MELANCON GOES THERE…. Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, despite humiliating scandals and a tragic voting record, is cruising to re-election this year, leaving his challenger Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) with very few options if he hopes to close the gap quickly.

In something of a hail-mary pass, the Melancon campaign has unveiled this two-minute long ad that goes into Vitter’s prostitution scandal — the “family values” senator has been caught with at least two hookers during his time in Congress — in quite a bit of detail.

At first blush, the message may not seem like the kind of thing that will resonate. After all, Louisianans know about Vitter’s betrayal of his family, but he’s winning anyway.

But the ad isn’t about the prostitutes so much as it’s about a senator getting away with criminal activities his constituents would face punishment for. The spot shows one Louisiana voter saying, “If you’re writing the laws, you should abide by the laws,” says one man identified as a retired firefighter. Another man argues, “For me, it’s not about hookers or cheating on his wife. The man broke the law, and there ought to be consequences for that.”

That’s the key here. People know about the affairs, and they don’t care. But voters might resent the arrogant politician who begs for votes so he’ll fight for “family values,” goes to Washington and gets involved with hookers, and then faces no punishment whatsoever, legal or otherwise.

It’s pretty expensive to run a two-minute long commercial, but Politico reports that the ad “will initially run largely on cable — possibly during the New Orleans Saints or LSU games this weekend. It is expected to reach every market in Louisiana.”

If the clip looks familiar, it’s based on a five-minute web video that was released over the summer, but which has since been edited down.

I don’t know if this will turn things around in this race, but if anything’s going to cut into Vitter’s lead, this ought to do the trick.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.