SOUTH CAROLINA….I just got back from a house party where the guy who founded the Irvine Housing Blog told me that, yes indeed, they get a huge spike in traffic every time Atrios links to them. IHB performs the valuable public service of exposing the soft underbelly of the housing bubble, and you should check it out if you want to have your opinion of yuppie strivers lowered even further than it probably already is.

Anyway, I’m back home now and I see that Barack Obama has smoked Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, winning the primary vote there by 55%-27%. Very impressive indeed. And my guess is that it might also mean that the Clinton campaign is going to pull back a bit from the attack dog politics of the past week. After all, it doesn’t seem to have helped them much.

But for all you attack dog fans out there, no worries. The Washington Post informs us today that Mitt Romney and John McCain have “abandoned all pretense of civility” in preparation for Tuesday’s primary in Florida. So there shouldn’t be any lack of fireworks over the next few days.

Of course, what this goes to show is that what happened between the Obama and Clinton campaigns was nothing out of the ordinary. It’s what almost inevitably happens whenever a campaign gets down to two people and they’re running neck and neck. It might abate a bit on the Democratic side since it doesn’t seem to have been very effective, but that’s really the only thing that can stop it. As long as negative campaigning works — and it’s worked pretty effectively ever since Og defeated Ug 56-55 for the presidency of the Olduvai Gorge Mammoth Hunting Alliance — we’ll keep seeing it.