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Obama's New Ad

Barack Obama's new ad strikes me as extremely smart:

The political problem he's facing is the (not at all crazy) perception that McCain's experience, and his lack thereof, makes Obama less qualified to handle foreign policy. Obama here tries to turn the premise on its head: the world is changing, and the only way to lead it is to understand how it's different. John McCain might be your man if we were looking to win the Cold War, but we need a leader who isn't stuck in the past.

It's a pretty audacious claim. I actually think there's some logic to it: the biggest long-term threat we face is the prospect of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, and Obama has paid a lot of attention to this problem, while neocons like McCain (and President Bush) remain obsessed with state actors. Anyway, I don't know if or to what extent Obama's message here can work. But this seems like exactly the right tact he should be taking -- framing the foreign policy debate, like Jack Kennedy did, as something that needs new thinking.

--Jonathan Chait