Tag Archives: smear campaigns

Smearing 101

It seems that there are a few folks who need clarification as to what a “smear campaign” actually is. Let’s start by defining the term itself:

A smear campaign is an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual’s or group’s reputation, credibility, and character. “Mud slinging”, like negative campaigning, most often targets government officials, politicians, political candidates, and other public figures. However, private persons or groups may also become targets of smear campaigns perpetrated in schools, companies, institutions, families, and other social groups.

Smear tactics differ from normal discourse or debate in that they do not bear upon the issues or arguments in question. A smear is a simple attempt to malign a group or an individual and to attempt to undermine their credibility.

Smears often consist of ad hominem attacks in the form of unverifiable rumors and are often distortions, half-truths, or even outright lies; smear campaigns are often propagated by gossip spreading.


So, making factually-based criticisms of a (Vice) Presidential candidate’s knowledge on foreign policy or economics, for instance, is not smearing. These are legitimate issues relevant to the position s/he is running for.

On the other hand, it is smearing to repeatedly claim or insinuate that a particular candidate is a terrorist, a foreign national or a sexist, for example, when there is no evidence to support the claims or the claims have been proven false.

In short, all smears are criticisms, but not all criticisms are smears.

There’s really not a lot more to say on the subject; it’s really quite that simple. So that’s our lesson for today. Class dismissed.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

Lipstick Smears

Boy, the Obama haters are getting desperate!

Obama says, “You can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig.”

This is obviously a sexist remark directed at Sarah Palin. What else could it possibly be?

I’m actually starting to feel embarrassed for these people. They’re grasping at straws here. The phrase “lipstick on a pig” is probably older than Obama and Palin combined (although possibly not McCain). It’s a common turn of phrase used by politicians of all varieties. As a matter of fact, John McCain spoke those exact same words when referring to Hillary Clinton’s health care plan:

There was one glaring problem with the argument: McCain himself used the exact same phrase to describe Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care plan just last year. “I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” McCain said in October of 2007, describing Clinton’s universal health care plan when she was running in the Democratic primary. He also, in February 2007, used the phrase to describe conflict over a resolution on the Iraq War. “It gets down to whether you support what is being done in this new strategy or you don’t,” McCain said at the time. “You can put lipstick on a pig, [but] it’s still a pig, in my view.”

Washington Post — The Trail

Did any of these same people cry sexism then? Of course not. The words were uttered by someone they’re in love with and directed at someone they despise. And that means that it can’t possibly be sexist or wrong in any way.

Doublethink at its finest.

It’s sad to watch. The Obama haters don’t even seem to realize how pathetic and desperate they look. Their favorite smears have been debunked, so now they’re desperately clinging to a metaphorical tube of lipstick like a drowning man to a life preserver.

Why would they keep repeating the same old debunked smears over and over again anyway? It’s almost as if they don’t have any legitimate dirt on Obama. I’m not saying Obama’s perfect; it’s just very curious.

So, back to the typical right-wing double standard: John McCain uses a particular turn of phrase and it’s fine and dandy. Barack Obama uses the exact same turn of phrase and it makes him a sexist.

And the phrase is a common one, so much so that Torie Clarke, the former Pentagon communications director in the Bush administration — a Republican and a woman — named her book “Lipstick on a Pig: Winning in a No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game.”

Washington Post — The Trail

One of the stupidest responses I’ve seen to Obama’s alleged sexism was by someone who said, “[…] anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave knows that the ‘lipstick’ line is directly associated with Palin.”

Sorry, Cavewoman, but anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave knows that the “lipstick line” predates Palin by several generations at least.

But the funniest and most ironic response I’ve seen was by another woman suggesting that “ALL WOMEN SEND OBAMA OUR LIPSTICK!!!!” to send a message. Yeah, because assuming that all women even wear lipstick isn’t sexist at all.

Geniuses, the lot.

And while we’re on the subject of sexism, I wonder what the Obama haters think about John McCain calling his own wife a trollop (in reference to her makeup) and a cunt?

[…] Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, “You’re getting a little thin up there.” McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

Drudge Retort

I’ve been wondering, for quite some time, what McCain supporters think of this. I keep asking, but they won’t tell me. It’s almost as if they were in denial or something.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


I’ve been a having a discussion with a blogger named Rigg, who said regarding Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, that “in the Democrats’ view all children are game if it will take down their opponent”. This extraordinary statement comes at the very end of the post. I commented only to point out that Obama himself stated that Palin’s family — especially her children — are off limits and that he would fire anyone from his campaign who takes part in the rumor mongering.

Rigg objected to Obama’s public statement on the grounds that he made it after the attacks had already started. I then asked when he thought would have been appropriate, and pointed out the problems with making such a statement prior to the onset of the attacks. After two days of twisting like a worm on a hook, Rigg has not yet answered that simple question.

I honestly cannot understand the reasoning behind Rigg’s position. Rather than simply acknowledging that Obama has taken an honorable stance on the Bristol Palin issue, he is absolutely determined to turn even that — a point on which people from both sides can actually agree — into a point of contention. It’s mind-boggling.

Now, I wasn’t planning to blog about this; it’s really a minor point and more of an annoyance than anything else. But then I saw this:

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