We're not exactly sure when Middle East scholar Stanley Kurtz became the National Review's point man for hit pieces on the Democratic candidate for president, but we do know the other side has taken great pains to discredit Kurtz every step of the way. Perturbed that the campaign's "Fight the Smears" website attacks his contentions personally, Kurtz fought back today with a pouting missive that just can't help but have the word Bill Ayers in it.Stanley Kurtz is upset that his allegation that Obama was a member of the left-wing New Party isn't being taken more seriously, and he lashes out at the enemy in a post at The Corner:

Before responding to this claim, let me explain why I'm bothering to pay attention to the "Fight the Smears" website at all. Ordinarily, a site that spewed this sort of odious and insulting nonsense would merit no reply. Given that it's being run in the name of the possible next president of the United States, however, it may make sense to respond. Fighting "Fight the Smears" may even provide an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson. Obama has been mightily helped during this campaign by his calm and apparently reasonable demeanor in debate. It's tough to believe a man this cool could be a supporter or practitioner of Saul Alinsky's militant intimidation tactics. Yet Alinskyite "direct action" is alive and well at Obama's "Fight the Smears" website. This site still seems committed to the proposition that I should be barred from radio, television, and media generally-or at the very least barred without direct supervision from an Obama campaign representative. The thugocracy lives at "Fight the Smears." This is the real Obama, even if most voters know nothing about it. Certainly, Obama himself bears chief responsibility for this site. Yet I challenge the people who wrote the post about Stanley Kurtz and the New Party to show themselves. Why cower behind a rock (named Barack)? Why not give your names and post pictures of yourselves? I'd like a word with you. So if you have the courage to cast aside the anonymity behind which you so conveniently hide, I call on the author or authors of this and other posts at "Fight the Smears" to go public and defend yourselves by placing your own names and reputations behind your egregious accusations. It's time to strip away the mask, not only from Barack Obama, but from his cowardly minions at Fight the Smears. As to the substantive issue, have a look at pages 292-293 of a 2002 book by David B. Reynolds called Taking the High Road (no wonder "Fight the Smears" hasn't run into this book before). ...

Who runs this site and to what degree has Barack Obama been apprised of its content? Many of the claims posted at "Fight the Smears" would seem to have positively required close consultation with Obama himself. And Senator Obama, will you publicly state that you agree with your own campaign's efforts to prevent David Freddoso and me from appearing on Milt Rosenberg's radio show?

I'm not a fan of the campaign's denying these guys every forum because in the end I don't think it helps Obama, but you can certainly see where they are coming from after the impact Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had four years ago. Still, Kurtz is currently reporting that Bill Ayers once recommended Obama's book like it's going to sway voters. Good lord. It's not. The Continuing Conservative Crack-Up [Gawker]