This James Kirchick piece has attracted a fair amount of attention the last day or two. In it, he essentially argues that despite conventional wisdom on the Left, Obama has been complicit in far more "smears" than John McCain. The piece is, to put it bluntly, silly. Frankly, any debate over who "smears" who more is beyond trivial, and is a particularly strong example of how dumbed-down politics are (I won't say "how dumbed-down politics have become" - they've always been pretty dumbed-down, though the internet provides for my dispersal of this trivial sniping). Of course, Kirchick is no stranger to the art of smearing politicians himself, having authored the piece that brought Ron Paul down (not to be read as an endorsement of the actions Kirchick documented in that piece; just pointing out that Kirchick is no stranger to making personal takedowns of politicians, however justified or unjustified).
In any event, I just want to express my wholehearted agreement with every word in this James Joyner post. Money quote:
Do I think there’s a concerted effort on the part of Democrats to call into question the degree to which John McCain’s military service makes him more qualified than Barack Obama to step in as commander-in-chief? Of course. Are some of the attacks over-the-top? Yup. Have they reached the worst levels of the Swift Boat attacks against John Kerry in 2004? Not yet.
Is there a smear campaign to undermine public confidence in Barack Obama’s patriotism and that of his wife? To say that he’s a Muslim and might be terrorist-friendly? Yup. Were they promulgated by Republicans? No, by Hillary Clinton supporters, actually. Will Republicans pick up the ball? Probably.
In other words: both sides, quit yer bitchin' - you're both pretty devious.