Heh — “Read My Lipstick”

I am slack-jawed with admiration tonight.

The source of my amazement is reports that female McCain/Palin supporters have started making and distributing T-shirts that say “Read My Lipstick: MCain/Palin 2008″. And wearing them in large numbers.

This is deployment of multi-leveled irony as an offensive weapon. They are taking Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” remark and slugging him in the face with it. They are taking the MSM’s vile smears and insinuations about Palin’s sex life and sexual presence and slugging them in the face with that. They are kicking Gloria Steinem and every desexualized “Palin isn’t a woman” harridan in their collective teeth. Yes, they’re saying, you can be a former beauty queen who looks good in stockings and makeup and a pit bull at the same time, and we love you for it.

“Lipstick”, on pit bulls, on pigs, and on women, has been bouncing around as a loaded signifier in this campaign ever since the Palin nomination (was that only a couple of weeks ago?). With this move, the Palin supporters have appropriated it for their own. I predict that their opponents are not going to get it back; that every reference to lipstick from now on is going to remind everyone of the merciless, scurrilous rumor-mongering about Palin and how she has survived it with style just by unapologetically being who she is.

Whatever Sarah Palin’s substantive qualifications for VP may or may not be, I am an aficionado of political mockery and this is the sweetest, sharpest bit of street theater I have seen in decades. It’s a satirical body-slam of every dismissive talking head who has tried to declare Palin unqualified and unserious. It’s worthy of the Yippies in their heyday.

It’s not mainly Sarah Palin I’m admiring tonight, it’s her supporters, for cleverness and sheer brass. But OK, Palin deserves admiration too, for being the kind of person who can survive the most disgusting farrago of baseless shit I’ve ever seen flung at a politician, and for being the kind of person about whom this slogan can be such a devastating counterpunch.

Poor Obama. You have been so quickly and utterly outclassed at the charisma game. And by a gun-toting rural hick from a state nobody trendy ever goes to. That’s gotta hurt.

Of course, for Palin supporters that’s the final turn of the screw. Obama has already been responding to Palin’s presence in the race more than is tactically smart; that’s how he wound up uttering the “lipstick on a pig” gaffe they’re playing off of. He’s fraying, losing his cool. This is a shot — and a shrewd one, I’d say — at driving Obama completely bugfuck, increasing the odds he will melt down with a national audience watching.

None of it has anything to do with substance or issues of course. But considered purely as mindfuck it is beautiful. The Discordian in me bows in awe and respect.

I’m also a bit puzzled. When did conservatives — of all people — learn how to play this sort of game? Obviously while I wasn’t looking…

48 thoughts on “Heh — “Read My Lipstick”

  1. “Poor Obama. You have been so quickly and utterly outclassed at the charisma game.”

    All of this would not have mattered, if Hillary was with him on the ticket. The Democrats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, again…

  2. Here’s the really said part, Obama was never talking about Sarah Palin. The lipstick on a pig line was about McCain’s economic policy. McCain’s people gleefully took it out of context, and Obama’s people fell for it.

    The fact his supporters couldn’t be bothered to consider the whole of what Barack Obama said serves as an exemplar of the utter failure of modern educational philosophy. In short, it’s the liberals and leftists who are, in one way or another, doing the most damage to “Stumble Lips” Barry.

  3. It’s not *that* mindfucking: the “lipstick” meme came from Palin’s speech, so they haven’t exactly been appropriating it. And while I see lots of the left panicking about the latest polls, it seems a little hubristic for the other side to claim victory quite this early — I find the argument that the plot of the convention bumps has been fairly standard (with a bigger jump for McCain, but mainly through enervating his base) pretty convincing.

  4. Have to give credit to McCain, remembering the power of Conservative americans when he and his Rat buds tried 3 times to push their little Amnesty bill….the grass root Conservatives kicked them in the teeth. McCain, by choosing Gov. Palin, does seem to understand that w/o inspired Conservatives he was likely to end his career in the Senate, aka the Robt Byrd years. The fascinating result of what the McCain VP choice has done is not only energized the Conservative Right grass root but it has absolutely shown the power of Conservativism and that the USA remains more right of center than Left….we are not EuroPeons, yet! If McCain/Palin win the WH, there are some fascinating possibilities as the Conservatives will continue to remain on offense and start the long war to recapture our Culture of Freedom and Life!

