Sometimes you just have to step back from the day-to-day of campaigns, look at them and wonder. In my case, what I wonder is: When did it become acceptable for a campaign for president of the United States of America to smear a great American city?

I’m not from Chicago. In fact, I have no particular rooting interest in the Windy City. But, you know, it’s part of the nation that Mitt Romney wants to help govern. And yet:

The Romney campaign’s response will be to call out Mr. Obama’s “Chicago-style politics and Chicago-style economics,” Mr. Gillespie told reporters on a conference call.

Presumably, Chicago — politics and economics and all — isn’t part of what Sarah Palin called “real America.” Palin was hit pretty hard for that comment during the 2008 campaign, but it’s only the logical end point for a party that has been running against “San Francisco liberals” for 30 years — a party for which a logical attack line against Romney during the nomination campaign was to call him a “Massachusetts moderate.” Why not? After all, Republicans ran against “Taxachusetts” in 1988.

Doesn’t anyone else find these attacks absolutely unpatriotic?

Granted, everyone is going to hit governors for whatever faults of their states can plausibly be tied to their tenure. That’s fair game. We saw some of that in the Republican primaries, with the candidates exchanging claims about the relative standings of Texas, Massachusetts and Utah in various rankings; that seems totally within-bounds to me, if probably only marginally linked to the actual performance in office of Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. From what I recall, Al Gore stayed similarly within bounds in 2000 when running against George W. Bush, although it’s certainly true that liberals have been known to make sneering comments about Texas in particular or the South in general.

But running for office — running for national office — by bashing specific American cities and states? It’s a disgrace. Anyone who loves this nation, and especially anyone who spoke up against Palin’s “real America” statement when she made it, should be calling out Romney and his surrogates every time they do such a thing.