Sorry to have been silent. I did write a comment or two over on The Moderate Voice political blog and decided I wanted to save one here. Someone did a post about thinking a McCain/ Obama election campaign might actually be relatively civil, by political standards. Another commenter, strongly conservative by my perception, responded that a civil campaign would only favor Democrats, since civil campaigns are all about personality and image. The following was my response, and it's the last paragraph that I wanted to keep.
I don't understand why a civil campaign favors Democrats unless Republican or conservative ideas can't be expressed with reason, honesty, and politeness -- something which I, even as a Democrat, reject. McCain can attack Obama's or Clinton's ideas relentlessly and thoroughly while maintaining respect for Obama or Clinton as an individual, and vice versa.
Of course, it's largely moot because, even if McCain and Clinton/Obama conduct themselves relatively decently, there will be tons of money on both sides slinging as much innuendo and character assassination as they can afford.
To be honest, this reminds me historically a little bit of many Christian institutional attacks on philosophy and science by limiting their expression or doing away with the people expressing the ideas, instead of combating the ideas directly. This always seemed wholly unnecessary as Christian philosophy can go toe to toe with almost any other philosophy that it had to compete with.
In the same manner, conservative philosophy can battle civilly with liberal philosophy just fine. The main problem might be that we will discover most Republicans don't hold a conservative philosophy and most Democrats don't hold a liberal philosophy, whatever that is. We simply support certain people and certain issues and vote for whoever advances that hodgepodge of values as best we can.