Changing The Tone

Yuval Levin doesn't like McCain's "tolerance" ad any more than I did, but Andrew begs to differ:

It's an encouraging sign that McCain is not going to pull a Rove this fall; it's a deft way of dealing with racial difference - check out the number of African-Americans in the ad - and it co-opts the "Goodbye To All That" appeal of Obama. A bit syrupy - and McCain doesn't always live up to its message. But it suggests to me that McCain has figured out the public mood. And sees himself as a unifying father-figure. That's shrewd and encouraging.

Just to be clear: I don't dislike the message of the ad, necessarily. I think McCain can and should promise (as a certain Texas Governor did, once upon a time) to "change the tone" in Washington, and I think his record as a bipartisan bridge-builder will be crucial to his campaign. I just think the ad itself is terrible - bloated, meandering and deadly dull, a soporific civics lecture delivered in a medium that rewards brevity, energy, and wit. Keep the message, by all means, but lose the packaging.

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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