Putting Lipstick on a Pig: McCain’s Pygmalion Complex with Sarah Palin

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Quick: What’s the difference between Joe Biden and a hockey mom running for vice-president? Answer: One of them is a pit bull-of-a-politician with a world of foreign-policy and lawmaking experience, while the other is, uh, Sarah Palin.

 Okay, so it’s not exactly a punch line, and it’s not exactly funny, unless you’re the sort who enjoys watching a slow-motion train wreck — a potential destination in our country’s itinerary, as the American public struggles with the weighty decision over whether to vote for a qualified politician of substance, education, experience and stature, or vote for Sarah Palin. One can only hope that John McCain has an awfully big tube of lipstick, because he’ll need it to put lipstick on that pig. To do this, he’ll need to accomplish three things. Here, the recently afflicted McCain’s pygmalion complex will come in handy.   

The Road to the White House in 3 Easy Steps

First, John McCain needs to keep convincing the American public that education, intelligence and experience are inherently bad things. This has been, so far, neatly accomplished by attaching the “elitist” label to those who speak with even a modicum of intelligence on matters of import, or, alternately, sticking the “elitist liberal” label to anyone who deigns to disagree with McCain’s kamikaze candidacy. The second step McCain needs to accomplish is a to give Sarah Palin a crash course in U.S. and world history, domestic and foreign policy, constitutional law, political science, presidential diplomacy, how to use a salad fork, and so on, while infusing her with the nuts-and-bolts nuances and the grasp of language necessary to speaking and acting authoritatively on such matters. The third step is to sequester his creation from the world — just like his predecessor, Professor Henry Higgins, did with Eliza Doolittle — while Sarah makes her Pygmalion transformation from Alaska’s shrill-voiced, caribou-killing, liar of a First Lady, to McCain’s Fair Lady.

The McCain campaign began working on that third step during the RNC convention, as they lobbed pre-emptive strikes toward the media, calling them sexist (while being at a loss, when asked, to produce evidence of this) and by attaching the “elitist liberal” label to the media. So it came as no surprise, after all this foreshadowing, when the McCain campaign announced they’d put a gag order on Sarah Palin: for now, there will be no questions, no interviews; Sarah Palin will give only scripted speeches and choreographed interviews to the American public. 

If this sounds familiar, there’s a reason for that. McCain — following ever-steadfastly in Bush’s footsteps — has actually taken a page from Bush’s ‘pre-packaged news’ campaign. Remember? It’s not been that long, really, since the American public learned that our evening news was being manufactured by the Bush Administration — produced by various government agencies, such as the Dept. of Defense, and delivered by actors posing as journalists, who were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to ask scripted questions of authorities, who were also being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, to give scripted answers — all designed to tell the American people what to think about issues, such as the war in Iraq and Medicare reform. Perhaps McCain will also take a page from George Bernard Shaw’s script, and only allow Palin to talk about the weather and other people’s health, should she be pressed into giving unscripted comments.

“The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain, and in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen”

Prof. Henry Higgins had an easier job of it — tasked with teaching only the linguistic facets of speaking on foreign places. Eliza had only to aspirate her h’s and draw her a’s into a long phoneme, while Sarah Palin will be expected to speak authoritatively on topics about which she currently commands next-to-nothing, in the way of knowledge or experience. Prof. Higgins also had more time — with a full six months to teach Eliza Doolittle to speak properly before her debut at the Embassy Ball (see photo, above /left).  McCain has a mere 26 days to teach Sarah Palin the fundamentals, beyond God’s plan, of war and peace before her second-coming in the vice-presidential debate on October 2nd. McCain’s hope is, of course, that once Sarah Palin has been refined with the proper tutoring, scripting and blocking, the American people will greet her encore performance with the sure belief that she always owned the knowledge, experience, temperament and good judgment to be vice-president of the United States.  

A tricky balancing act: How to give American women a voice, while telling them to shut up

The problem for the McCain campaign is the pesky media, not a factor in Higgins’ day. The media will likely continue hounding the McCain team, obsessing on highly personal details about Sarah’s life, such as her qualifications and experience, riddled as these are with discrepancies, controversy, scandals and lies. The media will no doubt question, too, the motives behind the McCain campaign’s decision to put a gag order on Sarah Palin. Feminists of good standing might also begin to question how the Republican Party — which is acting like they, themselves, invented the feminist cause and have simultaneously addressed the grievances of the suffragette movement in one fell swoop —  can also parade their poster child out with a gag across her mouth. But we trust the McCain campaign to do a good job with this. As we’ve learned over the past 8 years, if there’s one thing the Republicans do well, it’s putting on a good show: convincing the American people it’s raining, while they piss down our backs. On this note, we can hardly wait to see the unveiling of McCain’s pygmalion creation.


by Mantis Katz, for the canarypapers


Related links of interest: Sarah Palin and Mark Halperin’s complaints of “liberal media” 

….The very notion of the “Liberal Media” is one of the most inane myths in American politics — something spat out and repeated in the lowest right-wing sewers for so long that it has become conventional wisdom — but Halperin’s frequent vouching for that myth, in his role of “journalist,” illustrates all one needs to know about him. The media’s contempt for both John Kerry and Al Gore was matched only by their reverence for George Bush’s swagger. The first several months of media coverage this year was dominated by Jerimiah Wright, lapel pins, bowling scores, Bittergate and elitism. And it is highly unlikely that there has even been a time in American history when the media was as subservient to Government as they were during the Bush era. It’s literally hard to imagine a claim that ought to be more discredited in general than the notion of the “liberal media” and its “anti-Republican bias”….

