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Among likely voters, John McCain now leads Barack Obama by 10 percentage points, according to Gallup.

"Forget about Kansas, what's the matter with America ????" Obama supporters are furiously asking themselves.

The Obama campaign's embarrassing meltdown in response to the McCain surge (or the Palin pounce, as I like to call it) is telling.

First, trot Joe Biden out to accuse the governor of Alaska of being a lightweight. Send surrogates to accuse her of everything you imagine conservatives to be: mean-spirited, sarcastic, mocking, nasty, hateful, "shrill."

Newsflash, buddies: That may be the way the good-humored retorts of a moosehunting mother of five sound to you, but not to the rest of America.

So next, lash out wildly as your world tumbles about you. In Michigan, Sen. Obama personally attacked McCain and Palin as "shameless" (For you leftist supporters: That's a bad thing.) and approved an ad accusing McCain and Palin of "lying about their records."

That makes the second time in a month the high-minded Obama has called his critics liars. When the National Right to Life Committee accused Obama of misleading voters on his record on legal protections for infants born alive after an attempted abortion, Obama went ballistic: "And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying," he told Christian Broadcasting Network.

But it turns out that it is Obama, not the NRLC, who has his facts wrong.

On Aug. 25, concluded:

"We find that, as the NRLC said in a recent statement, Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus."

Has Obama apologized for his gutter attacks on his critics? Don't hold your breath.

The Obama campaign is proving remarkably thin-skinned. The way that normal Americans respond to assaults on cherished symbols - the flag, marriage - the Obama cohorts respond to attacks on, well, Obama. This is fitting, since he is - in his own mind, or at least his wife's - the symbol of all that is good about America.

Meanwhile in Leftyland, the fury is falling like brimstone over Gov. Sarah Palin's head. The latest idea? Attack Sarah Palin's church for promoting so-called "gay conversion," which for the left is obviously far worse than the moral equivalent of the Rev. Jeremiah's Wright's "God (expletive deleted) America." A Christian church teaching that Christians should confine sex to marriage between a man and a woman? Scandalous!

Memo to Obama campaign: Good luck with that one.

The resurgent liberal leadership continues to be completely confounded by the way Americans actually think, especially Christian conservatives. They do not know what to make of the America in which they actually live, which now includes Americans with lawn signs featuring a rifle-toting Sarah Palin with the slogan "Change We Can Believe In."

Barack Obama's problem is that his campaign is based on a fundamental untruth: The reason Republicans get elected is because the American people are stupid.

In Barack Obama's case he likes to think of us Americans as basically good-hearted but stupid, which makes him light-years ahead of most of his leftist bretheren, who see Americans as both malicious, evil discriminators and stupid.

Let's give him credit: Obama was trying to share his more enlightened and optimistic vision in San Francisco, trying to get his donor base into the bitter heads of small-town America and replace their disdain with greater empathy. Yes, it backfired, and it will continue to do so.

What the American people are responding to in McCain and Palin is something that cannot be manufacutured or manage - authenticity. They are who they say they are. They are real deal.

 Maggie Gallagher is a writer and columnist who also serves as president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and as president of the National Organization for Marriage.