A sobering, fascinating article in the Washington Post on the 2004 campaign. Some key points: the Democrats nearly matched the Republicans dollar for dollar, an almost unheard of feat. But the Republicans spent it more effectively. And two expenditures stand out — the Swift Boat ads (we’ll have long memories too) and some much less conspicuous spending on a data-mining company that allowed them to vastly improve the targetting of their voter outreach. And for all the knowing cynicism about how 527s and outside groups aren’t allowed to ‘coordinate’ with their allied campaigns, the Post says that actually turned out to be a pretty big deal. The inability of Democratic 527s to effectively coordinate message with the Kerry campaign made that money, dollar for dollar, less effective than Republican spending, which relied less on 527s.