The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In

'It's Halftime in America'

Plus, same-sex marriage's latest boost  
By EDITORIAL  |  February 8, 2012

IN THE LINE OF FIRE Eastwood’s Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler echoes the can-do optimism of the Reagan ’80s, but is drawing criticism from many on the right regardless. 
Karl Rove is pissed off, and for once we can understand why.

Chrysler's "It's Halftime in America" television commercial, which aired during the Super Bowl, featured tough guy Clint Eastwood reminding the nation of the successful bounce-back Detroit is enjoying. Its not-so-subliminal message: buy American cars that are made in America.

"I was, frankly, offended by it," said Rove, the Darth Vader of Republican politics. What short-circuited Rove's lightsaber was the genius of the ad: two minutes of gravel-voiced Eastwood, shot in a moody chiaroscuro, telling a simple story of hope and struggle. Although there was only a fleeting glimpse of an American flag, and no patriotic music playing in the background, the ad was an unabashed hymn to national spirit.

"People are out of work, and they're hurting. And they're all wondering what they're going to do to make a comeback," says Eastwood. "All that matters now is what's ahead."

With those words, Chrysler's scriptwriters tapped into the potent pool of American optimism, the can-do ethic that helped Ronald Reagan capture the White House in 1980.

What must have really stung was that this message was delivered by Eastwood, a former Republican mayor of Carmel, California, who is an icon to many law-and-order right-wingers.

Taken out of context, "It's Halftime in America" doesn't display a single second of political content.

But the context is everything. Republicans vociferously opposed the loans President Barack Obama sponsored for Detroit automakers. Those loans to date have restored 55,000 jobs out of 334,000 lost, and — more important — saved as many as one million more among automakers and their sub-
contractors and suppliers.

With the bailout, Obama did more than save the auto industry, he saved the entire state of Michigan.

"It's Halftime in America" is a very unusual ad. It certainly provokes an emotional response, as effective sales pitches always do. But it also promotes thought.

And in this instance, two conclusions are inescapable:

First, Obama bought the auto industry time to turn itself around — not just with loans, but also with union givebacks and a no-strike pledge as well as serious financial sacrifice from corporate bond holders.

Second, the Congressional Republicans did nothing. In fact, they opposed rescuing the auto industry. The GOP was willing to let more than a million jobs disappear.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, an apostle of creative destruction, went so far as to suggest in 2008 that Detroit must fail in order to be saved. If Obama and the Democrats tried to save Detroit, Romney wrote in a 2008 op-ed piece, "You can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."

Republican electoral hegemony, perversely, has been built on economic inequality. Over the last 30 or so years, the bottom 60 percent of the work force — for a complicated set of reasons — has seen its spending power diminished, while the top 40 percent has enjoyed growth. Big US companies cut 2.9 million jobs, transferring about 2.4 million of them to lower-paid overseas workers.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Time to end tolerance, An Obama confidant on the surge in Afghanistan, Capuano for Senate, More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Barack Obama, Politics, Same-Sex Marriage,  More more >
| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 02/10 ]   David Spade  @ Wilbur Theatre
[ 02/10 ]   Die Antwoord + Glass T33th  @ Paradise Rock Club
[ 02/10 ]   Stephen Petronio Company  @ Institute of Contemporary Art
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   'IT'S HALFTIME IN AMERICA'  |  February 08, 2012
    Karl Rove is pissed off, and for once we can understand why.  
  •   OBAMA'S VISION: ''AN AMERICA BUILT TO LAST''  |  January 25, 2012
    By any measure, President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech would have been considered a political winner, but coming just one day after the Republicans' constipated Florida-primary debate, Obama scored an undeniable triumph.
  •   STOPPING SOPA  |  January 18, 2012
    You can almost breathe a sigh of relief, though the fight is long from over. As of this writing, it looks increasingly as if Congress will — miraculously — fail to break the Internet.
  •   ROMNEY'S SECRET FORMULA  |  January 12, 2012
    The Republican nomination thing may not be as complicated as the media is making it out to be, but it sure is fun.
  •   HOW 'THREE STRIKES' LEGISLATION FAILS  |  January 04, 2012
    Despite evidence that "three strikes" mandatory sentencing laws don't work, are punishingly expensive for taxpayers, and make an already unfair criminal-justice system even more irrational and racist, the Massachusetts legislature seems hell-bent on enacting one.

 See all articles by: EDITORIAL

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed