New York Times reporter Kate Phillips is absolutely sure that Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment wasn't referring to Sarah Palin, and wishes people would stop talking about it. Here's Phillips's Wednesday evening entry on the Times's political blog, "McCain Ad: The Wolves Are Out Against Palin."
Forget how worn that "lipstick on a pig" talk is getting at this point. Let's, uh, put a little gloss on that for a second, even though the liberal blogosphere and others have been awash in media-bashing today for anyone even writing about Senator Barack Obama's comments that the McCain campaign is putting "lipstick on a pig." He contended that it was all about the McCain-Palin ticket representing no change.
(And there's no question that Senator Obama did not refer to Gov. Sarah Palin as a pig during his talk last night in Virginia. Although the allusion to lipstick within a week of Ms. Palin's popular line at the Republican convention has prompted a great deal of chatter around the Internet.)
Today Mr. Obama called the McCain campaign's upset over it "phony outrage.")
It's interesting how certain Phillips is that Obama "did not refer to Sarah Palin as a pig" in his now-infamous talk in Lebanon, Va. on Tuesday night, when he told a cheering crowd, "You can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig."
Yet judging by the crowd's applause at what would have been a corny stock insult two weeks ago, Obama's fans seemed to think he was making a reference to Palin's comment in her convention speech: "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."
Compare Phillips's urgent dismissal of controversial Democratic statements with the bizarre contortions her own newspaper twists itself into, trying to make the McCain campaign out to be racist. The editorial page has suggested his ad comparing Sen. Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton was a racially tinged attack" because Spears and Hilton are "young, white women." And a reporter accused McCain of playing the race card by pushing too hard on the fact that Obama had accused Republicans of race-baiting!
This isn't the first time Phillips has tried to rush a Democratic gaffe off the stage and out of polite company. Here's her reaction to John Kerry's "stuck in Iraq" gaffe, which came a week before the 2006 congressional elections and briefly looked like it would threaten Democratic election gains:
And with the controversy over Senator John Kerry's 'botched joke' presumably (please) leaving the airwaves and the front pages after today, the final stretch toward next Tuesday may provide a focal point for voters to decide whether support for the troops also means staying the course in Iraq, even as that course changes, or whether, as in the Democratic campaign slogan, a 'new direction'' or a change in direction will be required.
Phillips concluded Wednesday's post:
What's the upshot today? Last night and this morning, the McCain campaign complained that the Obama campaign was engaging in sexist portrayals of Governor Palin. But what does an ad, featuring wolves attacking or going after Ms. Palin suggest? That she is a victim? In this post-feminist world, would Governor Palin -- who has held herself up as a pit bull/reformer while wearing lipstick -- want to be portrayed that way?
That's an interesting point, but not very credible coming from a newspaper that constantly treats Obama as a victim of racist Republican attacks.