And you think the other side is being entirely reasonable with its representation of Mitt Romney? At least nobody officially associated with the Romney campaign - or, for that matter, the McCain campaign - ever publicly questioned Obama's citizenship or birth. The Obama campaign won't stop harping on the fact that as a private businessman Romney invested in foreign competitors to US companies and companies that outsourced jobs. They know this will resonate with the unemployed, but they also know that it's completely irrelevant. He did those things as a private business person. He had responsibilities to his investors; he had one job at that time, which was to protect the interests of those investors and make them money, and he attempted to do that. That can absolutely involve outsourcing in today's economy. That doesn't make him unpatriotic, it just makes him good at his job. Would it look great for a presidential campaign if he'd refused to invest in foreign companies? Maybe. But if his job is protecting American interests, I see no reason to assume he won't do his best at that job.
The fact is that I'd rather have both campaigns spend at least 60% of advertising money on positive advertising, IE promotion of their proposed agendas and vision for America's future. Instead we seem to be at about 80% attack ads from both sides, maybe even worse from the Romney campaign. My whole point in the opening to this thread is that the Kerry campaign proved fairly clearly that even an unpopular president can maintain office if he isn't challenged by a clear, well-articulated plan and vision. Romney should be spending a lot more time talking about a tangible vision. Obama as well. 4 years ago Obama had a clear vision for this country and inspired a lot of people. Now all he wants to do is suggest that the other guy would be worse than he is. The 2008 Obama campaign was about as positive as any in recent memory. Not that they didn't go after McCain and try to connect him to Bush, but that was definitely secondary. I never liked most of Obama's plans, never thought he'd be effective until he learned to work within the system, and to some degree I was absolutely right about that. But he's hit his stride now, and he's done a few things, and should emphasize those and how he plans to extend them. He probably shouldn't talk about Obamacare, since most people don't really like it.