Hold on to your hats, boys and girls. It's going to be a rough and decidedly unpleasant ride. Anyone naively believing they were in for an enlightening, informative, and educational presidential campaign in 2012, had best reconsider. It's going to be a mess, and the best evidence of the coming messiness can be found by just taking a look or listen at campaigningto date. It's been nasty, and it's only going to get nastier. All you folks hoping for a return to civility ...good luck with that. Look. Both parties, (Yes. BOTH parties.), have already gone waaaaaay above and beyond the pale when it comes to dirty, sniping, nit-picking politics. If by way of moronic gaffes, or if by way of carefully planned strategy, both the Dems and the GOP have managed to make themselves look like the evil Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life" - willing to do anything and everything to carry the day. Too bad. This could have been an election campaign season that really reflects the intensity and importance of the coming election. Instead, we have Joe Biden bringing up the memory of slavery to a predominantly black audience, and we have the GOP surrogates still wondering if President Obama is a natural born American ...or an American at all. We have the president himself continually reminding folks that Gov. Romney put his pet carrier on the roof of the car during a family vacation, and we have Sarah Palin reminding people that Obama once ate dog meat. We have the some news media giggling like a schoolgirl over vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's "six-pack abs" while other news sources raise the issue of Joe Biden's hair implants. Yessir. Serious stuff. Far worse, however, is the fact that both the Democratic and Republican campaign machines have lowered the level of debate to the disparaging remarks and plain ol' dirt so early on in the process. If you only watch and listen to the most recent ads as a source of political information, you soon learn that both Obama and Romney are liars and fools, (according to each other's opponents.) Both Obama and Romney want to dismantle Medicaid and Social Security, (in their own ways.) Both Obama and Romney will drag this nation to perdition while A) making the rich get richer, or B) creating a socialist state. Wow! And then, (according to the party propagandists, of course ), there is: Abortion Romney will take away any control a woman has over her own reproductive health. Obama will open an abortion clinic in the White House basement. Gun Control Romney will issue weapons to every psycho who just asks. Obama has been biding his time and when he wins reelection he's gonna take all our guns - INCLUDING YOURS - away from us. Religion Romney is cursed because he's a Mormon. Obama is cursed because he's a Moslem. And on ...and on ...and on ... It's all so ridiculous, (from both sides), and it all is so meaningless, (from both sides.) Romney's supporters moan and groan that Obama is doing the dirty on him with his negative ads. They seem to forget that Romney did the dirty on every other GOP candidate running in the primary. His advertising during that period was almost exclusively negative - and it was against his own team! Obama's team claim Romney isn't being transparent. This from a president who promised transparency in government, and has arguably become one of the least transparent presidents in history. Quite frankly, both of the presidential candidates have offered few hints of reasonable policy planning, but rather both keep on tossing out simplistic sound bytes. What's even more distressing is that the people of this nation - the electors - just gobble it up. With all that's going on in the world today, people are still worried about Romney's tax records or are concerned Obama is a closet Commie. "Yes. There are still folks worried about 'the Commies.'" And when asked about stuff like Iran or the situation in the Middle East, both campaigns answer like high schoolers basically saying "Let's nuke 'em!" (or let's support Israel when THEY nuke 'em. Good luck with that.) Oh my God!!! Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, neither of these guys is, (despite the protestations of the other side), the Spawn of Satan. As the Republicans and Democrats begin the long push to the White House, one could only hope there would be some semblance of a civil debate on topics of real interest and import to the people of their this nation. Based on early campaigning so far, I'd suggest we not hold our collective breathes. It's going to be messy and we shouldn't be expecting a presidential campaign that offers too much substance. Rather get ready for two or three months of mean-spirited fluff. Frankly, I'm beginning to believe that's what most American voters enjoy, and that's what far too many Americans base their voting on.