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Sep 10, 2008

Politics of the Day 09/10/08

Lipstick On a Pig

Below is the standard, colorful attack on policy:

My opponent is pushing the same old legislation under a flashy new name. It's like putting lipstick on a pig.

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This is a criticism of the opponent and the legislation. The opponent is trying to fool you with superficial changes, but the basic legislation is still ugly. It is a bit of political attack poetry.

Below is what Obama said:

You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink.

What is being criticized? There is no policy in question. Now, all the criticism goes toward whatever target matches up, like a torpedo that is trying to find a target. To me, the only targets are Palin (lipstick) and McCain (old and now announcing "change").

The criticism is: My opponents are old and ugly, and they are deceiving you about themselves.

This is an entirely a personal attack. This is what Obama says he doesn't do.

1 comment :

bingobangoboy said...

For reference, here's the Obama quote:
"Let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change, too. And so, I guess his whole angle is, 'watch out, George Bush! Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove - style politics, we're really gonna shake things up in Washington!' That's not change. That's just calling the same thing something different. But you know, you can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink."
It's pretty hard for me to see how this is anything but a typical usage of the idiom ("the opponent is trying to fool you with superficial changes", in your words). But thank you for the trivial observation that if you omit any surrounding context of policy discussion, the words "lipstick on a pig" don't alone serve as a criticism of policy.

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