  5. What is amazing to me is how quickly the McCain campaign is able to take Obama’s words (real gaffe or not) and spin them back in to useable attacks. The McCain campaign seems to really have its ah…stuff together now. Makes me wonder if they’ve re-animated Lee Atwater somehow. Truely amazing.

  6. Alan, you have to be really naïve to buy that. The line was scripted and planned in advance, and it can’t have been an accident. And coming in the context of Palin having a week earlier referred to herself as an X with lipstick, Obama was saying and meant to say “you’re not a pit bull, you’re a pig”. The rest of the paragraph may have been about the policies, but that line was intended to be understood as about Palin.

  7. ESR:
    Bush41′s “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge was turned into a fine suppository in ’92.
    The Obama campaign can let this jape take on some weight, then offer a fine bit of judo with it.
    If they’ve any cleverness left.

  8. I’d be as concerned as anyone if Palin had to assume the Presidency early in a McCain term.

    That said, the woman has already proven to be nothing less than indestructible. I don’t ever remember the MSM attempting, to this degree, to destroy someone. How many people in public or private life could have withstood such an onslaught of scrutiny and derision? They have nothing. And it’s not for lack of looking or fabricating.

    As I understand, the “lipstick” anecdote in her acceptance speech was an ad-lib; not written into the speech. Obama’s comment was clearly intended to connect to that anecdote. Yes, we all know it’s an old metaphor. But it was used by Obama in such a contrived way. He carefully maintained “plausible deniability” in case there was a backlash. The problem with that is people have to buy what your selling. When he made the statement, immediately, two wires touched in the brains of all who heard it. Translation:”She’s a pig.” Certainly not the intended meaning but it’s too late. Just like when Kerry said “If you don’t stay in school, you end up in Iraq.” Translation: “Only the uneducated, with no options, join the Military.”

    That ad-lib by Palin may one day be put in historical perspective. If Palin doesn’t make that statement, Obama almost certainly doesn’t make his. If a McCain-Palin victory is traced back to a precipitous decline by Obama that was triggered by the “lipstick” controversy, historians may argue that history was changed by that one spontaneous anecdote in an acceptance speech.

    Personally, I didn’t think it was very clever or cute, and maybe even a bit lame.

  9. Alan Kellogg: Here’s the really said part, Obama was never talking about Sarah Palin. The lipstick on a pig line was about McCain’s economic policy. McCain’s people gleefully took it out of context, and Obama’s people fell for it.

    The fact his supporters couldn’t be bothered to consider the whole of what Barack Obama said serves as an exemplar of the utter failure of modern educational philosophy. In short, it’s the liberals and leftists who are, in one way or another, doing the most damage to “Stumble Lips” Barry.

    This whole thing is the opposite of Bitter-gate, which was a legitimate gaffe, and extremely stupid. Pig-gate is just the most recent example of how the media does *not* have a left-wing bias. Apparently “lipstick on a pig” is a saying, and obviously the Republicans and their allied talking heads are taking it out of context. Congrats to ESR and the rest of the Palin cult for making this such a successful hit job on Obama.

  10. “Palin deserves admiration too, for being the kind of person who can survive the most disgusting farrago of baseless shit I’ve ever seen flung at a politician”

    Um, where have you been for the last thirty years? The media, and the left in general, has been all about the destruction of right-leaning politicians since before the Reagan years. I’m sure that the success of ‘bringing Nixon down’ had something to do with it. Have you not seen the steady stream of ‘Bush is an idiot’ crap? What about how ‘stupid’ Dan Qualye was? “The Gingrich that Stole Christmas?” The last guy from the left to get even a taste of this sort of crap was Gary Hart.

    Granted, the ferocity of these attacks (make no mistake, that is what they are) has been quite spectacular. But it’s nothing out of the ordinary for the treatment of non-leftists by the media organs of the world.

  11. Matt Lemmons:Pig-gate is just the most recent example of how the media does *not* have a left-wing bias.

    Do you seriously want to bring up media bias? When Chris “chills up my leg” Matthews gets tapped to anchor convention coverage with Keith Olbermann? When Us magazine puts the Obama’s on the cover, the headline is “Why she loves him”, but when Gov. Palin is on the cover, the headline is “Secrets, Lies, and Scandal”? In surveys of editors and journalists, 80-90% report voting Democrat. You are in a fantasy world if you can’t see that the overwhelming majority of American media leans left. I’ll grant that talk radio and Fox news are exceptions. Even I can see that Fox leans right, despite their “Fair and Balanced” mantra.

