Salon - Joan Walsh
If Clint Eastwood sounded like Obama, it’s because the GOP has ceded optimism to the Democrats…
I admit it: Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” Super Bowl ad reminded me of President Obama’s best recent speeches. Actor Clint Eastwood, the face of rugged American individualism, talked about “tough eras” and “downturns” and “times when we didn’t understand each other,” but then declared:
But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one…
This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.
“I was, frankly, offended by it,” Rove said on Fox News Monday. “I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is 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.”
Rove wasn’t the only Republican who tried to cast the Chrysler ad as essentially payback to the president for supporting the bailout that kept the domestic auto industry alive. Michelle Malkin tweeted her horror Sunday night: “Agh. WTH? Did I just see Clint Eastwood fronting an auto bailout ad???”
Now, Clint Eastwood is no Democrat – he voted for John McCain in 2008, has been a Republican for most of his life, and now describes himself as having “libertarian” leanings. It’s hard to imagine he’d lend his name to an openly and intentionally pro-Obama ad. Chrysler has denied any political motive behind the Eastwood ad.
The flap over the ad confirms the GOP’s serious branding problem: The problem for Rove and the rest of the GOP is that their party’s narrative has become relentlessly negative, pessimistic and uninspiring. They’ve left the language of optimism and resilience, higher ground and common ground, to the Democrats, and lately President Obama has grabbed every opportunity to employ that language.
Rove is essentially complaining that anyone using rhetoric of resilience and tenacity, or suggests “we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one” sounds like a gosh-darn … Democrat. That’s good news for Democrats. There’s more good news in recent polls showing that Obama is winning back at least some white working-class voters with his feistier message of economic populism. The president’s approval/disapproval ratings have been dismal with whites who make less than $50,000, with his approval dropping into the low 30s and disapproval up in the mid-60s regularly over the last two years.
- Karl Rove sees evidence of ‘Chicago-style politics’ in Chrysler ad (dailykos.com)
- Rachel Maddow Blog: Clint Eastwood wins the Super Bowl (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Only An Idiot Would Think Chrysler’s Clint Eastwood Ad Was Pro-Obama [Clint Eastwood] (jalopnik.com)
- Karl Rove Was Offended By Clint Eastwood’s Commercial (perezhilton.com)
- Clint Eastwood: ‘I’m Not Politically Affiliated With Obama’, If He Wants To ‘Run With The Spirit Of That Ad, Go For It’ (mediaite.com)
- Why are the Republicans screaming about Clint Eastwood and Chrysler? (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- Clint Eastwood Addresses Commercial Buzz: ‘I’m Not Politically Affiliated With Obama’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Karl Rove says he was ‘offended’ by Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler Super Bowl commercial (popwatch.ew.com)