You take the high road and I'll take the low road -- and I'll be in the White House "afore ye."
At least, that's how it worked until this year.
Because Barack Obama, for the most part, took the high road into the White House.
John McCain himself said so, in his classy and statesmanlike concession speech Tuesday night in Arizona: Obama won by appealing to our hopes.
We wish McCain, or his campaign and his followers, would have been like that more often in the course of what was supposed to be the greatest presidential campaign in American history.
To his credit, the old warrior occasionally tried to shush the more outrageous claims against Obama -- the most infamous of which was the "Obama is an Arab" woman at a McCain rally in the south, who earned herself a war-weary and regretful rebuttal from McCain and a portrayal on Saturday Night Live for her ignorant efforts.
And yes, we know: Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein -- not exactly a rare name in the world. Never mind the fact the year Obama was born, our former convenient ally, Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, was a thug no one had heard of outside the Baath Party.
Hope pulled the lever, touched the screen, filled in the little circle more often Tuesday night than hate did, and that's reason enough, lately, to be proud to be an American voter.
Now, let's be as united in hope in conductingour nations' business as we were in electing our leader.