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Clint Eastwood Chrysler Super Bowl Ad Becomes Political Football

The commercial from last night’s Super Bowl that’s getting the most attention in the political world is the one that ran just minutes after the Giants and Patriots and returned to their locker rooms for halftime, and almost from the instant it started running it became subject of political debate:

A Chrysler commercial that aired during Sunday night’s Super Bowl has struck a chord in the political world. Narrated by actor Clint Eastwood, the ad drew a comparison between the championship football game and the state of the U.S. economy.

“It’s halftime. Both teams are in their locker rooms discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half. It’s halftime in America, too.” Eastwood says. “People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re gonna do to make a comeback.”

Pointing to improvement in the auto industry as a positive sign, the “Dirty Harry” star goes on, “Detroit’s showing us it can be done. …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.”

Though the commercial didn’t mention any politicians by name, Twitter quickly lit up with speculation: Was Eastwood giving props to President Obama for bailing out the auto industry?  And was the ad a veiled endorsement of his re-election?

David Axelrod, a top campaign adviser to Obama, seemed quick to interpret it that way, calling the ad a “powerful spot.”

But Chrysler denies that the ad is pro-Obama. According to a company spokesman, CEO Sergio Marchionne told Detroit WJR’s Paul W. Smith on Monday: “The message is sufficiently universal and neutral that it should be appealing to everybody in this country and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t get utilized as political fodder in a debate.”

If you haven’t seen the ad yet, and I can’t imagine there are many people who haven’t at this point, here it is:

Personally, politics was the last thing that entered my mind when the ad was running. Even before the subject of the ad was clear, there was no mistaking Eastwood’s distinctive voice. The message itself struck me as something that was so sufficiently general that anyone would agree with it regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum. However, as I noted this weekend, we now live in a culture where everything eventually becomes politicized, and it didn’t take long for Twitter to fill up with commentary on the ad’s supposed political message. From the left, of course, the reaction was fairly similar to what Axelrod said in his Tweet, that the commercial was somehow an endorsement of the President even though neither politics nor the President are every even mentioned in the had. People on the right saw the same thing, except of course they complained about government money being used for that kind of message and Eastwood taking money to convey it.

That complaint is being picked up by pundits on the right today. Karl Rove said on Fox News this morning that he found the ad offensive;

“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.”

One columnist from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution agrees:

But the halftime Chrysler commercial starring Clint Eastwood, describing America as being in its own “halftime,” was just overtly politicized. After all, what else could “halftime” have meant, in the year 2012, than halfway through the eight years Barack Obama would be president if re-elected this fall? I’m fairly certain it wasn’t a prediction that the country will break up circa 2248 A.D.

Chrysler of course has a right to political speech. But it would be nice if the company wouldn’t be so brazen about its leanings while still owing the entire country — left, right and center — billions of dollars.

Now it’s perfectly fine to have opposed the auto industry bailouts. I did myself and Eastwood himself said he opposed the bailouts in a 2010 interview. It would have preferable if President Bush had listened to the will of Congress and the American people in December 2008 instead of giving billions of dollars of TARP money to General Motors and Chrysler. Had he done that then, the companies would have been forced into the only place they ever actually belonged, and the place where they ultimately ended up, United States Bankruptcy Court. The financial situation that they were in at the time were exactly what Chapter 11 was created for, and it would have been far better if they’d gone through the process sooner and before billions of dollars of taxpayer money were given away to protect the position of politically favored businesses and labor unions. That’s water under the bridge at this point, though, and it seems slightly absurd to me to argue that G.M. and Chrysler shouldn’t be advertising to promote their products. Presidents Bush and Obama made the foolish decision to engage in these bailouts, wouldn’t it be nice if these companies did what they needed to pay us back (not that I’m expecting most of that money to ever be paid back)?

But that’s not even what this argument is about, I think. Isn’t it possible to look at this commercial as doing something than other than confirming the political views of the viewer? Frankly, I just thought it was a well done commercial with a great veteran actor, and a welcome sight in a year when most of the Super Bowl ads frankly stunk. You don’t have to view everything through a political prisim and, to some degree, it strikes me that it’s unhealthy to do so.

Clint Eastwood made a cool commercial. Can’t we just leave it at? Because a political argument over a car commercial strikes me as kind of stupid.

