Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Apologies Upon Demand

Lipstick on your collar told a tale on you
Lipstick on your collar said you were untrue

-- From the 1959 Connie Francis hit song
Lyrics by Edna Lewis, tune by George Goehring

At the recent Republican convention, Gov. Sarah Palin conjured up an image of a dog wearing lipstick -- specifically a pit bull -- and she got a big laugh from the rapt crowd on the hall’s floor. No doubt, her hockey mom joke went over well with many Republicans watching her on television for the first time, ever.

About a week later Sen. Barack Obama used an old joke about putting lipstick on a pig, a joke that’s been walked around the block by many a politician -- including Sen. John McCain -- and ever since, Republicans have been foaming at the mouth with outrage.

Putting “lipstick on a pig” has been turned into a sexist slur for partisans with a flair for feigning a temper tantrum. Republican propagandists have been twisting themselves into absurd contortions to strike the pretender’s pose that they are actually serious in their outrage over Obama supposedly calling Palin a pig.

Of course, a week ago way too many Democratic propagandists were focused on whether Palin’s fifth child is actually hers. And, on whether or not she’s been a good parent, if her unmarried daughter is pregnant. So, in order for the silly Republicans to walk the low road this week, the silly Democrats had to step aside because they had temporarily run out of new mud to sling at Palin.

It seems the Republican strategy this season is to get angry at all questions of their nominees’ worthiness to win the White House. Any attacks on McCain are out of line, because he spent five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war. Ask him how many houses he has, he squawks back that he spent five-and-a-half years...

Sometimes at the convention, it seemed McCain was being beatified for sainthood, rather nominated to run for president.

Similarly, so far, any attack on Palin has been called “sexist” by her defenders. Republicans seem to believe they can win over some goodly percentage of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s disappointed supporters using a victimhood strategy.

So, should PUMAs be outraged because it’s an insult to them that someone would think they’d vote for a woman, in spite of how much they disagree with her, just because she’s a female?

Yes, this season we can expect the political landscape to be littered with demands for apologies from the deeply offended. It seems the surest way to create a news event out of thin air is to call upon a politician, especially a campaigning politician, to apologize.

Typically, a planted outrage story goes through its predictable cycle, which usually plays out something like this:

The Demander: Sir, I demand an apology. When you said, “War is hell,” you demeaned every single young American in uniform today, particularly those serving on the Iraqi battlefield of this nation’s War on Terror. You were saying they’ve gone to hell, which is to say they do not deserve to go to heaven. Who are you to judge?

The Offender: What in heaven’s name are you talking about? “War is hell,” is a quote from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

The Demander: That’s your opinion.

The Offender: OK. I regret accidentally offending anyone who agrees with you, if it is actually true that they were offended.

The Demander: If? I demand you apologize for issuing an insulting apology, and I also call upon you to apologize to Maria Shriver and Caroline Kennedy.

The Offender: What have they got to do with this?

The Demander: When you say “war is hell” it has to remind them of the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, because that was the title of the war movie he slipped into a Dallas theater to see, after he alone shot President Kennedy. Why do you hate poor Maria and the rest of the Kennedy family?

The Offender: How about I just hate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies?

The Demander: Your un-apology apologies reek of sarcasm, which is outrageously disrespectful of our troops in Iraq, and brave Vietnam War era veterans such as President Bush.

The Offender: Does saying, “war is the h-word,” make it any better? How about “war is heck?”

The Demander: The hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” should convince you that saying war is hell, while we are engaged in righteous war against heathen terrorists is tantamount to blasphemous treason.

The Offender: How about I say “war is so dangerous it can be hell-like?”

The Demander: You’d be emboldening the enemy.

The Offender: To hell with the enemy!

The Demander: Better.

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