Lipstick on a Pig

I used the phrase “putting lipstick on a pig” a couple of months ago at a ministerial meeting. One of the local tribes recently decided that California didn’t have enough casinos yet, so they’re building a new one in Twentynine Palms.

They’re taking a weird tack. On the one hand, they’re asserting their sovereignty gives them the authority to do whatever they want with their land. But they’re also very deferential to public opinion. So they’re sending teams around to talk to anyone who will listen to tell them how wonderful it will be to have a casino next door. They’ll have a cheap buffet, an RV toilet-dump facility, non-alcoholic drinks for marines who aren’t 21 yet, all-green carbon-neutral megawatt billboards that nevertheless keep our dark skies dark, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Having been at one such presentation, I reported all this to my colleagues, adding in summary that, in my opinion, it would be putting lipstick on a pig.

(This is not to say I oppose it. When it comes to the law, I’m nearly as libertarian as ever. When it comes to ethics, of course, I would counsel members of my church not to patronize the casino. Or, better yet, patronize only the money-losing parts like the cheap buffet.)

So. I’ll be the first to grant that “lipstick on a pig” is a colorful way of saying you’re trying to make something ugly more attractive.

Until two weeks ago, that is. Since then, it’s been co-opted, and Obama is smart enough to know that. So he what he was doing.

This response from his campaign is disingenuous:

The McCain campaign’s attack tonight is a pathetic attempt to play the gender card about the use of a common analogy – the same analogy that Senator McCain himself used about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care plan just last year.

But Hillary hadn’t just made a huge speech comparing herself to an animal with lipstick.

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