So much has been written about the inappropriateness of the president's new ad featuring actress Lena Dunham—in which she compares voting for Barack Obama to the loss of one's virginity—that it hardly seems necessary to comment further.
In addition to being in questionable taste, however, it reflects that the president and his advisers have had a profound revelation about their candidate: In 2012 he just isn't "cool" anymore.
Like Frank Sinatra before "From Here to Eternity" and Elvis Presley after the U.S. Army, President Barack Obama just isn't hip anymore. He's not cool. He's lost that connection to young people that made them swoon when he ran for president, ready to do whatever he said and to follow him to the ends of the Earth. Now reduced to begging for "change" in front of shuttered construction sites still festooned with faded Obama "hope" posters from the last election, the hip-hop hipsters who thought it was "fresh" to be part of a cultural happening four years ago are wondering when and if they are ever going to find a job commensurate with their expensive college degrees.
The Lena Dunham ad—with its blatant, almost over-the-top appeal to sexual impulses—is really a sad attempt to reconnect with the young voters Obama has lost because he has been a poor steward of the nation's economy. It's exploitative of both women and young people in its assumption that its dominant metaphor represents the driving concern in their lives and that they can be so easily swayed by an appeal to their intimate passions that nothing else will matter.
Enthusiasm for Obama is down because the reality just isn't as cool as the fantasy was. He didn't deliver, so young people have moved on. And, like a fading teen idol, the president is desperately and ineffectually trying to reconnect with the throngs that used to follow him.