Evil may have lurked in the souls of those GOP operatives, and Democratic consultants may have been constrained by nominees unwilling to dirty their hands. But it wasn't why we lost.
What the Republicans really did was to rope a couple of dopes. That's the lesson Barack Obama should learn from the fate of Dukakis and Kerry. Engage with McCain on things voters care about and talk honestly about what they don't like about Republicans. But don't make excuses about dirty GOP tactics to explain why the electorate rejects Democratic candidates, when what voters really eschew then and now is failure of judgment, lack of common sense and intellectual dishonesty.