' Washington University with her opponent and apparent polar opposite, Sen. Biden, who can't bring himself to make a consistent judgment on the basis of his belief, which is taught by his church to be derived from reason, that human life begins at conception, come 2 October.