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Lipstick, Dipstick

A Commentary By Debra J. Saunders

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday -- thereby spawning one of those vacuous debates that will consume at least two days of air time on cable news talk shows.

Thank Sen. John McCain's campaign for holding a press call afterward asking Obama to apologize for comparing running mate Sarah Palin to a pig. And then you get instant mindless controversy.

Obama dismissed the gambit as "phony outrage." And: "Nobody actually believes that these folks are offended." No lie. It's why folks call this the silly season.

Obama also had said, "You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called 'change;' it's still going to stink after eight years." What next? Will McCain's Navy demand that Obama apologize to old fish, too?

As for Obama, he, too, has climbed on to the fake umbrage platform. Note how the instant anyone criticizes him, Obama decries "Swift boat politics" -- evoking the independent 2004 campaign that took on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's war record and character.

Obama just can't help himself. The Democratic nominee brought up the "Swift boat" ads again Wednesday -- undeterred by the left's series of scurrilous personal attacks against GOP vice presidential candidate Palin and her family. It started with a Daily Kos story alleging that Palin was actually the grandmother of her infant son, Trig.

But it didn't end there. The folks at Factcheck.org felt compelled to respond to a flood of falsehoods being spread about Palin. As the organization reported, "She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library."

"She was never a member of the (secessionist) Alaskan Independence Party." And: "Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools." Straight news stories have probed meetings in which Palin, then a rookie mayor, asked Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Emmons about removing books from the library. Palin never named any specific books. No books were banned. The librarian kept her job. But none of that matters.

In a 2006 gubernatorial debate, Palin said she believed in a "healthy debate" in public schools between creationism and evolution -- and that reasonable view has been contorted into Palin wanting to force her creationist views down others' throats. Actually, it is the side that wants no debate that is intolerant.

Methinks if the media believe in such strict scrutiny of Palin's past, then perhaps reporters might want to look at Obama's association with Bill Ayers, formerly of the bomb-happy radical Weather Underground when Obama was a state legislator. Or is it only permissible to have flirted with your political persuasion's far side only if you are a Democrat?

Yes, Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. Still, she was against it. And try as they might, Team Obama can't erase the fact that Palin stood up to the good old boys in the Alaskan GOP establishment.

The real smear is the insistence of Camp Obama that Palin is patently inexperienced -- an odd claim coming from a campaign whose candidate began running for the White House two years into his first term as a U.S. senator.

Now maybe Palin will stumble and show the country that she is not ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. But the Democrats can't wait for that day, or limit the debate to the issues, because they want so much to destroy this backwoods upstart.

In that spirit, South Carolina Democratic Chairwoman Carol Fowler told Politico.com that Palin's "primary qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion." If I were Obama, I'd stow the Swift boat laments.

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