Sullivan on Obama’s first national ad:
Obama shows he’s not going to allow the GOP and Fox News to define him as an alien, commie, Muslim, wimpy extremist. Not without a fight anyway.
Then again, the absolute lack of subtlety and the almost desperate, “I’m really, really like you!” tone of the ad may convey an impression of insecurity to a skeptical or uninformed audience. After all, shouldn’t it go without saying that people running for President love America? I’m not saying that it’s necessarily a given that politicians have such virtues, and you can make the argument that the America a lot of pols love is a fictitious one that wars against the real one all the time, but it’s the sort of thing that you’d thing a major party candidate would take as granted. Perhaps the heavy-handedness of the ad is what will make it work, but won’t it remind many audiences of the controversies and rumours that the ad is so pointedly trying to counteract? Doesn’t this lead to running the campaign according to his opponents’ rules? Isn’t this an eighteen-state ad buy equivalent of “Lt. John Kerry, reporting for duty”?
Also, on a different point, can Obama really have Kansan patriotism? I’m curious what others think, because to describe it that way seems like a stretch. Yes, his grandparents and mother were from there, but he wasn’t. I can hardly claim to have Coloradoan patriotism, even though I was born there, much less could I really claim to be a New Jersey patriot because my ancestors lived there. Can you be a patriot of a place where you’ve never lived? Discuss.