Gene Lyons is being perhaps a bit too optimistic in his analysis in GOP losing ground Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 10/15/08. He reminds us that hate-mongering sleaze and lying isn’t exactly new to the Republican Party this year. During the Clinton administration it went on from the Republican charges in the 1992 election that Clinton had been an agent for the Soviet KGB well on through the end of his Presidency. Lyons writes about the lack of success so far of the Obama-is-a-terrorist theme:

The ongoing catastrophe of the Bush administration, however, appears to have helped rationally consequent minds to sober up. Polls show voters taking the November election with unusual seriousness. Everybody knows somebody who went nuts over Vietnam. People want substance this time. ABC News reports that Americans find McCain/Palin more focused on personal attacks than discussing issues by 59 to 35 percent. (Among independents, it’s 68 to 26 percent. ) A FOX poll—FOX, mind you—found Americans saying that the Obama-Ayers connection wouldn’t cause them to vote against the Democrat by 61 to 32 percent. In other words, the ugly tone of Mc-Cain / Palin rallies doesn’t demonstrate growing intolerance and hatred. What it shows is that hardly anybody but far-right soreheads is showing up at GOP rallies anymore. [my emphasis]

Put another way, we’re seeing the real face of today’s national Republican Party – the way it’s actually been for the last 20 years or more.

There’s nothing comforting about that observation, though. It is just a reminder how deeply rooted this kind of politics has become in the Republican Party, transformed as it has been over the last 40 years since Nixon initiated his "Southern Strategy".