Yes, it’s a very well done ad. And it’s a very beautiful sentiment. (Although I would argue that the country doesn’t really unite, we just have a majority who decide on a course of action that works. But that just me being a literal minded hair splitter.)
But it didn’t stop Karl Rove from making it sound like a socialist plot.
“I was, frankly, offended by it,” said Karl Rove 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.
So Rove is essentially saying that it’s a stealth ad meant to say that OBAMA SAVED THE AUTO INDUSTRY! MAN, IS OBAMA AWESOME OR WHAT? WE SHOULD ALL VOTE FOR OBAMA! YAY, OBAMA!!!!
Except for one thing, Clint Eastwood, who voted for John McCain in 2008 helped write the ad.
…according to Clint Eastwood’s longtime agent turned manager Leonard Hirshan, that’s exactly why his client starred in the TV spot.
“That’s the problem; everything is political now,” says Hirshan, who tells us that he didn’t see the “Halftime” spot until it aired last night, and insisted that Eastwood agreed to make the spot without even consulting his representative of 50 years because it was “something personal he got involved in” that was neither political nor commercial.
The TV spot pointedly made no reference to Chrysler, or its cars, which do not appear in the ad; only a clutch of Chrysler car logos appear at the end. This, Hirshan says, was not an accident; it was, in fact, Eastwood’s doing.
“He rewrote it to make it suit his needs,” he explains, “People have to understand that what he was doing was saying to America, ‘Get yourselves together – all of you – and make this a second half.’ It’s not a political thing.”
Eastwood is a Republican in the same way my mom is a Republican. Fiscally conservative but live and let live on social issues. And it needs to be noted that in a November 7th interview with the L.A. Times, Eastwood came out against the Auto Bailout.
“I’ve always been very liberal when it comes to people thinking for themselves,” said Eastwood, who supports gay marriage, abortion rights and environmental protection. “But I’m a big hawk on cutting the deficit. I was against the stimulus thing too. We shouldn’t be bailing out the banks and car companies. If a CEO can’t figure out how to make his company profitable, then he shouldn’t be the CEO.”
(It should be said that the stimulus is distinct from the Auto and Bank bailouts. And also, it worked!)
So here’s what happened. Chrysler decides to do a Super Bowl ad celebrating it’s comeback. They ask Eastwood to do it. He agrees but only if he can tweak the message. He turns it into a non-political dream of a renewal of America. They hire David Gordon Green who shoots the hell out of it, making it a visual tone poem. And Eastwood pours every ounce of his iconic image into it. Using his trademark rasp to turn the words into a prayer for redemption.
And Karl Rove uses his powers of partisan hackery to accuse Eastwood of partisan hackery.
And the worst part is that by pointing out that Karl Rove is being a partisan hack makes me look like a partisan hack.
And in the end, all good intentions are buried under a pile of hackery.
And this America, is why we can’t have nice things.