Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 4:25 PM

Where Are We In Our Electoral History?


By 7:00 tonight those darned political ads will roll off tv.  Your phone calls from “private caller” will quiet.  And, given the polls released as late as yesterday, our nation will hold its collective breath as the swing states determine who will be president for the next four years.

In an interview last weekend on 60 Minutes with my favorite historian, David McCullough, we were reminded by him that mudslinging in presidential campaigns is the norm. It always has been.  And it’s been plenty nastier than this.  McCullough points to the presidential fight between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in 1800 where Jefferson resorted to real mudslinging. “Well, Jefferson was paying a slander specialist, a journalist, to go after Adams, writing that he was mentally unbalanced. He was a hermaphrodite, all these things.”

And when asked to comment on this year’s election McCullough seems unimpressed with the campaigns of either side.  He says, “The shame of it is, the shame of it is they're spending all this unconscionable amount of money. And what is it producing? A not very good show.”  That’s true.  We’re not talking much about the real issues.  And it hasn’t made for good theater.

If you have some time today, and want to put this election in perspective, have a look at the 60 Minutes interview with David McCullough.


Full disclosure: I’m a McCullough groupie.

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