As Jeff told you earlier in the day, Rudy Giuliani attempted today to go straight to the general election with an attack ad in the New York Times linking Hillary to MoveOn.org. It’s ironic that Rudy’s camp would do this since she didn’t endorse their ad against General Petraeus, nor are they endorsing her candidacy. But with both Rudy and McCain desperate to pander to the right wing knuckle draggers against the backdrop of the emerging Fred Thompson, it isn’t surprising that Rudy would try this gambit, nor is it surprising that McCain channeled his inner Mussolini yesterday as well. Clearly, with this attack and lame linkage between Hillary and MoveOn, Rudy wants to keep attention away from his pathetic support for making Iraq our 51st state, his 9/11 negligence, and his personal enrichment and political scavenging from that dark day.
But it's a little surprising how our side is dealing with Rudy’s misdirection attempt. I have already taken the position that the MoveOn ad was counterproductive, yet many of you legitimately disagreed with me by saying that General Petraeus was fair game for personal attacks the moment he used his medals as a shield for dishonesty. Yet it was Hillary who actually challenged General Petraeus to his face on his credibility. Her reward for that are a Rudy smear and a wall of disinterest among the netroots, while Obama has been quiet so far about MoveOn, and the Edwards campaign once again let Elizabeth do the dirty work by throwing MoveOn under the bus. A quick scan of the big center-left blogs today shows little if any coverage of Rudy’s attack against Hillary and MoveOn, and no coverage of her relatively tame counterpunch. Taylor Marsh and ThinkProgress covered the Rudy attack, as Jeff did here.
Maybe some of this has its roots in a feeling that Hillary can take care of herself, but I wonder what the reaction among the blogs would be if Rudy did the same to Obama? Then again, Obama didn’t challenge the administration’s credibility at the hearing, which is what the netroots would have wanted him to do. Yet Hillary did, got little credit for doing so, and gets no pushback help from the netroots when Rudy attacks her today. Keep in mind that Rudy is smearing Hillary because she called into question Petraeus and Crocker’s credibility, which is exactly what MoveOn did in its hard-hitting way and what the blogs have been doing for days if not weeks. And yet there doesn’t seem to be any real pushback from the blogs today about the attack. Maybe its because we already know that Rudy is a slug, but pressuring the media with his record and private gain over public interest will be an essential part of setting the narrative for the remainder of the campaign to avoid what happened to Gore and Kerry.
I don’t expect anyone to cry for Hillary, or for any of the large blogs to step out early and endorse her. But even after she defended the blogs earlier despite their lukewarm at best treatment of her, why did Rudy's attack generate such a yawn, after she stepped out more aggressively than Obama in taking on the administration’s credibility. Most importantly, is this a bellweather of how much support she can expect from the netroots in a general election campaign or in pushing back against smears now?