Iain Dale, a Tory partisan, warns the Tory and Labour tabloids of demonizing Clegg:
I don't want Nick Clegg to win. I don't want him to be Prime Minister. But he is not the devil incarnate. He's a nice guy, doing a fair job of leading his party. I do not agree with many of his policies. I think many of them are misguided. But I am happy to accept that he believes they will be best for the country. I am happy to debate them with him or any other LibDem and that's what politics and this election should be about. It should be about debating ideas, arguing about policy. It shouldn't be about this sudden urge to denigrate Nick Clegg as a person. It will backfire on those who promulgate these attacks because most people can see with their own eyes that he is a transparently decent individual.
Doesn't this sound familiar? The attempted - and failed - smearing of a rising star of "new politics"?
Think of the last US presidential election. It featured very established party leaders vying for the same familiar positions. Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Huckabee were all familiar faces - and the most familiar won. Clinton was the established incumbent for the Democrats. But the mood in the country - after two disastrous wars, a spending binge, a deficit crisis, and a Wall Street collapse - was for more radical change. A new person emerged, Barack Obama, part of the two-party system but somehow able to transcend it. Ditto, in some respects, the delusional Palin, who seemed to come from nowhere to galvanize the GOP base.