Who would be shouting what right now if it were a different commonplace colloquialism? Supposing, say, John McCain got up at a rally and, describing Barack Obama's liberal elitism, said, "My friends, let's call a spade a spade ..."
There is disingenuousness aplenty in political circles today. It's fairly certain that if a Republican made a "lipstick on a pig" comment in a race involving a Democratic woman, GOP-ers would dismiss the resulting liberal outcry as yet another example of the PC police running amok. In the current situation they are wielding the political correctness nightstick with the gusto of the righteous getting to play the villain for once.
And by the same token, if McCain (or any other GOP-er) employed the "calling a spade ..." colloquialism, everyone would return to their familiar roles of outrage and outrage-at-the-outrage.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd summed up L'Affaire Lipstick correctly this morning: He called it a joke and a "bright shiny objects" issue—a distraction from "real" issues. And it is that. ("Spare me the phony outrage," Obama said today, actually sounding angry instead of whiny. Good for him.)
Obama's biggest blunder here wasn't lack of sensitivity as such, but lack of awareness of the need to be hypersensitive. The McCain campaign is cynically off base here (surprise!), but Obama should know well enough to not give the Republicans a line of attack, regardless of legitimacy.
What Obama and his campaign should be doing now is shifting the campaign story line away from Palin as fast as possible because she's not, you know, the GOP nominee for president.