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Lipstick Hogs Campaign Spotlight

Lipstick pig.jpg

(Danville, California)

What had been perhaps the greatest Presidential campaign in America history is quickly turning into a carnival side show. We have a pig wearing lipstick, so could “Lobster Boy” be far behind? Probably, so stayed tuned!

Two people are to blame for this, despite pledges for “change” and a more civil campaign tone. Hopefully John McCain and Barack Obama will raise the bar (and the tone of the debate, by the time we have the first debate on September 26).

First of all, Barack Obama did not call Sarah Palin a pig. No matter how you slice the bacon that was NOT was he said or implied. “That’s like putting lipstick on a pig” is a time-worn Washington cliché’ that usually refers to pork barrel legislation. It happens in the budget process every year, when a lot of well meaning amendments and projects are attached to budget bills. The budget may be “ugly” in total, but members pass it anyway, because often local projects (the lipstick) are attached to the entire budget (the pig!)

John McCain, being the prince of cutting pork in Washington, has used the phrase “putting lipstick on a pig” countless times in criticizing the federal budget over the years. There are plenty of examples on video tape from C-SPAN. So, McCain’s campaign is guilty of fanning the flames of a non-issue. Fox News Channel was pouring gasoline on the fire this morning with indignant anchors acting like Palin had been called a witch, or another word which rhymes.

But the Republicans aren’t completely to blame for this. They have accomplices in the Obama campaign, including the candidate himself. This whole journey began last Wednesday, when Palin asked the crowd in St. Paul during her acceptance speech: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!” The crowd roared with laughter, and it was perhaps the funniest line of both conventions.

Now I know what the “lipstick on a pig” colloquialism means, having heard it hundreds of times during Congressional debates when I lived in Washington, DC. But unless you are a C-SPAN junkie, a lot of average American’s probably don’t hear it that often.

Therein lies Obama’s problem. It’s easy for folks who heard Palin’s reference to lipstick last week, to think Obama was ridiculing her. In this era of hypersensitivity over perceived racial and gender slights, Obama must have known he was lighting a short fuse. It’s the very same fuse Obama’s campaign lit in New Hampshire and South Carolina and elsewhere, when it accused Bill Clinton for making racist remarks. (Clinton referred to Obama as a “kid” and his position on the Iraq war a “fairy tale.”) Why that made the diversity minded Clinton a racist still baffles me to this day. But people are hypersensitive these days, so the potholes in the road should be pretty obvious.

Now, Obama is falling victim to the same tactics his own campaign used against the Clintons with some degree of effectiveness. I once referred to Obama as a “naïve, political rookie” because his inexperience blinds him at times when he should see the obvious. For example: he should have picked Hillary Clinton to be his running mate; he should have known his pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright would be heavily scrutinized, and he should have easily seen that the public (and opponents) would misconstrue his “lipstick” metaphor.

So, I blame Obama and I blame McCain. And I convict the national press of “guilt by association” for fanning the hysteria of this non-story.

In the meantime, the nation’s unemployment rate stands at 6.1 percent, a 5-year high; gas prices still teeter near $ 4.00 a gallon, though they’ve dropped; and, lots of people are trying to decide whether to make the next mortgage payment, or pay the health care and grocery bills.

As Bill Clinton said so bluntly in 1992, “It’s the economy stupid!” What was true then, is true now. But you’d hardly know it by watching today’s newscasts.

I’ll be blogging more throughout the campaign, (and wearing make-up on my TV reports, but no lipstick!) Check in often at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com

Mark Warner for President?

Mark Warner photo.jpg

(I wrote lots of stories at the conventions, but could not publish all. Needless to say, we aren't even done with this election but us political junkies are already looking forward to 2012! Enjoy!)

(Denver, Colorado)

In 1988, a little known Governor of Arkansas gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Four years later Bill Clinton was President. In 2004, a little known U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois was the DNC keynote speaker. This year Barack Obama will accept his party’s nomination to be President.

So, as I watch former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) give the keynote address at this year’s convention, I wonder about his White House ambitions, too. Warner is running for the U.S. Senate this year, but toyed with running for President or leaving himself open for the number two job.

Keep this guys name in your Rolodex. He’s a young, multimillionaire, good looking and well spoken, and likely on the national rise if he wins that Senate seat.

“The most important contest of our generation has begun,” said Warner, and he was not referring to this year’s election. “It’s the race for the future,” Warner said.
He spoke of more high tech, and biomedical research. Warner knows a bit about technology. He made his millions in the early day of the cell phone industry. He was on the “ground floor” as he says, and struck it rich. “There’s only one country where that could happen…America,” Warner said.

Striking a note of optimism he said, “It’s not where you come from that counts. It’s where you want to go.” And the White House may be where he’s headed. With his wife and three daughters on the podium after the keynote speech, he was smiling and waving and looking the part.

Politics is more about smiling faces and inspiring words, though. It’s about strategy too. Virginia, once a bastion of Republicanism, is now moving toward “swing state” status. The northern suburbs of Washington, DC are crammed with Democrats. Warner won the governorship, and could win the Senate. That means he can carry the state in a White House bid. He’s also more of a moderate-to-conservative Democrat on enough issues, to make him appeal to fellow Southerners who are independents. Keep in mind, the last three Democrats to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, were Southerners.

“How many kids have the grades to go to college, but not the money?” Warner pondered aloud. He was the first in his family to go to college and says without federally backed student loans, he never would have gone.

If Barack Obama loses to John McCain, we will likely have another Democrat free-for-all in four years. Hillary Clinton will certainly be back, but Mark Warner may be right on her heels.

Stay with www.MarkCurtisMedia.com for the latest political news!

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