What also interested me about this article was the added feature of mean and inappropriate political tactics, and all but one of the examples were Republicans. This bugs me. I've taught the history of the Republican party (a course on Ohio Presidents, which is essentially a course on the development of the GOP from Whig antecedents until the eve of the Depression), and I appreciate the party's history and legacy. I regret the way the party has been pushed to the far right in recent years. When I go to Barnes and Noble to the political section, I see shelves full of books that are rants against Obama and liberalism, and few such angry books toward conservatives. (My conservative friends would counter that the media is left-leaning.)
It's a bit of a personal thing with me, but I do become discouraged when Christians who identify themselves with the Republican party don't seem concerned about the uncivil discourse and rage that is (based on these Huffington Post examples, anyway) perpetuated by party leaders. Obviously, Democrats are nasty too; I cringed at the rhetoric at the 1988 Democratic convention toward George H.W. Bush, and the mockery aimed at George W. Bush. But in my admittedly limited experience, sometimes I've listened to churchgoing friends sounding like mean-spirited media pundits, without thinking about how that reflections upon the Apostle Paul's teachings about fruit of the spirit: kindness, gentleness, prayer and consideration for one's opponents, and so on.
These fruit of the spirit are not optional, but how can one be interested in politics while also being kind, gentle, prayerful, and so on? Could Christian Republicans stand up for civil discourse with as much energy as some invest in hating (not too strong a word) incumbent Democratic presidents like Obama and (back in the 90s) Bill Clinton? Could Christians of both parties object to political nastiness and false accusations against opponents, with as much passion as they embrace political issues? Could we use our Christian faith to witness to the appropriateness of treating one another with respect---even in politics?
This is difficult, and I've no good answers. We do tend to cheer aggressive politics that we agree with, yet decry aggressive politics against people and issues we like. The Abedin issue is additionally difficult because of the anti-Muslim feelings in this country that pop up in subtle and unsubtle ways.
After I posted this, a good friend in Ohio alerted me to a local group hoping to raise this issue of civil political problem-solving: http://www.ohio.com/news/local/voter-group-strives-to-turn-down-heat-in-16th-district-race-1.323200
(And... a day later, on the occasion of Gore Vidal's death, a friend posted this video (with objectionable language) of Vidal and William Buckley sparing on television in 1968. Obviously, politics has been nasty before: in the late 1960s, the antebellum era, the Jacksonian era, and so on. RIP Gore Vidal, a fine novelist and interesting agent provocateur. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/video-of-the-day-gore-vidal-vs-william-f-buckley-in-1968/260581/#.UBmCFARWvpQ.facebook)