James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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GOP view of Palin: pit bull or pretty little lady?

Posted by James McPherson on September 10, 2008

Barack Obama did the right thing today in pointing out the ludicrousness of the McCain campaign’s latest charges of sexisim. Of course that didn’t stop John McCain’s smear merchants from immediately launching another negative ad–complete with badly out-of-context quotes from Obama and CBS anchor Katie Couric (funny how conservatives like the “liberal media” when the message is correct, or can be twisted to appear so). The ad can be seen below. (Note: CBS insisted that the ad be removed from YouTube the same day; see below for details.)

The charges, as I noted yesterday, are shameful and disgusting. Interestingly, they’re also more insulting to Palin than Obama’s comments were, demonstrating the problem conservatives often have in dealing with women. They can’t even decide if their own vice presidential candidate is a “pit bull” ready for prime-time politics, or a “pretty little lady” beauty queen who needs to be protected as if she were some Victorian-era teen-age wife.

The subtleties of most real women, who fall between the conservative archtypes wrapped in leather and lace, escape these hapless campaigners–somethng even PUMAs are bound to realize. Between that GOP cluelessness and the fact that people will eventually remember that John McCain heads the ticket, I suspect the positive post-convention GOP numbers will soon start to decrease.

Those numbers continue to mislead, anyway. National polls may show a slight edge for McCain, but every electoral map I’ve seen–whether produced by Democrats, Republicans or neutral parties–still shows Obama with the advantage. Unless some unforeseen dramatic event occurs–and especially if the McCain campaign continues to rely on negativity, and if even conservatives can’t figure out what kind of woman Palin is–I have no problem sticking with my pre-convention prediction that Obama will win handily in November.

Same day update: That didn’t take long. CBS insisted that the ad be taken off YouTube because it is misleading. The ad still can be seen at the McCain Web site, where they aren’t such sticklers for details such as truth and fact. McCain has apparently found that he loves to wallow in the muck, just like a certain farm animal.

Same day update #2: Some conservative writers agree that the GOP “lipstick” attacks are stupid. See pieces by Kathryn Lynn Lopez and Roger Kimball.

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5 Responses to “GOP view of Palin: pit bull or pretty little lady?”

  1. I would find this laughable if it weren’t so infuriating. That Pit Bull has been using the same lie-filled speech since last week, repeatedly, and its well known that the campaign has sheltered her from the press and answering questions off-the-cuff. I find it also so odd how McCain is so offended by that old-time saying about lipstick and pigs, but yet he’s used it twice himself with the past year in his speeches.

    I honestly don’t know how those McCain people can sleep at night.

  2. Sarah Palin is to women what Clarence Thomas is to the civil rights movement.

    Ya have to hand it to the GOP: They sure know how to pull the wool over your eyes. Imagine: A black man who hates civil rights. Now a woman who is opposed to women’s issues.
    She is just George Bush with a bra!

  3. […] those who missed it because they were caught up in stories about pigs with lipstick or Sarah Palin’s repeated lies about the “bridge to nowhere” and an Alaska […]

  4. […] John McCain and Sarah Palin finally went too far in trying to protect the GOP’s “pretty little lady” from the media today. Faced with a rare journalistic exhibition of backbone, the campaign […]

  5. […] GOP view of Palin: pit bull or pretty little lady? […]

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