Best analysis of Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment from Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics:
I give Obama credit for being a smart guy and, after nineteen grueling months on the trail, also being well versed in choosing his words carefully and understanding their meaning - either real or implied. My sense is he knew what he was doing when he chose that particular phrase - and the reaction of the crowd indicated they knew what Obama was saying as well. That said, it stretches credulity to jump to the conclusion and/or the accusation that he was directly calling Sarah Palin a pig. Of course he wasn't.Obama probably thought it was a clever play on words to take Palin's signature line and turn it on its head. Irrespective of what he might have been trying to do, however, the words he said are the words he said....
Imagine for a moment if John McCain had used a similar shopworn phrase in reference to Barack Obama's policies. Suppose he said, "Obama says he's going to cut your taxes but he's really going to raise them. My friends, it's time for some straight talk about taxes, it's time to call a sp*** a sp***." 1
Do you think for a second the Joe Kleins, Andrew Sullivans, and Josh Marshalls of the world wouldn't scream from the rooftops that McCain had used a racial slur against Obama? Of course they would - and they'd scoff at the notion that McCain was somehow unaware of how that phrase would be interpreted. Anyone who tried to argue that McCain was simply using a well known phrase that predated the current presidential race would be tagged as an apologist for racism. Even if McCain hadn't meant it that way, it wouldn't matter.
Click on the title for a link to Tom Bevan's column.
JUST TO BE VERY CLEAR... JOHN MCCAIN NEVER USED THE TERM QUOTED ABOVE IN THE FICTIONAL SCENARIO IN BEVAN'S COLUMN AND NEVER WOULD.
1. I edited the spelling of the word