The thing that genuinely depresses me about Smeargate or whatever the hell we're supposed to be calling it is the suspicion that somewhere in McBride's and Draper's minds, and possibly a few other people's, a small voice is saying, "But it was such a clever plan. All this mess is just bad luck."
What's happened inside your head, when you think that is how you get people to vote for you? My guess is a loss of conviction. If Draper and McBride had any genuine belief that Labour should/could win the next election because it has the right policies for the country, they'd have wanted to talk about those policies, and the Labour party. But they didn't - they wanted to attack opposition personalities. Setting aside the moral dimension of destabilising a political opponent by slurring his wife's mental health, the sheer narrowness of the tactic demonstrates the bankruptcy of ideas.
Various bloggers will talk about what Labour really needs to do to get a good showing in 2010. I don't presume to know. But substance, strategy and vision would be a start, and they seem to be sadly lacking.