Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl, Bailouts and Dirty Harry

I watched the Super Bowl last Sunday. I had no rooting interest, but I thought the game was pretty entertaining. I also thought the ads were pretty average with a few highlights - I mean, really, how much mileage can you get out of Bud Light, Betty White, and Star Wars year after year. I guess it's subjective, but I found the ads boring.

One that is getting some attention now is the Chrysler-sponsored Clint Eastwood spot that aired at halftime and talked about how Detroit automakers have rebounded and is back in fighting shape. Turns out, certain high profile conservatives found the ads in poor taste because they talked about the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry...the U.S. auto industry that taxpayers bailed out and now that has rebounded, paid off its debt to taxpayers and is again competitive and thriving. Ohhh...conservatives don't like giving credit to the bailout. No, no. It runs counter to everything they stand for.

So what do these displeased conservatives do? They don't go on record saying how they were against the (now proven successful) bailout and what they would have done differently. No. They instead say, "because auto companies owe a debt of gratitude to the Obama administration for the bailout, they are doing this advert...and essentially then Obama is parleying public funds into corporate advertising. Isn't that outrageous."

Setting aside that this is utter wank. Literally and figuratively false. And setting aside that U.S. automakers who received bailout funds have fully repaid them, below is an excerpt written by The Rude Pundit today on his blog that explains the irony, hypocrisy and downright maddening position from conservatives on this advertisement...

Speaking of conservatives being fucking crazy, the outrage on the right over the Clint Eastwood-narrated Chrysler ad is beyond bizarre. Yes, there was an image from the protests at the Wisconsin capital, but that was timed with the word "discord," not "freedom" or "heroic." Otherwise, the script is a locker room pep talk, one that is inclusive as can be. One part in particular seems to grate on the right: Detroit "almost lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again." At some point, someone needs to say to Republicans that it's okay to have been wrong about the auto bailout. Now let's move on.

But they can't. They just can't. Karl Rove pranced onto Fox "news" to announce his displeasure, saying that the ad was "a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising." The man who helped demonize a legless Vietnam vet said he was "offended."

What this reaction says is something deeper. See, Clint Eastwood, who voted for John McCain and opposed the bank and car bailouts, thinks the whole controversy is bullshit. He rewrote the script, and he's donating his pay to charity. What Rove and the rest of the right's negative reaction really means is that they are divorced from the nation as a whole. In the ad, Eastwood says that, during tough times, "we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one." We acted, in essence, like Americans.

Conservatives are saying that it's offensive to expect them to do so. And if Dirty Harry wants to wallow around with the dirty hippies, then fuck him, too.

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