Taking More than Nothing

Two of my favorite books are Alice in Wonderland andThrough the Looking Glass. The stories are filled with odd and witty conversations. You have to read almost every line at least three times before you “get it.”

One of the best lines comes from a conversation between Alice and the Mad Hatter:
Alice: I’ve had nothing yet, so I can’t take more.
The Hatter: You mean you can’t take less; it’s very easy to take more than nothing.

What Alice means, of course, is that she can’t have more of nothing. The Hatter, perhaps inadvertently, twists her meaning, implying that she was saying you can’t have more than nothing.
Maybe it’s Alice’s fault; after all, she didn’t clarify. But I’m a bit cynical, so I like to think that the Hatter was tripping her up on purpose. He knew what she meant, that sneaky little Hatter, and he went and twisted her words anyway!

You know who else does that? McCain. Or, at the very least, McCain’s campaign workers (who are reflections of McCain, whether he wants them to be or not).
I’ll bet Obama does, too, but I’m not talking about him right now. I’ll rant about him another day.

There are two instances I’m stewing over. The first is the Lipstick Ad, which has been pulled off YouTube; I believe you can still access the ad on McCain’s site. The ad accuses Obama of calling Palin a “lipstick-wearing pig.” And at the end, there’s a quote from Katie Couric talking about the “continued and accepted role of sexism in American life.”
The ad closes with a picture of Obama & this caption: “Ready to lead? No. Ready to smear? Yes.” (Haha, lipstick smears! Pun!)

According to this ad, not only did Obama call Palin a “lipstick-wearing pig,” he also outraged Katie Couric by doing so. It certainly would be a smear tactic from Obama…if it were true.
Yet funnily enough, Couric wasn’t talking about Obama or Palin or McCain. She was discussing the Democratic primary coverage of Hillary Clinton.
As for the analogy of a lipstick-wearing pig, Obama said nothing about Palin. Here’s what he really said –

John McCain says he’s about change, too, and so I guess his whole angle is, “Watch out George Bush.” Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics … That’s not change. That’s just calling something the same thing, something different.
But you know … you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You know, you can … wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it’s still going to stink after eight years.

They’re actually great analogies, although it would have been better for his image if he said, “You can put a golden ring on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” which is a Biblical reference.
Anyway, you can see from the quote that Obama was talking about McCain’s policies, not his running mate.

Obama’s response? “Keep in mind that technically had I meant it this way — she would be the lipstick,” and McCain’s policies would be the pig. I think it would have been kind of sweet if he called her lipstick. He could even pick out a nice, pretty shade to call her.

But keeping all of that in mind, don’t you think it’s a bit rich for McCain’s people to get all worked-up after the comment, considering that Palin recently compared herself, as a hockey mom, to a pit bull (“What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.”)?

Sadly, it doesn’t end there. McCain has also recently released another ad campaign focused on smear tactics, expressing outrage that Obama supports “comprehensive sex education” for kindergarten students. To understand this, you’ll have to travel back to 2003, when an Illinois bill hoping to modify the sex education laws was introduced. It received a fair amount of support, including from Illinois PTAs, State Medical Society, Public Health Association, and the Education Association.
And yes, Obama voted for it, but the bill wasn’t saying, “I know! Let’s hand out condoms in kindergarten! Yay sex!”
First, it would have made the sex education in question voluntary, allowing parents the option to withdraw their children, which makes sense.
Second, Obama said back in 2004 that the idea was to protect children from sex predators. He claims to known friends & family members who were abused sexually at a very young age (which I believe).
Third, the heavy topics – intercourse, homosexuality, and contraception/safe sex – would have been reserved for the older students.

The Lipstick Ad, that’s just annoying and slightly amusing, particularly since McCain got caught. The distortion of the sex education legislature, on the other hand, is sick and shameful. McCain’s people took a good, wholesome idea and proclaimed it to be something entirely different.


The Mad Hatter policy; that’s the McCain way.


If you’re searching for a positive side about the whole sex education thing, at least McCain didn’t say anything as blatantly stupid as Mitt Romney. Check out this Romney quote (from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/77496.php):

Sen. Obama is wrong if he thinks science-based sex education has any place in kindergarten. How much sex education is appropriate for a five-year-old? In my mind, zero is the right number.

Bully for you, Romney! You just implied that to teach kids the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch” is dangerous information.

Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. well said. good research too — fact checking is something I think we all have to do now, because every politician will unfortunately always act like a politician …. even the ones we support. What’s sad is how many people just take whatever they see on a TV ad as truth.

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