Same As It Ever Was?

A reader writes:

I recently read these arguments against a presidential candidate:
..."decried as a hopeless visionary, a weakling... more a Frenchman than an American, and therefore a bad man."
"Not only was [he] a godless man, but one who mocked the Christian faith."
"With [him] we shall have peace... the friends of war will vote for [the opponent]."
I removed the names - they aren't about Barack Obama against John McCain, but about Thomas Jefferson against John Adams in the election of 1800. (I've been reading David McCullough's "John Adams", several years too late.) There are an alarming number that sound like they came straight from this election: Adams was mocked for being old. Jefferson was considered a man of the people despite coming from a wealthy background. Adams was considered "elite" despite having more humble beginnings. They are both criticized for having questionable associates.

Sort of disheartening to think we've been doing this for 208 years...

Or encouraging. This is part of a free society. I'd rather we had the freedom to be sleazy than no freedom at all.