Update: For what it’s worth, Dirty Harry himself has spoken and denies any political motive behind the ad:

Following the fall out over the controversial Chrysler Super Bowl halftime ad, Clint Eastwood spoke exclusively with O’Reilly Factor producer Ron Mitchell…

“I just want to say that the spin stops with you guys, and there is no spin in that ad. On this I am certain.

l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.

I am not supporting any politician at this time.

Chrysler to their credit didn’t even have cars in the ad.

Anything they gave me for it went for charity.

If any Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it.”

So, there you have it.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jim says:

    Both Bush and Obama bailed them out. Wrong thing to do? Sure. Commercial could be politically interpreted? Sure.

    Well done commercial. You betcha.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  2. anjin-san says:

    It was a very high quality commercial, what you would expect from a project where Eastwood is involved.

    but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics

    You have to love this. How exactly is Eastwood an Obama tool? He has been a registered Republican since before Obama was born. God only knows how much money he has – I don’t think he needs the paycheck.

    Over the years, he has proven himself to be open minded on politics & issues. A thoughtful and reasonable “Country First” guy in deeds, not words. Anyone who saw Gran Torino knows that he, like countless millions of others, has a real feeling for the glory days of Detroit and the US auto industry.

    And then there is the far right, who would rather see the US auto industry dead than alive and providing jobs and economic expansion. Because, you know, Obama sucks.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  3. Fiona says:

    I didn’t see it as being particularly political–more like the usual tribute to Americans’ never-say-die spirit and an addendum to Chrysler’s paean to Detroit, which ran during the previous SuperBowl (and which was also a very effective and moving ad). That halftime in American might refer to being halfway through two Obama terms never occurred to me. Then again, I don’t see things through that special Faux news lens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  4. Tillman says:

    After all, what else could “halftime” have meant, in the year 2012, than halfway through the eight years Barack Obama would be president if re-elected this fall?

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  5. Eric says:

    I had the same reaction when I watched the commercial. I thought it was uplifting and well done and the very stark tone of Eastwood’s voice sold me as the best commercial of the night. But I figured this was going to happen after watching it.

    It’ll be a long time before we see another commercial without the political eyeglass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    Now Doug you had a thread up a couple of days ago about everything getting politicised and I pointed out the main culprits were on the right…see what I mean? This however is simply wrong.

    The financial situation that they were in at the time were exactly what Chapter 11 was created for, and it would have been far better if they’d gone through the process sooner and before billions of dollars of taxpayer money were given away to protect the position of politically favored businesses and labor unions.

    Sure the Bush admin panicked and just threw some short term money at the problem (in extenuation they did have their hands full) but whether it occurred during Bush’s tenure or a few months later there was no way GM and Chrysler could have survived and been successfully restructured without going through an expedited Chapter 11 process with the govt providing DIP financing on the sort of scale it did. This is not a matter of debate but of fact because no one else was willing to provide DIP on any scale let alone of this size. The entire banking system was clinging to a life raft. And the American people didn’t want the US auto industry to disappear down the tubes which is what would have happened without the expedited process. Saab provides an object lesson of what would likely have happened had not the govts of Bush and Obama intervened. This continued refusal accept what is patently obvious to most people with ten cents worth of knowledge of both the process and business implications is unfortunately evidence of a startling economic and a moral blindness

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  7. Mac Guy says:

    It wasn’t a veiled anything. It was a motivational speech for the auto industry.

    Claiming that it was something more than a car commercial is searching for something that just ain’t there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Mac Guy says:

    @Tillman: Absolutely.

    And let’s not forget that Eastwood is a registered Republican. So let’s stop bickering over what the car commercial means politically, and let’s start getting this country back on track.

    THAT’S what the commercial ACTUALLY meant.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  9. legion says:

    It’s not a political commercial per se, but it is, by its very existence, a reminder that bailing the automakers out was actually the _right_ thing to do. Keeping those companies alive salvaged the jobs of literally _millions_ more people who would have been laid off otherwise. While bailing out the banks has done absolutely nothing but _harm_ to the economy. If that puts a few conservative noses out of join, oh well. Facts are notoriously liberal, y’know.

