The folks at Politico have rounded up a gaggle of “presidential historians” to ponder whether this year’s is the meanest, lowest-down, dirtiest campaign ever. The scholars’ answer? No. I think they’re likely right. Only considering the modern era, 1964 was awfully ugly. As was 1984. And for my money, it will be difficult, because of those wacky Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, to top 2004.

That said, I think the article linked above misses a more interesting — because it’s less subjective — question: is John McCain running the most dishonest campaign in modern American history? I think the answer is probably yes, though Richard Nixon, promising in 1968 to win the war, might also be a contender.

* Now that, my friends, is faint praise we can believe in.