It has been an ugly election season.
UW-Madison political science professor David Canon told me yesterday that 99% of the ads in the U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin were negative. That's not hyperbole. Somebody counted.
It was the most negative race in the country. For example, in Montana negative attacks counted for 60% of the ads.
But as dark as this race was, one can identify one very bright silver lining. It's the attack ads that never aired.
Tammy Baldwin may very well become not just the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate, but the first gay woman too. And that has not been an issue.
Trust me, it's not because Karl Rove didn't think of it. If going after Tammy's sexual orientation would have worked with voters, Rove or other conservative groups would have found it in their polling and they would have found a way to use it, no doubt, subtly, but effectively.
The fact that it never came up is a credit not to Thompson, Rove or other operatives, but to the people of Wisconsin. Apparently, without fanfare, it turns out we're just over it.
(The one word that Tammy did feel the need to run away from was "liberal." Our next task is to rehabilitate that word.)
But on the day before Election Day, we can take at least one good thing from this campaign. It's only one thing, but it's a very good thing. It wasn't in what we heard, but in what we didn't hear.