Stanley Fish in the New York Times:
In the aftermath of the 2000 and 2004 elections, the post-mortem verdict was that the Republicans had run a better campaign. They knew how to seize or manufacture an issue. They were able to master the dynamics of negative advertising. They kept on message. Now, when many print and TV commentators are predicting if not assuming an Obama victory, the conventional wisdom is that this time the Democrats have run a better campaign.
When did the Democrats smarten up? When did they learn how to outdo the Republicans at their own game?
The answer is that they didn’t. They decided — or rather Obama decided — to play another game, one we haven’t seen for a while, and it’s a question as to whether we’ve ever seen it. The name of this game is straightforward campaigning, or rather straightforward non-campaigning.