Just as easily as the GOP McCain campaign spinmeisters crank out their outright lies and distortions, they also feign outrage and insult. Senator Obama's recent use of the old political chestnut, "putting lipstick on a pig," was snatched immediately by the McCain spinning circle and denounced as an outrageous reference to their Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. Their press release machine overheated as they bellowed. They reacted so wildly because cosmetics are the stock in trade for McCain's campaign folks. It was after all, McCain's speechwriters who introduced labial makeup in Ms. Palin's speech with the "lip gloss" and pit bull reference. A quick bit of research shows that the idea of putting lipstick on anything didn't happen before about 1880 when the word lipstick first shows up. But it has shown up on pigs, donkeys, frogs and other things since then in references by politicians of all stripes.
A classic definition of the expression is generally, "A term used by many, generally in reference to someone who may be trying to make something or someone look appealing or attractive when it quite clearly will not work, or will only deceive the dumbest of people."
Had that been applied to Ms. Palin it actually would have been quite appropriate. But Senator Obama was not talking about her at all. He was talking about the total Republican failure to lead this country the past 8 years and the mess they have left. A mess that the Grand Old Party has been steadily smearing with lipstick to try to gloss over its ugliness. We should, instead, be seriously talking about how to get this great country out of the mess it is in, which the Democrats have been doing for months and months. Instead the Republicans continue to lob schoolyard epithets, praise God and Country, and crank up their smoke machines. They are doing everything possible to not even mention Bush or Cheney or any specific ways they are going to throw the runaway GOP greed train into reverse. Glossing over glaring shortcomings of the train's engineer and conductor by using Republican Revlon just increases the chances for a major American train wreck.
Photo from Information Week's July 24, 2006 Cover