The internal feuds are still going on in Europe. Current French President Nicolas Sarkozy believes he was the victim of a smear campaign dating back to 2004, in which he was falsely accused of financial malfeasance. Among those who were questioned about their involvement in the alleged plot was Mr. Sarkozy’s party colleague Dominique De Villepin, the former prime minister. Mr. Sarkozy’s predecessor as head of state, Jacques Chirac, refused to meet with judges investigating the matter, arguing that he was covered by presidential immunity.
That is what real dirty politics looks like. But the comparison is cold comfort for Democrats. Levels of distrust and dislike between the Clinton and Obama camps are rising fast, and one does not have to be privy to conversations at the party’s highest levels to discern the dangers.
Last week, I watched Mr. Obama address a huge rally at Texas State University in San Marcos. Afterward, one member of the crowd, Kaitlin Murphy, explained her reasons for supporting the senator in unabashedly emotional terms. But the loyalty to Mr. Obama came wrapped in an enmity for Mrs. Clinton. “She’s a dirty politician, I don’t trust her,” Ms. Murphy said.
Two days later, I had a casual conversation with two Clinton fund-raisers at a campaign event in Austin. They could barely contain their anger at what they perceived to be Mr. Obama’s disingenuousness. And their conversation was also marked by constant innuendos about what, exactly, Mr. Obama had done in the past.
This much is clear: The longer the Democratic contest goes, the uglier it will get.