"Losing campaigns have a certain feel to them: They go negative hard, try out new messaging very late in the game, hype issues that only their core supporters are focused on, and try to turn non-gaffes and minor slip-ups by their opponents into massive, election-turning scandals. Think of John McCain’s desperate hope that elevating Joe the Plumber would change the shape of the 2008 race, and you have the template for how tin-eared and desperate a losing presidential campaign often sounds — and ever since the first debate cost Obama his air of inevitability, he and his surrogates have sounded more like McCain did with Joe the Plumber than like a typical incumbent president on his way to re-election. A winning presidential campaign would not normally be hyping non-issues like Big Bird and “binders full of women” in its quest for a closing argument, or rolling out a new spin on its second-term agenda with just two weeks left in the race, or pushing so many advertising chips into dishonest attacks on its rival’s position on abortion. A winning presidential campaign would typically be talking about the issues that voters cite as most important — jobs, the economy, the deficit — rather than trying to bring up Planned Parenthood and PBS at every opportunity. A winning presidential campaign would not typically have coined the term “Romnesia,” let alone worked it into their candidate’s speeches......"