Remember when it was actually being said that the maverick John McCain and the post-everything Barack Obama might wage a new kind of campaign free of so much of the venom and bile of modern American politics?
Instead, partisan animosity is growing rather than waning. Democrats charge, essentially, that the McCain campaign is engaging in character assassination against their candidate, Barack Obama. The Republican National Committee says it is spending $2 million to beef up security at campaign offices because of acts of vandalism and "violent intimidation tactics" by Obama supporters. Campaign rallies are turning ugly; charges of racism are starting to appear.
Pollster Peter Hart has found some startling new evidence of high tensions. In surveying voters over the weekend, Mr. Hart found that more than a third of each candidate's supporters say they have grown to "detest" either John McCain or Sen. Obama so deeply that they would have a hard time accepting the one they don't support as president.
Clinton bashing was followed by Bush Derangement Syndrome, which has metastasized into wingnuttery and moonbattery. It all started with the left's visceral hatred of Reagan, so I suppose we can call it even if we get four or eight years of the right's visceral hatred of Obama. And it's so easy to get sucked up into all of that, for all of us, me included. A new president used to have a honeymoon period in which most Americans watched quietly to see how policy initiatives matched campaign proposals. Now, both mothers-in-law go on the honeymoon trip, and they don't ever shut up.