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Re: You Heard It Here First

Jen, can I toot my own horn for a second? You have just quoted Obama telling David Letterman that in his now-famous and absurdly over-debated analogy, “she would be the lipstick.”

This is what I wrote about this matter yesterday, just after it broke:

 Obama’s remark — “put a lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig” — is being treated by the McCain campaign as an attack on Sarah Palin. I’m not sure that’s what’s going on here. Syntactically, the remark is not about Palin; it’s about John McCain. She’s the lipstick. He’s the pig.

Rhetorically, Barack Obama likened his rival to a pig.

There’s a whiff of something very dangerous to Obama here. What this sounds like is nothing so much as Michael Dukakis, in 1988, likening George H.W. Bush to a rotting fish (“a fish rots first from the head,” he said). As if to demonstrate that the Dukakis example was floating through his brain at exactly the same moment, Obama then made a direct allusion to it: “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called ‘change,’ it’s still gonna stink after eight years.”

I don’t mean to keep this story going, and I don’t want to be humorless about this — but since he’s basically admitted it, isn’t there something even a little surprising about the fact that according to Obama himself, he drew an analogy between  John McCain and a pig?

For what it’s worth, I see Obama has told Letterman that “the failed policies of John McCain would be the pig.” Fine.

But here’s a thought experiment for you. Obama picks Hillary instead of Biden. The next week, McCain goes out there and says that some plan of the other ticket is like “putting lipstick on a pig.” Now, what do you suppose would have happened in that instance?



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