A few weeks ago it was "presumptuous." Now we’re seeing "audacious" as the new word of choice among the wingnuts to describe Barack Obama.

It’s kind of clever, really — take a keyword from the title of one of his books and use it to call him "uppity" without actually saying it. But then, the dog-whistle components of this campaign, as we’ve seen, are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

David Fredosso at The Corner uses it to counter Obama’s attack on the smear merchants peddling the "Obama is a baby killer" theme. Evidently, he’s "audacious" for calling a pack of liars exactly what they are.

Even better was James Taranto’s wielding of the term in his attack on Obama in today’s WSJ. According to Taranto, Obama showed "amazing chutzpah" in his effort to call on John McCain to reel in his vicious attacks on Obama’s patriotism and acknowledge that both of them have worked over the years for America’s security and place it atop their priorities. Here’s what Obama said:

I have never suggested that Sen. McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America’s national interest. Now, it’s time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same.

And Taranto?

Of course, if Obama were to accuse McCain of picking his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition, everyone would laugh, because it obviously is not true.

Oh, we’re laughing all right. I’m sure last week’s display of McCain’s militarism — particularly the "We’re all Georgians now" speech — had nothing whatsoever to do with politics or the Georgian lobbyists with whom McCain surrounded himself.

Chutzpah indeed.