Breaking: Rick Perry Is “An American”

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Lucas Baiano, the guy who made Rick Perry’s new web video, was born and raised on the far side of the Canadian border. This doesn’t matter of course. Baiano is legal to work in the United States, and his dedication to the American political system is unquestioned. After volunteering for both Hillary Clinton and John McCain in the 2008 cycle (yes, both), he worked for, among others, the Republican Governors Association and Tim Pawlenty presidential campaign, before joining the Perry effort.

So why mention that Baiano is a Canadian? Because Baiano’s new ad for Perry makes a big thing of the fact that Rick Perry is an American.

Why would Baiano mention Perry’s nationality? There are two possible answers. The first is that Baiano’s ads are so beholden to the tropes of Hollywood movie trailers that in his quest to cast Perry as a super-hero savior, he is stealing the big movie houses’ tendency to pull the “American” card. The second is that Baiano is trying to draw a contrast with Obama by implicitly suggesting that the President is un-American. So which one is it? I’m one who always tends to believe that political ads have intended effects, not unintended ones. So my guess is all of the above.

Set aside the sound effects and the American-baiting, and this ad shows something else. Obama is in for a hard year on television. The quotes that Baiano selects from Obama, boasting to economic improvement that never lasted, will be, I would guess, ubiquitous next year, especially if the economy remains in its current rut. The White House and the Obama campaign simply don’t have an answer, beyond blaming the Europeans and the Japanese earthquake. The issue here is not whether Obama deserves credit for the great recession–he doesn’t. It’s whether he has properly handled the recovery. And when you are caught making predictions that don’t come true, playing a confidence game that never comes to pass, there tend to be consequences.