It's a bit weird now, seeing the floundering Republican Noise Machine. I have some theories why they're such miserable failures these days, but not quite sure of any of them. They were never as powerful as we sometimes credited them, and the lack of an opposition helped, but they were at they very least pretty competent. I don't think the press, generally, is as quite in the tank as they used to be, but they're still pretty willing enablers most of them time. It used to be that when the Republicans would kick the soccer ball, the press would chase it and then coo "oooo, pretty soccer ball." Now they still chase the ball, but at least some of them might notice that it ain't so pretty. They don't always praise the ball, but they still follow it most of the time.
...adding, back during the Kerry campaign it was enough for Karl to suggest that they were going to run a REALLY SCARY AD SOON and then cable news would spend 3 days talking about JUST WHAT THAT SCARY AD MIGHT BE and HOW IT MIGHT AFFECT THE CAMPAIGN and then they'd run the web-only "ad" 5 million times and spend the next 10 days talking about it. It isn't like that now.