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Helping Obama Out Of His "Pig In A Poke" Predicament

Sheesh. This "lipstick on a pig" thing is getting out of hand. I'm getting tired of it, so I'm going to try to explain to Barack Obama (and his supporters, who are far more likely to see this) how he can get past it.

First up, he needs to acknowledge the precedent that, when someone says something potentially offensive, ignorance is no excuse and intent is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the perception of the remark, both by the target and the audience.

That is the standard, that is the precedent. It was established in the Washington, DC "niggardly" mess. That was at the core of the infamous University of Pennsylvania "water buffalo" incident. That was the standard that took down Trent Lott and George Allen, and caused Mitt Romney when he called Boston's Big Dig as a "tar-baby."

In this case, we haven't heard directly from Palin, but her running mate has taken offense on her behalf. Further, if you watch the video of Obama saying the line, the crowd clearly takes it as a shot at Palin -- the explosion of cheers for such a hoary cliche' beggars any other explanation.

So let's say that Obama didn't intend to call Sarah Palin a pig. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. By the standards clearly established, that doesn't mean a tinker's dam.

So he owes her an apology. I'd recommend he issue the standard liberal non-apology:

"I regret that some people misinterpreted my remarks of the other day, when I used an innocent cliche' in passing in a speech. I absolutely intended no disrespect to Governor Palin. I deeply regret that some may have misunderstood what I said, and if anyone was offended by my remarks, I sincerely apologize."

There. Let's call a spade a spade -- that's not a real apology. It's the perfect liberal apology -- I didn't do anything wrong, you're stupid for thinking I did, and I'm not sorry unless you want me to be.

This story's shot its wad. Time to put this to bed and move on.

Yes, I did deliberately use the phrase "call a spade a spade." I also chose to use some dirtier-sounding-than-they-are cliche's there -- "hoary," "tinker's dam," "shot its wad," and "put this to bed." If I could have worked it in, I'd have also used "the pot calling the kettle black." For someone who loves the English language as much as I do, this whole kerfuffle has had my brain running in overdrive to find and use other old saws that could be misinterpreted as offensive.


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Comments (23)

I don't think this should b... (Below threshold)

I don't think this should be over yet. Whatever he meant, the use of the phrase was a bad choice. Will he make short jokes with Kim of Korea and Ahmadinejad of Iran? That would be a bad choice too. Do we need a president that makes bad choices?

She's supposed to be a toug... (Below threshold)
Bill:

She's supposed to be a tough, straight talking, gun totin' self-styled bitch with lipstick, yet she can't stick up for herself, can't stop whining, can dish it out but can't take it...

Jay, I agree with you 99.9%... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Jay, I agree with you 99.9% of the time, but this is about more than a perceived insult... It very much goes to character.

He may or may not have meant it (I believe he did), but either way, it's not going to sit well with some very important voters.

I find it less than coincidental that just as Obama does something that makes people question his character, we have Randi "bloody mary" Rhodes questioning the severity of John McCain's treatment as a P.O.W.

Double backfire!

A "leader" would acknowledge his mistake. He would distance himself from the vileness... But, as seen with Ayers, Wright, and countless others, he only does that when he absolutely is forced to.

Hi Bill! How's that campai... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Hi Bill! How's that campaign coming along? heh

Bill is upset because it wa... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Bill is upset because it was recently discovered his mother was dating Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright.

Has anybody checked in with... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Has anybody checked in with the Pig Farmers to find out what the Pigs think about all of this?

you said "let's call a spad... (Below threshold)
billings:

you said "let's call a spade a spade" did you mean that?

"This story's shot its ... (Below threshold)
marc:

"This story's shot its wad. Time to put this to bed and move on."

I agree, so lets move on. To Biden the "truth-teller."

Biden at a campaign stop:

"What I care about is: What in God's name is she going to do -- along with John McCain -- about the thousands of people who don't have health care?" Biden asked. He'll ask her about "The superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down...John McCain wants to know where Bin Ladin and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That's where Al Quaida is. That's where Bin Ladin is. It's not in the country of Iraq."
(Boldface mine)

What actually happened:

Update at 3:33 p.m. ET: CNN says a Kerry spokesman has told the network that the helicopter landed because of impending bad weather, that none of the three are hurt -- and that all three now are out of Afghanistan. Update at 3:43 p.m. ET: A Biden spokesperson also is characterizing the landing to CNN as more of an "unscheduled," instead of "emergency," event because of unexpected bad weather.
So, to be fair although I'm loath to do it.... was Biden fast and loose with the truth and used his "embellishment card".

Or was he trying to imply he was forced down in the model of Hillary's "under fire" landing in Afghanistan?

Bill - "She's supposed ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Bill - "She's supposed to be a tough, straight talking, gun totin' self-styled bitch with lipstick, yet she can't stick up for herself, can't stop whining, can dish it out but can't take it...

Some of you need to pick a story and stick with it. One minute Palin is hiding and avoiding all questions. And the next the complaint is she's whining. So which is it?

Is she hiding.. or as you claim, with zero proof offered (got quotes?), shes whining?

the story did its job for t... (Below threshold)
james:

the story did its job for the McCain camp. which was to get obama off message for the day. McCain should be glad it happened and move on. Obama was out talking about education today, and McCain had yet another stop on the convention speech tour. by taking away o's message for the day, saves people from having to hear yet again the Palin McCain speeches we have been hearing all week.
now they can move on with the big Palin interview for the rest of the weekend.

