I've often heard people lament that the level of political speech is going downhill quickly via all the mud-slinging. I doubt that this is anything new, however. From the latter 1800's:
'C-Can't We All Just Get Along?'
When William Gladstone attacked fellow statesman Benjamin Disraeli in front of the British Parliament by saying that Disraeli would die “either on the gallows or of a horrible disease,” Disraeli responded, “That depends on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”—Excerpt from Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American HumorThey were Victorian era British politicians; very proper, indeed.