I have to say I agree with Matt Yglesias’ interpretation of the Obama ad highlighting John McCain’s unquestionable celebrity status. It’s pretty silly.
I would add though that McCain’s charge of “celebrity” did not constitute a per se attack of Obama’s popularity. Rather, McCain’s ad attacked, or at least implied, that Obama was nothing more than a celebrity, that he had as much substance as a Paris Hilton or a Britney Spears. This criticism echoes both conservative and prior HRC charges that Obama is little more than a rhetorician who happened to be in the right place at the right time (which, I might add, makes attacks questioning Obama’s eloquence especially puzzling).
Anyway, the problem with this ad is that it doesn’t rebut McCain’s primary criticism — that Obama is only a celebrity. Obviously, whether or not you believe that is up to debate. I would posit that securing the Democratic nomination from the Clinton political machine, operating a gargantuan and well-oiled campaign, having prescient foreign policy views, and addressing issues in a relatively honest manner, more than accounts for the fact that McCain is literally older than duct tape. But that’s just me.
UPDATE: This post is now up on Political Derby. Please support me by commenting.