  12. Matt, I’m not going to repeat myself. If you have a serious answer to this, please state it. Otherwise, stop pretending. There’s no “apparently” about it being a common saying, but that’s not the point; the point is the context in which he said it.

  13. “Poor Obama. You have been so quickly and utterly outclassed at the charisma game. And by a gun-toting rural hick from a state nobody trendy ever goes to. That’s gotta hurt.”

    Certainly he’s had trouble with her while she remains a novelty. But it’s not clear to me that in the longer run he’s clearly outclassed. (And I doubt I will ever say “utterly outclassed” here unless I also precede it with something like “after he started self-destructing.”) Maintaining popular appeal over the long run doesn’t seem to be quite the same trick as making a splash; there’s a reason that there’s a cliche of bounces around this time.

    On the other hand, Obama may truly turn out to be clearly outclassed. Obama’s charisma-powered star rose impressively fast in the national Democratic party organization, no small feat. But to me (admittedly without knowing any of the details), Palin winning a primary against a sitting governor sounds even more impressive. Alaska is not the whole US, so even if her primary victory really is evidence of extraordinary political charisma, it won’t necessarily translate to a national election. Alaska might turn out to be at least as much like the US as the national Democratic party organization is, though.

    (I am trying to see effective charisma secondhand, since none of the viable candidates does much for me directly.)

  14. >Um, where have you been for the last thirty years? The media, and the left in general, has been all about the destruction of right-leaning politicians since before the Reagan years.

    You’re right, of course. I think the smears on Palin hit a new low in combined nastiness and lack of substance, though. Only the hit-jobs on Gingrich and Ken Starr came close, and even they weren’t this bad.

  15. William Newman: Note that she then went on to soundly beat a former two term governor who had been forced to skip one cycle because he was term limited.

    C. Smith: many people will certainly remember G. H. W. Bush and his casually broken signature campaign pledge, but given that McCain and Palin are convincingly positioning themselves as “not-Bush” (the son), will that just remind and reinforce how they aren’t like either? (Both of whom are at the very least, quoting Peggy Noonan, “great wasters of political capital”.)

  16. You’re right, of course. I think the smears on Palin hit a new low in combined nastiness and lack of substance, though. Only the hit-jobs on Gingrich and Ken Starr came close, and even they weren’t this bad.

    Surprised you didn’t invoke Clarence Thomas…

  17. >Do you seriously want to bring up media bias? When Chris “chills up my leg” Matthews gets tapped to anchor convention coverage with Keith Olbermann? When Us magazine puts the Obama’s on the cover, the headline is “Why she loves him”, but when Gov. Palin is on the cover, the headline is “Secrets, Lies, and Scandal”? In surveys of editors and journalists, 80-90% report voting Democrat. You are in a fantasy world if you can’t see that the overwhelming majority of American media leans left. I’ll grant that talk radio and Fox news are exceptions. Even I can see that Fox leans right, despite their “Fair and Balanced” mantra.

    Yeah, I do. Note that I didn’t say that the media had a right-wing bias. I just think the media has proven time and time again that it’s focused on the inane, particularly the inane as brought up by the partisan blogosphere. Not that Armed and Dangerous is part of that (and that’s not a sarcastic remark). It doesn’t matter which side of the blogosphere the BS comes from, the media is sure to bring on idiots to talk about it.

    Perhaps unlike you, I am not any happier when the media demonstrates bias towards one political view. The important enemy to me is not the right-wing, which has a place in American politics. It’s the pundit, the blabbering fool masquerading as a journalist.

  18. >Surprised you didn’t invoke Clarence Thomas…

    It may surprise you to learn that I don’t think Clarence Thomas was entirely innocent in that mess. Which doesn’t redeem Anita Hill for piling major lies on top of the minor charges I suspect were true, but I pity her more than despising her; she always struck me as a confused woman who started with a small but justified grievance and then wrapped fantasies around it so thickly that she could no longer tell the truth even in her own mind. And it especially doesn’t redeem the Left for using her so ruthlessly to conduct what Thomas aptly described as “an electronic lynching bee”.

  19. With the host of serious issues facing the US electorate in this election, I’m glad to see that the focus is clearly where it should be.

