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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Mean vs. Nasty

Hey, is the presidential campaign getting classy or what?

I’m rubber, you’re glue. Welcome to the 2012 presidential campaign, aka ‘Romney Hood‘ vs. ‘Obamaloney’.

After President Obama on Monday night accused Mitt Romney’s tax policy of being a sort of “reverse Robin Hood” – “Romney Hood,” today Romney shot back that the President was full of “Obamaloney.”

Actually, analysts say, it's going to get worse before it gets better, if it gets better:

Both presidential candidates and their allies have for months bombarded the airwaves with an escalating series of charges and countercharges, and as any swing state voter with a television set can attest, the onslaught has only picked up during the so-called summer doldrums.

[. . .]

With the Democratic and Republican conventions less than a month away, some observers had hoped the two campaigns might take a more positive approach before the final two-month slog to Election Day.

But by and large there has been little indication that either side is willing to take a break from the mudslinging that has dominated the 2012 presidential race.

I dunno. I wish there was more substance being argued, but people who worry about how negative this campaign is should study a little American history. In the campaign of 1828, incumbent John Quincy Adams was called a pimp and challenger Andrew Jackson was labeled an adulterer and a murderer. Then there was the mudslinging between Abraham Linconln and Stephen Douglas:

Although it's normal - and expected - for candidates to stump across the country in any little small town that will have them, but in 1860 it was considered a little tacky. Stephen Douglas chose this tactic anyway, but claimed that he was really just taking a leisurely train ride from D.C. to New York to visit his mom. Lincoln and his supporters took note of the fact that it took him over a month to get there and even put out a "Lost Child" handbill that said he "Left Washington, D.C. some time in July, to go home to his mother... who is very anxious about him. Seen in Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Conn., and at a clambake in Rhode Island. Answers to the name Little Giant. Talks a great deal, very loud, always about himself." 'Little Giant' was a potshot at Douglas' height - he was only 5'4". He was also said to be "about five feet nothing in height and about the same in diameter the other way." Douglas took aim at Lincoln, too, saying he was a "horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper and the nightman." Another good one? "Lincoln is the leanest, lankest, most ungainly mass of legs and arms and hatchet face ever strung on a single frame."

I always think of the "Five feet nothing" crack when critics of Mitch Daniels bring up his short stature as if its the cleverest, most original political barb in history.

And with Mitt Romney's religion a lurking issue, let's not forget the way way Herbert Hoover used Al Smith's religion against him:

At the time of the election, the Holland Tunnel in New York was just being finished up. Republicans told everyone that the Catholic Smith had commissioned a secret tunnel 3,500 miles long, from the Holland Tunnel to the Vatican in Rome, and that the Pope would have say in all presidential matters should Smith be elected.