It is too Soon to Declare this the “X-est” Campaign Ever
As has been noted by my fellow OTB bloggers, there has been an ongoing meme that the current campaign is one of the nastiest ever (indeed, the topic came up in a Morning Edition story today).
Let me say that it is almost impossible to access the comparative nastiness, pettiness, whateverness of a campaign whilst in the middle of it. I would note that when one watches a campaign daily (if not hourly) one is likely to be hyper-aware of the absurd minutiae of said campaign (the kind of stuff that one tends to forget over time).
First, I am honestly unconvinced by the evidence to date of how bad things are this go ’round. Really, is the “Romney took my wife’s health insurance away” nastier than the Willie Horton ad (which suggested that Dukakis was directly responsible for a kidnapping and brutal rape). Is Seamus the Dog more petty than flip-flops, ketchup, or windsurfing were in 2004?
Second, this is a wholly subjective exercise which is made worse by being in the middle of competition. Because most consumers of news and commentary have a rooting interest in the outcome, most then take greater umbrage at commercials and comments aimed at their preferred candidate.