I can’t wait for the moment that the right finally understands it needs positive arguments to defeat Obama, not smears. ~Andrew Sullivan

Because the lesson of the Bush Era is that only positive argument shifts public opinion and smears have no power?  That must be why reckless fearmongering over Iraq did not sway the public, why opponents were not branded as “apologists for despotism” and unpatriotic and why every elected national Democrat with hopes of higher office did not cravenly pave the way for the war–because smears are not that important.  One of the crucial mistakes that a lot of Obama supporters are making is their habit of vastly underestimating the credulity and gullibility of the public.  This is the country that re-elected George Bush, even if many of them may regret that now.  In this campaign there are going to be arguments leveled against Obama, but there are also going to be smears, and frankly we give our electoral system and our electorate too much credit if we think that the latter will not have a significant effect.