TheModerateVoice: The Sarah Palin Cone of Silence 

Rumors are slowly crystallizing into confirmed reports when it comes to the dating phase of America’s relationship with Sarah Palin. Following our brief introductions, this particular shiddach will apparently be overseen by Team McCain adhering to ancient traditions – there will be no future dates without strict chaperones in attendance and the conversations will be passed through the mothers. Should we wish to know anything further about the Alaska Governor, the campign team will define what it is we should know and when we will find out about it….

Lastly…. Somewhere during the process of learning what exactly a vice-president does, Sarah will also need to take a crash course in what a vice-presidential candidate does — specifically, what a vice-presidential candidate on the McCain ticket does, to promote the McCain platform, about which she is also apparently clueless.  



4 Responses

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  1. Excellent analysis. Thanks!

    Sarah Palin: Sincere but misinformed

    I like Sarah Palin. She is sincere and full of energy. But she is woefully misinformed.

    No sex education! Whoops! Teenager has a baby! Shouldn’t that be a clue?
    Brother-in-law is harassing her sister. Palin pulls strings to get him fired. Is that going too far?
    Doesn’t like some of the books in the local library. She asks the librarian if she would mind removing certain books. The librarian indicates she will not tolerate censorship. Palin gets her fired.

    The common thread here is the self-appointed assumption that what I (Palin) decide is better for you than what you decide. Ohh,
    that smacks of totalitarianism! Too bad it hasn’t worked, doesn’t work, and won’t work in the future. Most amazing of all (and tragic) is that some people don’t like to think for themselves. They are mentally lazy, and oh-so willing to let others make these crucial decisions for them. You could see hoards of these mindless drones waving flags and cheering her at the Republican Convention.

    Reminds of the Stockholm syndrome. The captives after a while begin to idolize their kidnappers. “I’m going to restrict what you can say and do, but trust me, this will be good for you!” Yeah!
    Pit-bull with lipstick!
    (And the crowd goes wild!)


    September 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm

  2. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptMcCain has a mere 26 days to teach Sarah Palin the fundamentals, beyond God’s plan, of war and peace before her second-coming in the vice-presidential debate on October 2nd. McCain’s hope is, of course, that once Sarah Palin has been … […]

  3. Read this for your daughters!

    Senator Clinton and Governor Palin are proof that women can and do diverge on important issues.

    Even on the question of whether women should vote!

    Most people are totally in the dark about HOW the suffragettes won votes for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did.

    Suffragettes were opposed by many women who were what was known as ‘anti.’

    The most influential ‘anti’ lived in the White House. First Lady Edith Wilson was a wealthy Washington widow who married President Wilson in 1915.

    Her role in Wilson’s decision to jail and torture Alice Paul and hundreds of other suffragettes will never be fully known, but she was outraged that these women picketed her husband’s White House.

    I’d like to share a women’s history learning opportunity…

    “The Privilege of Voting” is a new free e-mail series that follows eight great women from 1912 – 1920 to reveal ALL that happened to set the stage for women to win the vote in England and America.

    It’s a real-life soap opera! And it’s ALL true!

    Powerful suffragettes Alice Paul and Emmeline Pankhurst are featured, along with TWO gorgeous presidential mistresses, First Lady Edith Wilson, Edith Wharton, Isadora Duncan and Alice Roosevelt.

    There are tons of heartache on the rocky road to the ballot box, but in the end, women WIN!

    Thanks to the suffragettes, women have voices and choices!

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    Subscribe free at


    September 7, 2008 at 6:41 pm

  4. […] We’ve seen this same tack replay in recent days during the Wall Street crisis. No need to puzzle over McCain’s fist-flailing and wild contradictions from one day to the next. This is simply what he does. He’s not so concerned about the facts and inner workings of the situation at hand, as he is about preserving the appearance of being right. The question then becomes: on what does John McCain base his pre-conceived answers? Like anyone else, he likely bases his original answers on information. Problems arise when (1) the information changes, as is wont to happen in real life, or (2) his original conclusion proves to be wrong. This is the real McCain. The only reason we’re seeing him so clearly, is because he’s standing under a bigger microscope. It’s historically in keeping with his character to attack those who challenge him, to erratically say and do things that make absolutely no sense, and to lie. Quit calling McCain’s Spanish Inquisition a “gaffe,” folks. It’s a character flaw. And it doesn’t take much imagination to see how this flaw could play out in various foreign policy exchanges.  Repeat after me, Professor Higgins: “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain, and in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurrica… […]

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