They’re playing “the drug card,” writes Halperin, confirming my suspicion that there’s now a card for everything. See his post for links to both stories; Huck’s target is the press’s creepily thorough vetting of Joe the Plumber whereas Rudy’s after the Times for this weekend’s hit piece on Cindy McCain. (He went on to say he didn’t think Obama’s drug use was relevant.) In both cases, they’re following the lead of Maverick lawyer John Dowd, who dropped this on the NYT yesterday:

These allegations and efforts to hurt Cindy have been a matter of public record for sixteen years. Cindy has been quite open and frank about her issues for all these years. Any further attempts to harass and injure her based on the information from Gosinski and Clark will be met with an appropriate response. While she may be in the public eye, she is not public property nor the property of the press to abuse and defame.

It is worth noting that you have not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama’s drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father. Nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them. Thus, there is a terrific lack of balance here.

The left’s chattering today about something Rick Davis said to Hewitt in passing last week about having to “rethink” their position on verboten subjects like Wright in light of John Lewis’s racial demagoguery. Hewitt followed up by asking if that meant there are any surprises coming, to which Davis said this:

HH: Are there any surprises for McCain-Palin coming from the opposition research department about Barack Obama, stories we haven’t seen, video we haven’t heard, audio that has not been played?

RD: You know, Hugh, I don’t think it’s so much what you haven’t heard, I think it’s a good concentration on the kinds of things you’ve talked about on this show, is that why don’t we talk about the things we do know about? They’re damaging enough, and there’s serious questions to be answered. And I think only at the time when we can actually get Barack Obama to address these issues and start telling the American public what’s really going on with his life and experience in politics are we going to know what kind of president we’re going to have. And I think it’s time for people to start demanding answers.

Whether that’s a hint that the drug stuff is a case of coordinated messaging by the campaign or just a coincidence, and whether this is more likely to help Obama by humanizing him than to hurt him (as seemed long ago to be the case), I leave for you to judge. Exit question: Which nutroots all-star will be the first to pronounce this attack racist? Smart money’s on TPM, as always.

Update: Yeah, it’ll probably be TPM.