The Barack Obama campaign didn’t release their “National Priority” ad to the media last week when they began running it in battleground states, and after watching it, it’s not hard to see why. It tries to succeed where “Pocket” failed miserably, and exposes Obama yet again as an obstructionist on oil development. “National Priority” also goes negative yet again, and with Obama dropping in the polls, this may provide even more self-inflicted damage:

John McCain. He’s been in Washington for 26 years. And as gas prices soared and dependence on oil exploded, McCain was voting against alternative energy, against higher mileage standards.

Barack Obama. He’ll make energy independence an urgent national priority, raise mileage standards, fast-track technology for alternative fuels. A thousand dollar tax cut to help families as we break the grip of foreign oil. A real plan, and new energy.

Obama wants to continue his populist attacks on oil, but an electorate weary of high prices at the pump has already rejected this message.  Nothing in this ad suggests that Americans will see any relief at the pumps, now or in the foreseeeable future, in an Obama administration.  The alternative energy sources Obama touts have a much longer time frame for fruition than does drilling — and at least we know the oil exists.

Also, it’s remarkable to see just how far John McCain has pushed Obama out of his lane even before the conventions arrive.  Obama tried selling himself as a new kind of politician, eschewing negative ads and calling for a higher level of debate.  Since wrapping up the nomination, he has twice smeared McCain as a racist and issued a series of his own negative ads in response to unrelenting criticism from the McCain campaign.  It didn’t take long at all for McCain to strip off Obama’s sanctimonious mask to expose the Chicago pol underneath.

The longer Obama talks about energy policy in terms of punitive taxes on American oil companies and clings to pie-in-the-sky alternatives at least a generation away from practical widespread application, the more Obama reminds Americans that he doesn’t comprehend the issues facing the country today.  “National priority” reinforces that message.

Tags: Barack Obama