Amen. This is beyond stupi... (Below threshold)
SAHMmy:

Amen. This is beyond stupid. There's plenty of legitimate BS being hurled at McCain/Palin to refute, shouldn't we be concentrating on that?

I've never felt more like a democrat (which I'm most certainly not), watching my fellow democrats wail over perceived slights than I have in the last 24 hours.

Come on people, we've got a long road before November 5th. Quit braying at the stupid stuff.

Given Barry's thin skin, I ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Given Barry's thin skin, I can see why he would go for childish retorts and comments. Especially if the object of his taunts is a woman.

The man has a problem with woman with power....more power than he has.

I think as conservatives we... (Below threshold)
Brad:

I think as conservatives we don't want to get all pissy about PC crap. There's plenty to point out about Obama's problems besides this thing. Okay, Obama's called out on it, and is getting all nervous about the reaction, and that's funny. But leave it and don't elevate it further, IMO.

Its been my observation tha... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Its been my observation that Obama uses double entendres this very same way. He meant his remark on both levels. And he's only going to acknowledge the more defensible one.

"What's good for the goose,... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

"What's good for the goose, is good for the gander" ......I don't know, I just thought I'd say that. lol

Sarah Palin wears army boots, Sarah has cooties, Sarah picks her nose. wah wah wah..

Liberals are just shitting all over themselves in a panic, WHY? Because they have encountered a STRONG CONSERVATIVE WOMAN!!!
OH MY GAWD!!!!!!!!!
I love it keep takin about SARAHHH!!!!!

"People in glass houses shoudn't throw stones"

ummm...Ok that's the end of my limp ramble of off the wall comments.


The cliche cops on the left... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

The cliche cops on the left say we cant call a spade a spade anymore.

I just got word that severa... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I just got word that several other phrases are now completely off limits in this country:

"Lend me your ear(s)" (offends the aurally challenged)
"A shot in the dark" (offends those who fear both the NRA and the dark)
"Third Wheel" (offends those who enjoy the occasional "menage a trois")
"Two's company; three's a crowd" (see offense above)
"Skeletons in the closet" (offensive to both Kate Moss and the entire homosexual community)
"Actions speak louder than words" (will get your first grader suspended in a New York Second)
"Beating around the bush" (offends women and sitting presidents)
"The straw that broke the camel's back", "Beat a dead horse", "Curiousity killed the cat" and "there is more than one way to skin a cat" (PETA is PISSED)
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be" (This phrase is 100% responsible for the recent troubles at both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.)
"Go for broke" (crap - add this to the one above)
"All in the same boat" (not sure about this one, but John Kerry specifically requested it be kept, so we are removing it)
"Preaching to the choir" (I use this one about 68 times a day, so it stays)
"Six of one, half a dozen of the other" (was removed by The Redundancy Police)
"When pigs fly" (all references to swine have been removed by the Gaffe Police)...

Well, just saw the what the... (Below threshold)
Gary-fl:

Well, just saw the what the Oman was saying about the entire pig thing on Letterman. The man is a piece of crap.

Just my opinion.

If I had made the same comments at work I think I could easily be accused of making a hostile work environment. This guy has no class and does not act like a leader.


/End rant

"yet she can't stick up for... (Below threshold)
SpideyTerry:

"yet she can't stick up for herself, can't stop whining, can dish it out but can't take it..."

That oddly describes Obama in a nutshell.

This whole mess is so like Kerry's "botched" joke about the military in 2006. Remember his initial attitude? "I'll never apologize! Never! Never! Never!" Then, after realizing the mess he'd gotten himself into, he offered up (per Jay Tea) "the standard liberal non-apology."

Just to prove the media is ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Just to prove the media is being unfair to Obama. Guess who told the Des Moines Rotary Club,

"I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig"

Answer: It was John McCain during one of his attacks on Hillary.


So Jay, wouldn't you agree McCain owes Hillary an apology also?

Dave, you can post that exa... (Below threshold)

Dave, you can post that exact same verbiage in every post. (this is the second one I've seen it in) and it will still be already covered and mentioned and dismissed for a very good reason. I'm not going to explain it to you again. Someone already has - and you either failed to read it or you have and decide to ignore it.

Dave, it doesn't matter whe... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Dave, it doesn't matter whether or not John McCain said it in the past or Barack Obama said it in the past. What matters is how Barack Obama meant it when he said it the other day.

Yes, it COULD have been used innocently and with no allusion to Sarah Palin. But a week after her hockey mom/lipstick line, it also COULD have been a dig directed at her. Be opened minded enough to recognize that is valid interpretation. In fact both can be true at the same time, that's called a double entendre.

The only person who knows the truth is Barack Obama. But considering the reaction of the crowd when he said it, Republicans aren't the only people to have interpreted it as a dig at Palin.

Obama, could have diffused the whole thing, right off the bat by giving the standard non-apology and admitted that while it was open to interpretation, he didn't really mean it as an insult to Palin.

Perhaps when Sarah Palin ap... (Below threshold)
Mark Milanich:

Perhaps when Sarah Palin appologizes for insulting the noble efforts of the thousands of community organizers in this country working day and night to help improve our communities and our lives, then, and only then Senator Obama should consider offering an apology for any misinterpretation of his remarks. But, as I'm sure we all know, that will never happen. It is not time to apologize. It is time to fight back!




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