Is "lipstick on a pig" sexist? No. Was Obama calling Palin a pig? Certainly not.
There are several issues with the latest flare-up over lipstick, but one of the most important is what it says about our society: That we must change our vocabulary because a WOMAN has entered the presidential race. There were charges of sexism during Hillary Clinton's candidacy and some of those accusations are warranted, but when a candidate, male or female, has to change the phrases they use solely because they have the possibility of being misconstrued as sexist (or racist for that matter), it is ludicrous. It further illustrates that sexism does exist and that people indeed don't think that Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton are equal to Barack Obama and John McCain.
Politicians and their staff shouldn't spin generic remarks out of control for political benefit, but they do. If either party truly wants to be the party of feminists, then they should act as if women do belong, not as if they are wimps whose feelings might be hurt. There is hypocrisy across the board on this one, as Robert writes, but I do disagree with him that Obama needs to be hypersensitive. For political reasons, Robert is right, but I would argue that Obama was continuing his campaign as normal, as if there wasn't something historic about this race. For the sake of women and minorities in politics, that is exactly what he (and McCain and Palin) should do. If we keep pretending it's normal for a woman to be in the White House, maybe someday it will be. But alas, I'm not naïve, if strategists think crying sexism or racism will get voters in their camp, we'll see a lot of it. I'll just have to tune it out.