Hey everybody! What do you think about the ugly turn the presidential campaign has taken in the past forty-eight hours? Truly, it has managed to degenerate considerably beyond the ugly turns that have gone on for the past 4,800 hours. It helps, of course, when one candidate tells the New York Times, "Hey, yeah, well, we sure hate your gollydarned guts, but here's an exclusive for you: WE'RE GOING CRAZY NEGATIVE." And so now it's all William Ayers and Keating Five Webisodes and pretty soon, no one in the country will be in the tank with anyone except for maybe Tina Fey's imitation of Sarah Palin, which is one of the few things you can see on teevee these days that actually takes the American people by the hand and whispers, soothingly, "This is not your fault."
CNN's Campbell Brown mounted a spirited call for a return to some degree of politesse and decorum at the top of her newscast last night. Brown termed Palin's "pallin' with terrorists" line "outrageous," but also accused Obama of dredging up past McCain issues that he once averred were "not germane to the presidency." Then, Brown took up for everyone in America who's not looking forward to their eyeballs bleeding from all of the vitriol:
There is just one month left. Please, please, don't let this devolve into a campaign that you are sickened by, that we are sickened by, and that you are embarrassed to be part of. I mean, here is a purely practical reason. The negativity you are spewing now is only going to make your job harder after Election Day. Bipartisanship is really tough to achieve when everyone on both sides is left with a bad, bad taste in their mouth.
Look at this new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. When asked how are things going in the country today, 80 percent said badly, 80 percent. Pollsters have been asking that question since 1974 -- 80 percent is an all-time low. People want to hear solutions from you. They want to hear how you are going to get us out of this mess. And one of you is going to have to. Don't you want to be able to walk into the White House with your dignity intact and your head held high?
I've noted that during debates, ordinary citizens tend to ask questions that eschew the typical idiot obsessions of the professional political press. So Brown may yet get her wish, if whoever selects tonight's questions will allow us the pleasure of something other than a televised geek show. Fingers crossed, Campbell!