Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obama Should Make "Lipstick on a Pig" the "You're No Jack Kennedy" of 2008

Back to the 1988 election again, and another famous incident, this time in the VP debate between Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen. Raising the same experience issues that are dogging Sarah Palin, Quayle pointed out that he had the same amount of experience that John F. Kennedy had when he ran for the presidency. Bentsen famously replied:
"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Over the last 20 years, this has become the archetype not only of the classic debate zinger, but of a meme that takes on a life of its own.

Obama has that opportunity with "lipstick on a pig". Whether he intended it or not, it got under the skin of the McCain campaign. It is short, concise, to the point and easy to understand -- something the cerebral Obama has had trouble with in connecting to some voters. And McCain has used the phrase himself when referring to Hillary Clinton, so his complaints over it are not going to stick.

But most importantly, it perfectly summarizes the entire joke of a campaign that McCain has run into four words. It starts with the central theme that he is something new when he isn't, then adds other valuable imagery: the stupidity of the Palin pick and her vapid self-description; all the pork that Palin claims to be for when she isn't; and the mud-slinging that McCain is so fond of.

Say it early, say it often: "lipstick on a pig".


Josh said...

Hell yeah. That whole line of attack was great. And lipstick on a pig was a great way to finish it off. Obama has to make clear that McCain is flat out LYING to people right now. And McCain's new "education" ad makes clear he is a sleazeball running a dirty campaign even by Republican standards.

Dylan said...

Hello, Charles.

I don't know why anyone would have expected any behavior, other than what McCain is now exhibiting, with regard to his campaign methods. Obama cannot remain entirely above the fray, with regard to this contest; this will likely become the dirtiest national political campaign that we have witnessed, in the last century or so. If Obama ignores anything at all, from the McCain side, then he cannot expect that the media will somehow step in and take up the slack. The McCain team is doing everything in its power to neuter the media, and they will continue to employ that technique, just as long as it's available to them; Obama is going to have to keep them honest. And that will require taking the gloves off...and leaving them off for the duration.

And Palin is fair game, obviously; she is just a pig, in my opinion; it's now just a matter of how you go about frying her bacon.

This is going to be a tough, tough fight. The Republicans will do everything that they can, short of murder, to keep the White House. They will lie, cheat, steal, and engage in as much ruthless intimidation as they possibly can. They know that everything changes, if they lose. That's the least we can expect from them.

Charles M. Kozierok said...

Hey Dylan, nice to see you (if you are the Dylan I think you are). (Hi to you too, Josh. :) )

I think the bloom is going to fall from the rose pretty quickly now. The Republicans are going to double down on Palin madness and dare Americans to wake up and see what she really is. I hope they do.