  20. “It’s the pundit, the blabbering fool masquerading as a journalist.”

    We agree on something. With three cable news channels, that type abounds. If there were more down the line, just the facts journalists out there, maybe we’d already know the following:

    The full extent of BHO’s financial dealings with Tony Rezko

    What, exactly Gov. Palin did with the Bridge to Nowhere Money

    A full, clear examination of both candidates economic plans

    I could go on, but all of these issues will be much talked about, spinned, folded, and mutilated, without much real examination.

  21. >With the host of serious issues facing the US electorate in this election, I’m glad to see that the focus is clearly where it should be.

    Not so fast. While “whack a mole” might be fun, it’s invalid. When they press Obama on qualifications, he “doesn’t want to talk about his resume.” Foreign policy? Not a good subject either. FISA? Let’s drop that too. Of course people supporting Obama want to move to “other important issues” when the current one in sinking.

    The important question is “what” is an important issue? I’d wager that one of the most important is how a president reacts under pressure. Obama is showing he folds and wants to move elsewhere. When Putin is starring you down, changing the discussion to health care isn’t an option.

    So yes, I’d agree that the focus is where it should be: Obama’s ability to react under pressure when things aren’t going his way.

    As an aside, Mike Gravel was invited to an “unbiased” radio show. Google the results – downright entertaining.

  22. Ever notice that the left-wing-pushed “important issues” never are important? Remember the 2000 election where the Democrats were angry that–with bin Laden on the rise, and having blown up the USS Cole, with gas prices starting to rise, with the collapse of the stock market–Bush wasn’t talking about the all-important “Patients’ Bill of Rights”?

    Funny, too, how issues that were all-important a few years ago, like the assault weapons ban, are distractions now that they’re dragging Democrats down.

  23. Interestingly enough, Bush in 2004 brought up a REALLY important issue–Social Security solvency–and the Democrats denied it was a problem, and made sure after he was reelected that he couldn’t do anything about it.

  24. On the topic of media bias…
    I have seen what people on this blog say about the MSM being very left-leaning, and I have seen the rhetoric of Media Matters and similar organizations on the Left about the MSM being very right-leaning. I have not checked out any of this myself; it seems to be a waste of time. My question is, what is it about this perspective (MSM left-leaning) that makes it more credible than Media Matters’s?

  25. I don’t know, maybe the fact that Media Matters still says Rather’s fake Bush National Guard records are real?

  26. I haven’t heard of that, but my point still stands. There are many people who claim that the MSM is biased against them.

  27. > Here’s the really said part, Obama was never talking about Sarah Palin. The lipstick on a pig line was about McCain’s economic policy.

    No, it wasn’t. But, keep telling yourself that. And, while you’re at it, tell yourself that the “old fish” comment that followed wasn’t yet another dig at McCain’s age.

    However, the fact that you want to deny it is interesting.

    Obama’s big selling points are his “smarts” and communication skills. If he actually didn’t intend what everyone heard, one or both of those are undercut.

    So, do you want to go with “Obama isn’t as smart as we’ve been saying” or do you want to go with “he’s not a very good communicator”? If you don’t accept either one of those, you’re stuck with his comment about lipstick on a pig and a stinking old fish (wrapped in new paper) were about Palin and McCain respectively.

  28. >When did conservatives — of all people — learn how to play this sort of game? Obviously while I wasn’t looking…

    It’s a human game, and we play those very well, having had a lot of practice. I’d take a look at the satires of Juvenal, or maybe some of Isaiah 42-43.

  29. > As I understand, the “lipstick” anecdote in her acceptance speech was an ad-lib; not written into the speech.

    It might have been an ad-lib in that speech, but she’d been using it for a while.

    I suspect that part of prepping for a major speech with a teleprompter includes having things to say when it goes out (as it did) while waiting for it to get fixed (which it didn’t).

    I’ll bet that the hockey-mom statement was cued-up.

    And, there should be a market for reliable teleprompters. Obama has had at least one failure this campaign, and he didn’t recover nearly as well.

  30. They in the media ask all these questions of Sarah Palin, like “Is that baby really yours or your daughters? And shouldn’t you have aborted it since it’s damaged goods?”

    They recently dispatched a team up to Alaska to go through her garbage, old expense accounts, etc.

    Funny how they never seem to ask questions of Obama, like his associations with new left terrorist Bill Ayers, his black nationalist church he went to, etc.

