To the question posed in my headline, I don't know the answer for sure. But it seems the party of George W. has recently found a new religion: fervent anti-sexism. The Republicans have been all over Barack Obama's recent statement describing John McCain's claim that he would bring "change" to Washington despite supporting most of Bush's policies as "lipstick on a pig."
"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig," Obama then said, employing a common expression that politicians of both parties, including McCain and Vice President Cheney have used before.
"Barack Obama's comments...are offensive and disgraceful. He owes (Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah) Palin an apology," Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said in a statement Tuesday evening.
Republican women were out in full force last week during their convention, condemning any and all criticism of Palin's less-than-impressive credentials and the ongoing controversy over her past as "sexist."
Palin, as many know, has been governor of Alaska for 18 months. Before that, she served as mayor of a small town for six years. If McCain is elected and unable to serve, Palin will be the most powerful person in the world.
But according to Republicans, questioning her capacity to lead is now "sexist."
This is the same kind of knee-jerk, reactionary argument that Republicans have condemned Democrats and all progressives for using around issues of racism or any other "ism." In the past, they might have had a point. But now this over-reaction to any well-deserved criticism of Palin's candidacy as simply "sexist" is not credible.
If Obama can't play the "race" card, then surely Palin should stop playing the "sexist" card. Republicans can't have it both ways.
If the Republicans continue to belittle Obama's credentials, can the Democrats now condemn them as simply "racist"? When the Republicans say the only way to serve one's community is to sit in the mayor's chair, rather than organizing and being active in the community, should they get away with such "classist" and "elitist" establishment talk? Do they want to play this game?
Obama appeared last night on David Letterman to chat about the false controversy.
"Technically, had I meant it this way, (Palin) would be the lipstick, you see. The failed policies of John McCain would be the pig," Obama said, drawing laughter from the audience.
It has been less than two weeks since Palin's candidacy was announced by John McCain. I expect that McCain's recent surge in popularity has been the result of this game-changing choice, as well as a successful convention overall last week in St. Paul's. But we shouldn't be too eager to jump on the Republican bandwagon just yet.
Overall, it seems that Palin was a smart choice by McCain. After eight years of Bush, can I see Palin in the Oval Office despite her credentials and lack of experience? Sadly, yes I can. Bush reduced the stature of the White House so badly that now virtually anyone who can perform well on T.V. and fire up the repulsive base of the Republican Party is now presidential material. Do 45-49% of Americans who lean toward the Republicans fear what someone of so little experience might do in the most powerful office on Earth? Evidently not, as long as she shoots guns and believes rape victims should be forced to carry their pregnancies to term.
It should be a very interesting and tight race between now and November 4th. I still think Obama will take it, but obviously the Republicans aren't going down without a nasty fight.