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TYRRELL: Dirty days ahead

Presidential race promises to be the grungiest yet

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I first heard it two, perhaps 2 1/2 years ago. A sage sitting in his New York City office pronounced it. Said the sage to me: "This is going to be the dirtiest presidential campaign in history." I would pass on my prescient friend's name, but he is a gentleman of high profile. It would be best if he were to continue his life unmolested by the Living Saint in the White House, whom a benighted majority of Americans deposited there in 2009.

Now, less than six months from Election Day, I fear my friend was right. Financial donors to Mitt Romney have suffered unflattering attention from the press, from boycotters, from labor thugs and stink bomb throwers. It is only a matter of time before the government begins harassing them with its vast array of federal agencies. Mr. Romney himself has suffered from the media and from assorted psychopaths. Yet, in time what goes around comes around, as the phrase has it. President Obama will get similar treatment, though not from the government. He controls the government, and thus far, only a sole Marine has objected to him. He is Sgt. Gary Stein, and needless to say, he got the old heave ho.

I say I fear my friend was right in his gloomy prediction of a very dirty campaign, but here I am telling a little white lie. Truth be known, I relish the contumely, the dirty tricks, the ginned-up controversy of it all. I smack my lips and clap my hands. Bring it on! Let us see the full spectacle of idealists and progressives revealing their true selves, their lust for power, their libido for slander. Let us see their naked souls. Bring on the dirty stuff. Frankly, I am never happier than when I see a refined liberal acting illiberally, even criminally.

Already we have seen the venerable Washington Post rummaging through Mr. Romney's past. Almost 50 years ago, he was a bully and anti-homosexual, committing other horrors I dare not repeat in this, a civilized forum of opinion. Well, maybe Mr. Romney was innocent. Maybe it was Adolf Hitler's high school days that the illustrious Post researched, or Benito Mussolini's or Stalin's. It does not much matter. The Post gets things wrong. Mr. Romney's alleged victim is dead. His family claims The Post mischaracterized the unfortunate man. And there are journalistic problems with The Post's reports on all the other alleged witnesses. But who cares? It was a good story. Next will come accounts of even greater misbehavior by the otherwise suave and decorous Republican candidate. He picks his nose in public. He has halitosis. He walked out on a bill in 1963 and never tried to pay it back.

Mr. Obama's day will come. He was born in a foreign country, possibly a communist country. He is a Muslim, possibly a Muslim cleric. He never washes his hands after using a public comfort station. Occasionally, he does not even avail himself of a public facility. Some sleuth will produce pictures. John F. Harris, in his presidential biography of Bill Clinton, between pages 224 and 225 produced a picture of the Boy President and Al Gore participating in statecraft in a public restroom. It was a presidential first. So we already have seen pretty coarse pictures of Democrats in action, and Mr. Harris was a friendly biographer. Now let the Obama haters have their say.

Actually, I may have contributed to the impending outbreak of vitriol and mayhem in the coming presidential campaign by referring in my recent book, "The Death of Liberalism," to the most spendthrift president ever as "the stealth socialist." I was joking, of course, exaggerating the particulars of Obamacare, which nationalizes one-sixth of the American economy, satirizing Mr. Obama's attempt to buy up heretofore private corporations, and with taxpayers' money place bets on Solyndra and other of Mr. Obama's green friends. He also has attempted to extend federal control over the banks and other financial institutions with the likes of Dodd-Frank. I think the case can be made for Mr. Obama's stealth socialism, no? How about calling it corporatism?

Alas, apparently out there in the Kultursmog this goes too far. I can speak facetiously about Mr. Obama the stealth socialist on Fox News, talk radio and C-SPAN, but not on ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN. In fact, on CNN I have been disinvited from a show. The claim was that calling Mr. Obama "the stealth socialist" was rude. Yet what about the charges against Mr. Romney? They have all been made on the above networks, and poor Mr. Romney has to go through the laborious procedure of saying he cannot recall incidents from 50 years ago. Anyway, if he was a rowdy high school jerk, he is now sorry. That is the double standard that will obtain in this election.

It is all going to be a spectacle to watch. Yet in the end, I have predicted in "The Death of Liberalism" that Mr. Romney will win. The conservatives and independents outnumber the liberals by a staggering majority, and they are alarmed by the deficits that have been rung up by the - ah, try this - the prestidigitator of a mixed economy in the White House. How is that, my friends in media, or is prestidigitator still too rude?

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is author of "The Death of Liberalism" (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

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