Lipstick On the Fundamental Failure of the Democratic ProcessSDo you ever have one of those days where you just want to pack it in because everyone else in the world is so patently, transparently intellectually dishonest and/or un-self-aware as to defy any and all stabs at serious criticism or even derisive mockery? Do those days ever last for the entire month of September? Are you outraged over Obama's lipstick remark or outraged over the outrage over it? Either way you are part of the problem! How does this shit happen? It's very simple. There's nothing happening. Except Palin. The conventions are over and the campaigns now are focused on debate prep and early voting drives. Those are the only things that actually matter, right now, for both campaigns. The rest is just back-and-forth noise-making. Except for Palin who is a media sensation! So everything Palin-related will make headlines. So McCain's team just made up a Palin headline, to keep her in the news. That's all. But you know that is not a very interesting post, is it? So let's pick through this in a sad and doomed search for anything relevant or even slightly interesting! We're trying to work through this rationally. Give us a minute. Did the McCain campaign think they'd be able to convince the media that they're genuinely outraged about a sexist comment made by Barack Obama? That didn't actually seem to matter—no one on earth thinks this outrage is anything other than a political ploy, that does not affect the serious coverage one iota. When the McCain campaign accused Governor David Paterson of "playing the race card" this week, it made headlines but got no real traction. This, though, is leading everything. The story is that Barack Obama used an ancient Washington cliche, while talking about McCain. A cliche every politician, including McCain, uses in an attempt to sound folksy. A cliche surely familiar to most Americans. The McCain rapid-response team seized on the term and applied it to Palin, with help from Jake Tapper. Now through endless repition they are attempting to implant the idea that Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a "pig," and that that is a sexist term. Which does not make sense. Because no one has ever thought of Sarah Palin as remotely "piggish," and "pig," we thought, was a term of derision for men. We can't figure out the strategy here, at all, on either side. Will the base get riled up about this? Sure, why not, but they get riled up over everything, that's why they're the base. Will the vast mushy middle think Obama was being sexist? Even if they do, will they care? In a 'rational' world, this would make McCain look defensive—the supposed usual position of stupid stupid Democrats. It's desperate and weak. Do the Democrats have the "guts" to use the "playing the sexism card" card? Are we going to shoot ourselves if we keep talking like this? We don't know the answer to either question. But we honestly don't think this will last through the day, this outrage, and as far as how it relates or adds to the ongoing 'framing' and 'narrative-building' by both campaigns, we're stumped. There is maybe some residual "Obama is a sexist" stuff from the primaries, but the vast majority of those complaints were lodged against The Dreaded Media. And "the media is biased against Sarah Palin" still seems to be a charge with a better chance of sticking. It has already stuck so well, in fact, that maybe everyone just seized on this to deflect criticism. And what should Obama do? Daniel Radosh has a sensible Rovian response but so far the Democrats just continue saying "this is a distraction, wtf, how do you get away with this," which is also how we feel about it but, you know, when you chant that so much for so long without getting anyone on your side, you might want to rethink your strategy. But frankly even though Obama clearly did not mean it that way he should now just continue on as if damn straight he was making a snide remark about Sarah Palin. Because you might as well paint Sarah Palin as a total bitch, which is, we seem to recall, what she painted herself as when she said she was a transvestite pitbull or whatever the fuck.