    And at this point I think it can be declared an axiom that anything Karl Rove finds “offensive” is objectively good for the US, and all of humanity.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  10. David M says:

    It’s kind of a sequel to last year’s ad with Eminem and I thought it was one of the most well done ads that I saw. I think it’s interesting how a positive yet generic ad about America and the auto industry is pro-Obama, and that spells trouble for the GOP. They’ve been negative for so long, so just being positive about the country can draw an immediate association with Obama. Same with the domestic auto industry, the GOP seem to be working so hard to make sure they don’t get any blame there, never thinking through what that meant for any successes. The country may not like bailouts, but I’d be surprised if the auto-maker bailouts were the same kind of electoral liability as bank bailouts.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    While bailing out the banks has done absolutely nothing but _harm_ to the economy

    .

    Except this is just as absurd as suggesting bailing out the auto industry wasn’t the right thing to do. If the auto industry had gone down it would have cost millions of jobs certainly, but had the financial industry tanked it would have cost tens of millions of jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  12. c.red says:

    Actually, besides being a pretty good film, the opinion this commercial evokes probably is a pretty good indicator of where someone stands politically.

    Rightwing see it as some sort of awful pro-Obama trickery.
    Right and Left Moderates as a good commercial with a mild message (pro or con depending on their taste)
    Leftwing as a great pro-Obama cheering.

    Oblivious people probably won’t take any political message away from it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  13. Herb says:

    @David M: “They’ve been negative for so long, so just being positive about the country can draw an immediate association with Obama.”

    Yes….this.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  14. Tano says:

    Personally, politics was the last thing that entered my mind when the ad was running.

    Maybe you are just too young. The moment I heard what was being said it struck me as a dead-obvious takeoff on “Morning in America”.

    However, as I noted this weekend, we now live in a culture where everything eventually becomes politicized,

    No. You made a good point about things being made political that shouldn’t be. But you are undermining the force of your point by applying it to this ad. How can one make an ad that so blatantly riffs off of Reagan’s iconic ad – with the exact same type of uplifting rebirth type of a message, and do so in a presidential reelection year, and not see that as political???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  15. Hey Norm says:

    The ad confused me as I know Eastwood wouldn’t support Obama…but it was pretty much an expression of Obama’s message. Maybe it’s a reflection of how centrist Obama is and how far out on the fringe the Clown Car Primary is.
    Having said that…

    “… It would have preferable if President Bush had listened to the will of Congress and the American people in December 2008 instead of giving billions of dollars of TARP money to General Motors and Chrysler…”

    Typical Libertarian crap that wilts with the least exposure to the real world.

    “…Chrysler to their credit didn’t even have cars in the ad…”

    Huh? I saw their cars…if only pieces of them…it was clearly identifiable to me as a Dodge ad long before it ended.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  16. Tano,

    Most people don’t call me too young. So I suppose I should thank you for that :)

    I do remember “Morning In America” very well. And I suppose one could draw that analogy. What it reminded me more of, though, is a coaches halftime speech in the locker room during a big game. There’s nothing in that commercial that is political per se, and I guess I’m getting to the point where I’m getting kind of sick of everything in this country being politicized, whether its a Clint Eastwood commercial or Tim Tebow.

    (Speaking of which, I don’t remember Eastwood ever doing a commercial before so this could be a first)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  17. mattb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I do remember “Morning In America” very well. And I suppose one could draw that analogy. What it reminded me more of, though, is a coaches halftime speech in the locker room during a big game.

    This also speaks to how the line between politics and sports continues to blur — especially in an election year.

    Ultimately — to go a bit deconstructionist — the fact is that the ad can, without much of a stretch, be read in political context. Whether or not it was intended to be a pro-Obama ad, matters only to the degree one can prove that the Administration was involved with the creation of the ad (expect lots of right wing media investigations). But the net result of the ad is that a lot of people will see this as a political advert (and it may end up being picked up as one after the fact).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Tano says:

    Well Doug, I don’t think it is a question of drawing the analogy. I don’t think it could have been more obvious.
    There is nothing in the ad that is political??? The whole thing is about the auto industry, and by extension, the country as a whole, fighting back from the brink of the abyss. This is of course, the context within which the political battles are being fought. For the auto industry, that fight was made possible by a political decision by the government to lend a hand. The opposition party was opposed to this assistance and criticizes it to this day. The same President who helped the auto industry has been trying to help the economy as a whole fight through to recovery, and he has been opposed by the same forces.