    Thank god for talk radio asking these questions and not letting Obama having a free ride.
    And yes the MSM is liberally biased, open your eyes people. (Which by the way would not really be a problem IF THEY WOULD OWN UP TO IT and quit saying they are objective, unbiased purveyors of news.)

  31. >”My question is, what is it about this perspective (MSM left-leaning) that makes it more credible than Media Matters’s?”

    Trying to find a fair “disinterested” or neutral party to take a serious look helps. Is it possible to be disinterested? I don’t know. I do know that UCLA isn’t known as a bastion of the GOP and they did an honest to goodness attempt to quantify it. Results:

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/groseclose/Media.Bias.8.htm

    Scroll way down for easy to read tabular formats. The study is 4 years out of date but I don’t think that matters as not much has changed. What has changed has changed for the worst. The table that grabbed me, bits to follow, ranks with 0=GOP and 100-Dem.

    1 Newshour with Jim Lehrer 55.8
    2 CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown 56.0
    3 ABC Good Morning America 56.1
    4 Drudge Report 60.4
    5 Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume 39.7
    6 ABC World News Tonight 61.0
    7 NBC Nightly News 61.6
    8 USA Today 63.4
    9 NBC Today Show 64.0
    10 Washington Times 35.4
    11 Time Magazine 65.4
    12 U.S. News and World Report 65.8
    13 NPR Morning Edition 66.3
    14 Newsweek 66.3
    15 CBS Early Show 66.6
    16 Washington Post 66.6
    17 LA Times 70.0
    18 CBS Evening News 73.7
    19 New York Times 73.7
    20 Wall Street Journal 85.1

    What I find interesting is to get anything sub-50 they had to use the Washington Times and a special report with Brit Humes while #18, CBS Evening News, is at 73.7. Isn’t that supposed to be straight news?

    Read the study and then let us know what you think versus “Media Matters.”

    The left gained a large number of tools that the right wasn’t prepared for. Eric’s post on Gramscian damage shows it came at a price. I’m wondering if those tools are now ineffective (people have learned to perceive through them) so just the damage remains?

    Actually that’s the bit that amuses me: educated people using the same methods to defeat the agitprop the hard left puts out. It’s why I enjoy reading ESR’s posts.

  32. Andy, I’ve heard the original. Obama first said something about John McCain’s economic policy — witthout detailing what that was — and then said McCain’s proposal was like putting lipstick on a pig. In other words, a cosmetic change to what Obama considered an ugly proposal. My Google fu stinks on ice, but I doubt not better able folks could find his original words.

    Here’s a bit of wisdom for you; never make the same error your enemy makes. Obama’s supporters have been underestimating McCain and Palin, don’t you go underestimating Obama.

  33. The high winds here on the west coast of Ohio last night and the havoc they were playing with the reliability of the electric supply prevented me from confirming that my post had made it online. Now that I know it’s there, I wanted to let you know that I went in search of some of those designs you were talking about and (after wishing that I’d have thought of them first!), I posted them at:

    http://observationaltherapist.com/the-lipstick-heartland-fights-back-with-humor/

    I also posted a special thank you to you for bringing this to my attention.

    (aka Fawnn)

  34. If Alan wants to go with “Obama didn’t try to say what everyone took him as saying”, he’s saying that Obama is not as smart as advertised, is not as skilled a communicator as advertised, or some of both.

    So, what is the cause of the miscommunication?

    It’s not underestimating Obama to ask the question.

  35. Re:

    “When did conservatives — of all people — learn how to play this sort of game? Obviously while I wasn’t looking…”

    They could conceivably have learned it from this blog or from your essays, because they might have found your web-site by Googling “Second Amendment.”

  36. For some more conservatives having this sort of fun, see “The Doom Ticket” at:

    http://minx.cc/?post=273406

    The background info on the photo used can be found at:

    http://tinyurl.com/597kbd

    Both Not Safe For Work, former for language (needed to make the poster work, plus in some comments), latter for the “political pornography” the photographer created with Photoshop on her own (she’s quite a piece of work, the sort of person who abuses children to get the desired unhappy faces that “reflect [her] frustration with both the Bush administration and Christian Fundamentalism in the United States.” (Wikipedia)).

  37. >If Alan wants to go with “Obama didn’t try to say what everyone took him as saying”, he’s saying that Obama is not as smart as advertised, is not as skilled a communicator as advertised, or some of both.

