No Mas Lipstick!

10Sep08

National elections are fights over news coverage. When the media is talking about Sarah Palin, for example, that means it isn’t talking about Barack Obama. When Sarah was selected the day after Barack’s big convention speech, that put a damper on his potential bump by taking him out of the news.

Speaking at a high school in Norfolk, Obama took a few moments to address what he calls “the made-up controversy” of the day…

Since the announcement of Palin, Barack has been struggling with how to get some input into the campaign narrative. He’s tried attacking Palin (bad idea – that keeps her the focus), he’s tried not talking about her (doesn’t matter, everyone else wants to, and the truth is, when you’re up against a rock star, it can be frustrating.

Obama said the McCain campaign moved to “seize an innocent remark and take it out of context because they knew it’s catnip for the news media.”

Yesterday, the McCain campaign seized another gift from Barack, and turned it into another tool for controlling the news cycle. That gift is, of course, Barack’s use of the old expression about putting lipstick on a pig.

“See, it would be funny, but the news media decided that would be the lead story yesterday. This happens every election cycle. Every four years, this is what we do. This is what they want to spend two of the last 55 days talking about…Enough!” he said.

The media loves this sort of controvery, even when there’s not much to it – they’re pretty happy if they can lead a newscast with, “Was Barack being sexist – you decide!” It doesn’t matter what the answer is. And of course, it’s not good for Barack to have people questioning if he’s a sexist, because there’s that leftover tension with Hillary.

Obama called the attacks “lies, outrage and swift boat politics.”

“These are serious times and they call for a serious debate…spare me all the phony outrage. Spare me all the phony talk about change,” he said.

Barack is correct. But on the other hand, what McCain is doing is innocent compared to making up a fake position on the war on Iraq to win the nomination, then dumping it when you get the nomination, or promising never to vote to reauthorize FISA, but then voting to do so once you’ve secured the nomination.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers responds: “Barack Obama can’t campaign with schoolyard insults and then try to claim outrage at the tone of the campaign. His talk of new politics is as empty as his campaign trail promises, and his record of bucking his party and reaching across the aisle simply doesn’t exist.”

That’s true to.



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