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Whining about Obama's lipstick comment harms Republicans

By Scott Tibbs, September 12, 2008

I think I have made it more than clear by now what I think of Barack Obama, the Democrats' candidate for President. I vehemently disagree with him on most issues and I think that he would be a terrible President. Nonetheless, I am compelled to defend him against an unfair attack by the Republicans regarding a recent comment he made. Addressing the McCain campaign's promises for change, Obama said "You can put lipstick on a pig. Itís still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. Itís still gonna stink. We've had enough of the same old thing."

The McCain camp immediately responded by attacking Obama and conservative Web sites lit up Obama with the accusation that he was calling Sarah Palin a pig. The problem is that he did no such thing. He was using a phrase that is fairly common, and is often used in politics to describe the opposing party's policies.

It certainly was a stupid thing to say, especially given Palin's comment about lipstick at the Republican National Convention. And while Obama did not intend to insult Palin, his supporters certainly did when they enthusiastically cheered the comment. If Obama is serious about changing the tone of politics, he should denounce his supporters for the personal attacks and insults directed at Palin. Obviously, Obama cannot address every (or even a small minority of) the smears and personal attacks directed at Palin, but Obama should make it clear that these attacks are not acceptable and his campaign strongly disapproves of those attacks.

But Republicans do the party and conservative ideology a disservice when they start whining and crying about Obama's lipstick comment. Republicans and conservatives are often attacked unjustly as "sexist" or "racist" for legitimate criticisms of Democrats, or innocent statements are twisted and distorted to the point that the spun "quote" bears absolutely no resemblance to what was actually said.

What some Republicans are actually doing here is bowing to Political Correctness, something that will come back to haunt all Republicans in the future. Democrats will justifiably point out "hypocrisy" when conservatives defend a GOP candidate unjustly accused of sexism or racism. Why was it OK when directed at Obama, they will ask, but not at (insert Republican here)? Republicans also give credibility to silly Politically Correct attacks on them with these silly attacks on Obama. Conservatives should oppose Political Correctness. Embracing it because it happens to be politically convenient at the moment is a recipe for disaster.

Basically, Republicans should stop whining. There are plenty of legitimate issues where we can attack Obama. Playing the victim card because of a stupid Obama gaffe only makes us look weak. Let's not be crybabies!