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PRUDEN: The helpless little lady is back in town as Obama defends her honor

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The helpless little lady, who depends on a man to defend her honor, her ego and her perks, was thought to have been driven out of town by the feminists. But she's back.

President Obama, who demonstrated in the election just past that he's still the tall, dark and handsome prince of feminine fantasy, stepped up manfully to defend the honor of Susan E. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations who eagerly joined the spinning of the enormous fib that the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was about a homemade video.

He didn't say much about the specifics of the lie she told, but warned skeptics of the administration's cockamamie excuse for the Libyan calamity to stay away from her. If certain U.S. senators want to go after somebody, he told a press conference (his first in eight months), "they should go after me, and I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous."

A gentleman playing dragon-slayer would have sent his seconds to call on Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham to offer them their choice of pistol or sword, but that's not the way a lady's honor is avenged in Chicago. So he growled, in the way of a Bugsy or an Al, to "come get me." And don't wait until St. Valentine's Day.

Such a patronizing defense of Ms. Rice would, back in the day, elicit only snorts of scorn and resentment from the likes of Bella Abzug or Gloria Steinem. A fish riding to the rescue on Ms. Steinem's bicycle could take care of a couple of senators in short order. But that was then, and we've got a new now.

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Nancy Pelosi, just in from San Francisco, the bastion of the manly arts, sounded like a little lady herself. Mrs. Pelosi has yet to come to terms with the fact that she is merely a former House speaker, and she had convened the Democratic women's caucus to lift their spirits. Two more years of life in the chorus was not quite what Mrs. Pelosi promised them. She was not stepping down as the leader of the Democratic minority, as many of her colleagues had expected.

She first wanted to correct something she had said earlier: "I said we did not have the majority but we have the gavel. Excuse me, we don't have the gavel. We have our own gavel. We have something more important. We have unity. We do not have the gavel, we do not have the majority. But we have unity."

Having cleared that up, she took questions. When Luke Russert of NBC News asked how she would respond to certain of her colleagues who say that at 72 she should step aside because she's too old, the little ladies of the caucus, flanking her on stage, hissed and booed.

"Let's for a moment honor [that] as a legitimate question," Mrs. Pelosi told the inquiring reporter, "although it's quite offensive that you don't realize that, I guess."

Poor piggish clod, he got it backward. He doesn't know that 72 is the new 27, as any offended feminist could have told him, and all women are young and they're all smart, clever, and beautiful besides. The ex-speaker, summoning her inner cougar, argued that "everything I have done in my almost decade now of leadership is to elect younger and newer people to the Congress."

But this was smokescreen and subterfuge, all to distract attention from the scandal at hand, the administration's bungling of the tragedy in Libya. Mr. McCain got it right, that Mr. Obama is guilty of either cover-up or incompetence. Instead of offering to punch Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham in the nose on behalf of Ms. Rice, the president could explain why he sent her to the U.N. armed only with a lie or with "intelligence" he knew was bogus.

The president's native eloquence has gotten him out of jams with ladies all his life, and he has not yet learned that the buck (and the bunk) stops with him. He has been encouraged to think he is immune from reality by his Chicago pals, by his rich Hollywood friends and donors, by party hacks, and by the scribbler class, which wants only to caress and coddle — and shut up anyone with a question. But reality is not a lady, unimpressed by election returns, and ultimately demands a full accounting of swindle and deceit.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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