All of this brings to mind a remark that iconic former White House speechwriter Ted Sorensen recently attributed to President John F. Kennedy: "Civility is not a sign of weakness." Today's politicians seem to believe quite the opposite.
In fact, the era of comity and respect that was promoted by candidate Barack Obama and others in 2008 is today only a vague hope. And it seems to fade with each passing day and each negative ad. Once the campaign is over, the public may end up with little or no confidence that their leaders can ever pull themselves out of the snake pit, not only in campaigning but also in getting down to the business of governing. It's a toxic environment made to order for stalemate.