There’s a reason that people have hopes that Obama might make a transformational president. It’s not just that he has inherited a political environment suited to achieving substantial goals. Obama can simply and clearly communicate his ideas, and his people have a remarkable grasp on how technology can be exploited to further amplify them. These sorts of sales skills are prerequisites for making, say, health care reform possible. 

Now, that was an impressively effective commercial--understated, for the most part, and filed with evocative images. I had feared kitsch, but those fears proved to be unfounded. It was Reaganesque in its ability to combine anecdote and policy.

It also makes for quite the contrast. McCain is talking about socialism and Ayers, while Obama has stripped his rhetoric of any hint of ideology. And where McCain often seems on the verging of ripping out someone’s gullet these days, Obama struck a convincingly empathetic tone. OK. It’s not a good idea to admit that you were seduced by an infomercial. But that was one helluva closing argument. (Perhaps, Noam will be less nervous now.) 

Update: Howard Wolfson also likes it.  

--Franklin Foer