Gee Terry, don't you think that it just might have been simply a matter of the American people seeing that Kerry is a dishonorable fraud, liar, America-hater and total scumbag?
These elitists always assume that the American people are merely stupid sheep and everything hinges upon their ability to hoodwink others in the most effective manner.
"he was held back from attacking Bush's military record by Kerry's campaign, and that he was never asked to take part in a strategy meeting inside the Democratic nominee's nerve center."
No problem. The hack media, led by a fraud by the name of Dan Rather did it for them.
Well, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but even in the last debacle, the problem was disunion on the right rather than effective propaganda from the left. You say rightly that their error is to always assume that clear smooth politicking will generate success.
If that were so then plenty of products that have long since gone into the dumper would be avidly used. They aren't, even when the campaign to promote them was well-chosen and well-thought-out. If you live by selling the sizzle, then in the end, the steak has to actually HAVE the sizzle.