The Washington Post

Don’t let him sweet-talk you again

A lot of chatter this morning about the new Web ad from the Rove-founded Crossroads empire, which depicts Obama looking ultra cool in a variety of shots before suddenly pivoting to a brutal depiction of economic suffering on Obama’s watch:

Kevin Drum comments:

The actual policy content is short and pro forma, so no need to pay attention to that. Mainly, it’s just a reminder that Obama is awfully, um, hip. He’s, you know, young and an....urban kind of way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I assume this is all just part of the mud-against-the-wall phase of the campaign, as the Rovesters try to get a bead on exactly which message makes Obama the least palatable to their heartland target audience. Unfortunately for them, this one makes Obama look a little too much like Will Smith, and I don’t think the heartland really has anything against Will Smith.

I actually think this ad demonstrates the beginnings of a very carefully thought out attack line that we’ll be seeing in lots of forms. The gist of it is: Don’t let this smooth-talking slickster sweet talk you again.

Republicans tried very hard to make the “celeb” attack stick in 2008. It didn’t work, of course. But in a way that gets at the real point here. This ad is basically a way of saying, See? We told you he was all slick and empty talk. You fell for it. Look what it got you.

Mitt Romney has also been advancing a form of this argument. In his big victory speech the other day, he said: “Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?” The Greek columns have become a regular Romney refrain.

It’s about giving swing voters a way to vote against Obama even if they may be inclined to cut him some slack and grant his policies more patience to work, because they appreciate that he inherited an extraordinary difficult situation. The message is: Obama himself talked you into having sky-high expectations for him, and you’re still suffering.

“After four years of a celebrity president, is your life any better?” the Crossroads ad asks.

Don’t be a sucker. Don’t get fooled again. He’s still a “celeb,” and he’s making the most of it. What good has it done for you?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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