I was born and bred to hate Republican politics, even though a few members of my mother's and my father's families decamped to the dark side. Those family members always seemed to be the ones who'd show up on Sundays, unannounced, right about the time the roast was being placed on the table. They were more than welcome to eat - Southern hospitality and all that - but they were always left with the reminder that they were eating in a Democratic kitchen, the party who sought to feed the poor and the indigent.
I know politics is an ugly business, and it's never uglier than during a Presidential campaign. However, it always seemed to me that the other side, the Republicans, didn't stint on playing dirty, whilst my side, the Democrats, always tried to be the adult in the room - stay above the fray and try to be better than they are. This angered me a bit. It got my Sicilian up. When they levelled insults, I wanted the Democrats to double back.
I watched John Kerry, the Northeastern patrician, take Swift Boating on the chin and lose an election for all his nobility. I watched Barack Obama forbid the Democratic party from even verbally reproaching Sarah Palin's family after having his own wife smeared as his "babymamma."
But guess what? This time, the Democrats have come out swinging, and something mighty has been discovered: Dish the Republicans some of their own medicine, and they whinge, whine and moan like a stuck pig.
Dana Millbank's column in today's Washington Post (which has gone a bit crazy lately) relates the Republicans' consternation at being dealt their own blows, with glee. John McCain and Brit Hume were blubbing about the big, bad, mean old Democrats, whining that this campaign is as ugly as it's ever been.
I disagree, as does Millbank, who pinpoints exactly what the difference now is.
What’s different this time is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some.
In large part, this is because the Democrats are no longer simply whining about the other side being reckless and unfair: They are being reckless and unfair themselves.
The Democrats even seem to have found sufficient enough balls to get down to the real nitty-gritty and directly hint at, if not broadly nudge and wink, what the real ethos of this campaign is all about. Not content enough to look the other way and assume the moral high ground when Mitt Romney dog whistles, the Democrats sanctioned our own attack dog to remind our base about the relationship between Mitt's dog whistling and a history of chained enslavement.
When the GOP took umbrage with that remark, the Democrats, not for the first time this campaign season, refused either to apologise or walk back the remark. So now it's the GOP sounding like the proverbial adolescent and wailing about the Democrats not playing fair.
Seems like at last a lesson's been learned, or as Millbank opines, "Umbrage doesn't win elections; ruthlessness does."
Or as the British might say about this GOP ... They don't like it up'em.