The first thing that struck me about this morning's Obama reelection kickoff video ("It Begins With Us") is what a sober, purposeful affair it is by the standards of these things--no amber waves of grain, fluttering flags, saluting soldiers on Veteran's Day, etc. In that way it couldn't be further from the high-energy, jump-cutting, Michael Bay-style video that Tim Pawlenty launched recently ("Courage to Stand"). The other thing that's striking, especially in contrast to the circa-2008 hope-and-change Obama, is the almost matter-of-fact way in which it skips past trying to inspire the viewer and cuts straight to the practical task of trying to get Obama reelected. To me, the most important character here is Ed from North Carolina, the older white man who rationalizes his support for Obama even though he "doesn't agree with him on everything." I suspect the thrust of Obama's campaign will be geared toward winning over the Eds of the country, people who aren't rapturous about Obama, or even sure they like him, but are nonetheless open to supporting him, especially if they can be prompted, or led, to engage in the same sort of dispassionate analysis we see Ed making here. In that way--passion versus dispassion--I think we're probably getting a glimpse of how the upcoming campaign will differ from the last one. Here's the video:
Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.