. . . there is a particular category of the 2012 race to the low road in which the two sides are not competing on equal terms: Obama and his top campaign aides have engaged far more frequently in character attacks and personal insults than the Romney campaign.
With a few exceptions, Romney has maintained that Obama is a bad president who has turned to desperate tactics to try to save himself. But Romney has not made the case that Obama is a bad person, nor made a sustained critique of his morality a central feature of his campaign.
Obama, who first sprang to national attention with an appeal to civility, has made these kind of attacks central to his strategy. The argument, by implication from Obama and directly from his surrogates, is not merely that Romney is the wrong choice for president but that there is something fundamentally wrong with him.
Of course, we saw this tactic at work in the president’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. And we shouldn’t be surprised that he continues to use it. The economy stinks. How else will Barack Obama be able to justify his re-election if he is deprived of the ability to untruthfully trash Mitt Romney’s character?