The Republican National Committee today released this ad to take aim at President Barack Obama’s disappointing economic policies, the first in a new campaign to “Change Direction“:

It’s a little less skillfully done — from a messaging standpoint, not a production standpoint — than the RNSC ad that used Obama’s own words against him or even than the Crossroads GPS ad that tackled Obama’s economic record with statistics provided by NBC, but, like both of those, this ad effectively calls attention to the facts. Video game visuals ratchet up the intensity of dry data and the test drive style none-so-subtly implies “We tried it and we didn’t like it.”

The ad is particularly notable for its central mention of $500 billion in higher taxes (it’s even the screen capture!), as the topic of tax increases takes center stage in deficit reduction talks this week. Always safe (and worthwhile!) to mention stimulus spending, unemployment figures, job destruction, etc., etc., but to make a point to stake a clear opposition to new taxes at a time when the MSM takes every opportunity to criticize Republicans for supposedly closing themselves off to compromise on raising “revenues” maybe qualifies as a bit braver. (New York Times columnist David Brooks’ Monday column is an excellent example of mainstream criticism, and, in case you missed it, Townhall.com’s Guy Benson provides a must-read review.)

Democratic National Committee Chairman Brad Woodhouse said the ad is evidence Republicans prefer to run “negative ads” than provide solutions. But that seems a bit rich, in light of (a) the negative nature of every DNC ad I’ve seen lately and (b) Democrats’ inaction on the budget, in the Senate especially. Woodhouse mentions the weak economy was “years in the making” — all too true. But that doesn’t erase the president’s record of the last four years (let’s not forget, Obama himself said he would be a one-term president if he didn’t turn the economy around!). Nor does it excuse the president’s procrastination on a debt ceiling deal.

What impact the RNC ad will have remains to be seen. The ad buy has been described as a “light national cable buy,” but it will also be supplemented with online and digital advertising that will change each week. The RNC also plans to tweak the spot to target voters in to-be-determined battleground states.