Via JWF, come on now. The Times wouldn’t do the Democrats’ bidding by dropping a salacious hit piece on a top Republican during election season, would it?

Or rather, they wouldn’t do it so soon after the last one, right?

Have faith in your media, my friends.

Insiders on Capitol Hill are buzzing about an upcoming New York Times exposé that will detail an alleged Boehner affair. Sources say the Times is looking for the right time to drop the story in October to sway the election, similar to how the Times reported during the 2008 presidential campaign on an alleged John McCain affair that supposedly had taken place many years before and that was flatly denied by the woman in question.

“Catching Boehner with a mistress is the only way to destroy him politically before the election,” a source said.

A rep for Boehner’s office said, “This is bull[bleep]. The American people oppose Washington Democrats’ job killing, so their desperate liberal allies are resorting to outright lies. It’s low, and it’s dirty.”

Indeed it is, but the whole rumor of a story being in the works is probably B.S. Even if it were true, does anyone seriously think it’s going to avert Waterloo, especially since most voters don’t know who Boehner is? Isn’t that the whole reason, in fact, that the White House abandoned him as the villain du jour in order to focus on Palin and the tea party? Besides, given the Times’s track record in this vein, not only would the story be met with oceans of skepticism but the idea of big media colluding with the Democrats to take down the GOP would only further energize grassroots conservatives. Even ye olde “hypocrisy” angle, by which Republican sex scandals are somehow uniquely newsworthy because the party preaches values, wouldn’t work as well this year in light of the short shrift given to social issues in the new Pledge. For the Times, it’d be all downside and no upside. So why would they do it?

Radical possibility: Maybe the rumor was invented by lefties with an eye to getting it out there in print and forcing Boehner’s team to deny it. There’s no story in the works, but claiming that there is — by the august NYT, no less — creates a patina of credibility for gossip sheets like Page Six to print the smear. I hope that’s the case, because if you follow the link, you’ll see that Daily Kos is already trying to confront Boehner about this. And if the Times does end up printing something, an awful lot of people are going to want to know why they and dKos magically ended up pursuing the same story. Maybe this is what Axelrod had in mind yesterday?