Clad in a warm-tan barn coat and exuding holiday cheer, Rick Perry unveiled a new ad in which he asserts “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” Yoking gays in the military to Christmas rights is a bit of a rhetorical stretch, isn’t it?

The air of beleaguerment hangs heavily over the Perry ad. His first words are, “I’m not ashamed to be a Christian” (implicit message: Those Democrats want you to be ashamed to be a Christian!) “but you don’t have to be in the pew every week” (implicit message: Don’t you go looking to see if I’m in church every Sunday!) “to know that there’s something wrong in this country…, etc.”

The downbeat ad is shot against a contrastingly lovely, green, woodsy background, with a pretty string section playing in the background. The strategy is to make you feel all warm and tingly from the visual cues, while riling you up with Perry’s words.

“As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion,” asserts Perry.

Maybe I missed that: Did the President announce a new war while I was watching Homeland last Sunday, after being in the pew?

UPDATE: Last night on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert joined in on a wave of ridicule for this ad conflating gays in the military with Christmas. “Loving Christmas is not a choice,” Colbert asserted. As a child, he noted, “when I saw a gingerbread man, I wanted him in my mouth”:

Overall, Perry’s is not an effective pitch for the Republican candidate: Lack of logic, and the folksy background meant to smooth the viewer’s way into the message cannot overcome the hostility of his words.

Grade: C-

Twitter: @kentucker