Trouble on the horizon for the GOP? Journo Matt Drudge (pictured) might be causing some.
The most powerful aggregator of Web site links ever, self-styled Internet phenom Matt Drudge, has become an election-year institution in his own right—or at least he looks that way to John McCain’s wary aides, who studied coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign on “The Drudge Report” and now wonder if they can count on Drudge’s supposedly conservative political orientation.
“It’s clear to us that Barack Obama has won the Drudge Primary, and it’s one of the most important primaries in this process,” conceded a senior aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who also acknowledged that Drudge’s treatment of Obama could make the Illinois senator more electable in November.
Now, as Obama and Sen. John McCain look toward the fall, Drudge has emerged unexpectedly as more of a threat to the Republican than to the Democrat. This, combined with the rise of left-leaning sites such as TalkingPointsMemo.com and HuffingtonPost.com—both of which have proved effective in promoting and amplifying a Democratic message—reflects a major shift from the last two presidential elections, a matter of open alarm to Republican strategists and surprised satisfaction to Democrats.
“The MSM is already sending love letters to Obama,” said a GOP operative who worked for the Bush-Cheney reelection. “That’s something that has traditionally been countered on the Republican side with talk radio, blogs to a lesser degree but especially Drudge. If those tools are not part of the Republican vehicle for message delivery, that’s crippling.”