Last Thursday the Obama campaign showed its first feat of arms. The tone is harsh, gloomy and realistic, which is a pretty bold move, because I’m pretty sure that one of the primers of advertising is that it should always convey a positive message. It shows all the hardships the country went through in the last 4 years: the economic crisis, an imploding housing market, two nasty wars, etc. And it ends on a sort of positive note, with the capture of Osama Bin Laden, the retreat from Iraq and a slowly recovering economy. It’s narrated by Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks and features usual suspects like Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton. Would there be a particular reason not to include Hillary Clinton by the way?
Also, “Obamacare” is not mentioned (EDIT: Healthcare reform is actually mentioned quite a bit, from 7:15 to ,9:50. My bad).
The underlying message is: it takes eight years of Obama to repair eight years of Bush, so give me another term. I think this ad, or rather mini-documentary, is meant to assure his base that Obama is still the Obama of 2008, but that he is now wisened and hardened. And most of all, he has rescued America from imminent doom by averting financial breakdown, creating new jobs, bringing home soldiers and investing in the car industry. I am wondering if the tone is not a bit too gloomy, because at certain moments the film is almost like an obituary. But all in all it’s a pretty impressive mini-documentary IMHO, which gives a fair portrayal of his accomplishments (obviously, there are also enough negative points would have been mentioned in a real documentary), without any nasty smears to Republicans. It sets the tone for his reelection campaign, which I guess has changed from “Yes we can” to “We will overcome” or “Through struggle we are humbled”, or something like that. If voters are going to buy this (which in the end I think enough of them will) then Andrew Sullivan will be right with his “Obama’s long game” analysis.
- Edit: best analysis at TPM.