September 03, 2016

The (Pit) Bull Heard ‘Round the World…

Sarah Palin at Republican Convention 2008
Every four years, the American presidential election campaign generates a new batch of oft-cited political quotes.

On September 3, 2008, former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin uttered a line that was soon both famous and infamous.

That night at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, Palin gave a much-anticipated speech.

During it, the self-described “hockey mom” uttered these immortal words:

       “You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.”

The quip was widely repeated in news coverage and is now found in many books and on websites that collect famous quotations.

Interestingly, Palin didn’t create the “women + dog + lipstick” joke formula.

An earlier example appears in the 2005 book What Every Man Wants In A Woman / What Every Woman Wants In A Man, written by Texas televangelist Pastor John Hagee.

In that enlightening guide to male/female relations, Hagee wrote:

“Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick.”

I’m sure female readers of Hagee’s work enjoyed that knee slapper. (Amazingly, he followed it with an even worse one: “Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist.”)

Of course, Palin’s version of the woman/canine analogy became the most famous.

Piggy w lipstick-8x6After she said it, it was quoted, analyzed, praised and mocked for weeks in the news and around water coolers.

Even Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama couldn’t resist making a wisecrack that seemed to make a sly reference to it.

On September 10, 2008, while commenting on some of the policy “changes” proposed by Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, Obama used a version of an old joke about putting lipstick on pigs:

“That's not change,” he said of McCain’s proposals. “That's just calling the same thing something different. But you know, you can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.”

Well, holy moly! That got the Republicans as mad as honked-off horny toads! So, they responded by calling Obama, among other things, a sexist pig.

Naturally, that made the Democrats as mad as a bull seeing red, so they responded by saying...

Nevermind. We had to listen to porcine puns and canine quips by politicians, headline writers and the TV pundits for weeks. It drove us all crazy. (Me anyway.) 

I’m giving the animal rights group PETA the last word on the great animal + lipstick analogy debate of 2008.

PETA posted an anti-animal testing Google Adsense ad that came up on some websites if you searched the phrase “lipstick on a pig.”

The ad said:

“Lipstick on a pig? Pigs shouldn’t have lipstick unless they’ve been kissed. Help Pigs now!”

And, may the gods help us voters live through the latest rancorous, insult-filled presidential campaign.

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