The president’s opening effort to win back the job he has mostly abdicated in favor of golf is a paint by numbers effort. It’s flat, it’s obvious and it’s both uninspired and uninformative. I mean, who didn’t know that grassroots politics is “individuals…talking to other individuals”? From the opening shot of a small neighborhood church — this could be your small town! — to the shots of the family playing in the driveway — this could be your family! — this ad is tired. It feels old about halfway into the first viewing, or at least it did for me.

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I get what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to bring his 2008 voters back around to remember why they voted for Obama in the first place. But there’s a big problem with doing that: Many of them voted for him because he’s Not Bush, but as he has faced the realities of being president, he has adopted many of Bush’s wartime policies. Many of Obama’s voters voted for him because he was new and fresh. Four years later, he’s neither. Many voted for him because they really bought the bipartisan stuff he sold, but in office he’s proven himself to be beholden to the very far left on domestic issues.

The Obama camp knows that with gas prices up dramatically since he took office, with wealth disappearing and jobs not returning, they need to catch the 2008 lightning in a bottle again to win next year. This opening ad doesn’t get them anywhere close to that.