    So, what is the cause of the miscommunication?

    It’s not underestimating Obama to ask the question.<

    The only two options you’re giving us are generalizations based on one pseudo-gaffe. If you don’t acknowledge that Obama is charismatic, then I think your reaction to him is exceptional. And I have yet to see anything big indicating that Obama lacks general intelligence. Should I change my perception of Obama based on the BS surrounding one sentence taken out of context?

    No.

  38. Wait, never mind: The Biden pick was pretty uncreative. That did not make me think any better of Obama.

  39. What I can’t figure out is how much of this is extreme cunning by the McCain campaign, and how much just clever opportunism, but it’s striking the way McCain’s attack ads have put the Obama campaign in a bind.

    If he goes on defense, he spends all his resources at best partially negating the attacks.
    If he ignores them, he looks weak and gets smeared.
    If he responds in kind, he blasts the whole post-partisan-unity-new-politics-agent-of-change narrative he’s spent the campaign to date establishing below the waterline. Worse, it drives up the negates on both candidates – and McCain, with a much more established image (as the left-leaning media’s favorite non-Bush Republican for years) is much better positioned to withstand that.

  40. >If he responds in kind, he blasts the whole post-partisan-unity-new-politics-agent-of-change narrative he’s spent the campaign to date establishing below the waterline.

    And that’s the problem. There was never any there there. There was nothing behind the hysteria and the chanting.

    Obama had a good claim on being the bargainer who could grant whites racial absolution in their own eyes (see my next post). But he raised the agent-of-change stakes to an unsustainable high, with weird claims about the day of his election being the day we start healing the planet and reversing the rise in sea level. Maybe his worshipers made him nuts, I dunno. But the collapse of that myth was inevitable.

  41. It’s pretty obvious that David Axelrod’s strings are being pulled by Karl Rove.

    I think part of the problem with the entire Lipstick comment goes back to the fundamental draw of Barak Obama: his supporters see in him what they want to see. He is the embodiment of their hopes and dreams. When he says something — anything — his believers make it mean what they want to hear.

    His adherents want attacks on Palin and McCain. Obama says something. The crowd takes from it what it wants.

    Some of Barak Obama’s supporters are his biggest liabilities. He’s kind of screwed, but there’s a long way to go before the elections. If his most strident (and unhinged) supporters keep turing up the volume, they are going to sink him.

    I question whether they’ll recognize it’s in their party’s best interest for them to sit down and shut up … because everything is always about them.

  42. When did conservatives — of all people — learn how to play this sort of game? Obviously while I wasn’t looking…

    Karl Rove taught them. You’ve been asleep.

  43. > If you don’t acknowledge that Obama is charismatic, then I think your reaction to him is exceptional.

    I think that Obama is extremely charismatic. However, charisma is not a virtue, it is a tool that can be used for good or evil. I find it interesting that folks think that charisma is, in and of itself, a good thing.

    Unless you’re going to go with “he wasn’t trying to say that”, which brings his communication skills into question, we’re left with “why did he try to say it”.

    He surely didn’t intend for it to reflect badly on him. The fact that it did tells us something about his thought process.

    I’m just trying to figure out what.

    > Should I change my perception of Obama based on the BS surrounding one sentence taken out of context?

    WHich reminds me – what is your perception of Obama based on? Is it the results of his community organizing? He’s legislative successes in IL? How about the US Senate? His skill in beating Sen. Clinton for the nomination? The articles that he edited for HLR? His teaching at UofC? His speeches?

  44. Andy: My only point was that charisma = skill as a communicator. Obama’s skills as a communicator, the vast majority of the time, are great. I did not say that that is why I will vote for him. Although it would be dishonest to say that charisma isn’t a factor in *every* person’s vote. Although personal politics plays a role, people like Mondale and Dukakis lost in land-slides because no one liked them enough to vote for them.

    And I’m not sure what you want to know about my specific perception of Obama that’s very useful for the purposes of this discussion. But his speeches and his coolness and eloquence during interviews, mainly. I have not read his HLR articles (although IIRC what he mainly did was edit, not write) or looked into his community organizing history. His fellow UofC faculty members seem to have liked him, and I followed the primaries closely. But that’s not what makes me want to vote for him. I (and I think like most other people), pay attention to what the candidate says him-(or her-) self.

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