Carol Platt Liebau
Curiously, as Alex Koppelman's report in Salon notes, a Tennessee Democrat -- a member of the state party's executive committee, no less -- has refused to endorse Barack Obama because he seems unconvinced that the putative Dem nominee is completely without terrorist ties.

Obviously, this makes something run down the legs of Democrats nationwide . . . and not the kind of thrill that Chris Matthews was describing.

But note the response of the Tennessee Democrat Party to its executive member's reluctance to support Barack Obama:

[The Democrat in question] is obviously misinformed, and his statement highlights the perpetual efforts of the Republican Party, especially here in Tennessee, to turn internet smears and highly offensive gossip into their party's message against Senator Barack Obama as we head into the general election. Instead of debating the issues, the Tennessee Republican Party continues to rely upon slanderous and salacious tall tales.

It's all the Republicans' fault!

The same blame-shifting was in evidence recently, as Matt pointed out yesterday, when Jay Carney blamed conservative bloggers for the rumors about intemperate remarks issuing from Michelle Obama . ..  despite the fact that the person originally purveying them was a Democrat Hillary supporter.

Back on May 16, when the Michelle rumors were first seeing the light of day, I wrote here that "if Hillary doesn't actually have any dirt on the Obamas, the next best thing would be to invent a fable that's reported and speculated on at length by righties.  That has the dual advantage of allowing falsehoods . . . to circulate -- and then presenting her (or other Democrats) with the opportunity to blame the 'vast right wing conspiracy' for spreading and popularizing them."

At the time, I wondered if I were paranoid.  But it's becoming ever-clearer that Democrats and the MSM are going to pin any disparagement of the Obamas -- even the stuff that comes from Democrats -- on conservatives and/or Republicans.  It's a reminder that we're going to have to be particularly vigilant about both separating the wheat from the chaff in this campaign, and setting the record straight when we're accused of attacks we didn't originate.  The alternative is the development of a narrative about how the GOP unfairly attacked the Obamas -- which will be trotted out and used against us for years to come.

Good thing conservatives don't embrace the victim mentality, no?  Because thsi is one time when it does seem as though it would be an easy approach to adopt.

Carol Platt Liebau

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near New York. Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)" here.