The ad attacks the grandiose and vacuous "hope" and "change" themes posited by Obama, exposing them to be what they are - calls from and to unadulterated narcissim. It does so by contrasting those calls with cold reality and the spirit of service and self-sacrifice. That is what seperates McCain's attack on Obama's vacuous themes from those of Hillary, who only attacked Obama's siren song without providing the stunning contrast.
Is the ad effective? Yes, but given the situation, more is required.
To add, Obama, the chameleon candidate, is infinitely flexible depending on the expediencies of the sitution. He changes principles at the same speed that a chameleon changes colors in response to the environment of the moment. A necessary characteristic to be able to pull this off is an amoral disdain for the truth. In an earlier century, Obama would have been the penultimate snake oil salesman.
McCain is insufficiently flexible - which is a blessing and a curse. He is highly principled and thus, when he makes a decision such as on the environment, he imbues that decision with the belief that it with moral and ethical meaning and an inclination therefore to stand with the decision through thick and thin. This does not foreclose reviewing the issue in response to changing facts, but it does slow his response down immensely. Thus, when the issues of energy and the economy have come into conflict, we have seen him slowly inch off of his position against off-shore drilling and the exploitation of our natural resources.
On a grand scale, to any student of leadership and human nature, this puts McCain light years ahead of Obama in terms of fitness for the Presidency. But given that many Americans do not view these two through that prism, it gives Obama the immediate tactical advantage. Thus, as blogged below, Obama has once again lied to the public - this time on his support for welfare reform - and we are still waiting for McCain to call him on it. McCain, intent on running an "honorable campaign," has not yet responded to the lie, instead coming out with the above ad.
McCain does not seem to grasp that part of running an honorable campaign is demanding the same degree of honor from your fellow candidate. He and his campaign need to demonstrate far more tactical flexibility while still maintaining his principled stands. This should be easily accomplished, but I don't see it yet. Thus as I view the above ad, while it is good, he is ceding to Obama the ground to rewrite history into a false and utopian fairy tale. Snake oil if you will. In a campaign with only four months remaining, this could be a fatal error.
(H/T Hot Air)