    In that context, to celebrate the gutsy fighting spirit of the auto industry, and of the country as a whole is, at the very least, a message that resonates loudly with the approach and policies of the Democrats. Then throw in the not-subtle-at-all references to Morning in America, and ….well, I think you have to bend over backwards to claim that this is not political.

    I find it entirely understandable that Chrysler would not want to put this across as a blatant endorsement, but it also would be perfectly understandable that they do this as a thank-you to him for saving their company. Having Clint do it is just pure genius.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. legion says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    had the financial industry tanked it would have cost tens of millions of jobs.

    I’ve heard that said a lot, but I’m not convinced it’s so. If a major car manufacturer goes down, so do all the countless supply-chain providers it used – those businesses tend to be pretty maker-specific & probably wouldn’t get re-absorbed by other US manufacturers (much less foreign makers). Additionally, if a US automaker went belly-up, their previous demand would be split between the remaining US makers & all the foreign makers – it’s not like a “new” car company would be created to service, say, Chrysler’s old customers.

    But if banks go belly-up, the need for general banking services still exists. There wouldn’t be entire lines of logistical support businesses tanking with them. And the jobs transfer quite well from player to player – if Goldman-Sachs or one of the other biggies vanished, I don’t think it would have a fraction of the impact on the overall economy. Although it _would_ make a number of Very Wealthy People pee their pants, and that’s why they got no-strings bailouts IMNSHO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. anjin-san says:

    I think you have to bend over backwards to claim that this is not political.

    Eastwood said it is not political. Are you calling him a liar? He did not ride into town on a hay truck, I seriously doubt he could be hoodwinked into doing a political message if that was not his intention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  21. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tano:

    Damned cunning these Italians…..that Machiavelli has a lot to answer for. Btw I’m sure Marchionne is secretly happy this controversy had erupted as it draws more attention to Chrysler. Obama can’t be too unhappy either since is showcases one of his signature achievements and makes the GOP look like petty dwarves bent on the destruction of American jobs and attacking an American icon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. David M says:

    @legion: The response to that is easy: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. Those failures affected the entire economy not just the Very Wealthy People, This isn’t to say the bailouts shouldn’t have been tougher on the financial industry, just that letting big banks fail was going to be seriously painful for everyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    I’ve heard that said a lot, but I’m not convinced it’s so.

    Well that’s probably because (as your remarks indicate) you have no idea whatsoever of the role of the US financial industry in providing essential credit and a myriad of other functions/services which are central to the smooth operation of the US economy. To take but one example how the hell do you think much of US business finances it receivables?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  24. legion says:

    @Brummagem Joe: The _industry_ is essential. I’ve said nothing in argument to that. But when Lehman Bros. or Bear-Sterns crapped out, their places _within the industry_ were taken by other firms. Loans were still made, mortgages financed, deals brokered, etc. If Chrysler shut down tomorrow, I believe the impact would be immensely worse, since a) a lot more than just Chrysler employees would be out of work and b) many of those workers would likely _never_ get re-hired, at least not within the auto industry. Whereas I suspect a lot of LB and BS employees were absorbed into other firms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    The _industry_ is essential. I’ve said nothing in argument to that.

    What was this then?

    I’ve heard that said a lot, but I’m not convinced it’s so.

    Loans were still made, mortgages financed, deals brokered, etc.

    Only because the Treasury and the Fed stepped in and bailed out the entire system which you claimed had caused immense harm. Without this intervention most of major banks were technically insolvent and would have had to close their doors, call in loans and suspend credit. There would then have been contagion to the rest of the banking and insurance system. As I said and I don’t mean to be rude but you really have no idea whatsoever of what you’re talking about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  26. DRS says:

    It strikes me as an ad that was designed to be patriotic but not partisan, that the company seems to be bending over not to be political. Of course, damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Hey Norm says:

    I just read that Rove is disturbed by the ad.
    I guess Republicans are disturbed by optimism.
    This is not your father’s Republican Party.
    All this party has is negativity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  28. legion says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Ummm… I’m not convinced you have any reading comprehension. My comment was in direct response to your quoted text:

    had the financial industry tanked it would have cost tens of millions of jobs.

    And I stated, quite clearly, I thought, that the impact wouldn’t have been nearly that bad. The banking system would have been deeply shaken, yes. But “tens of millions” of people out of work? I don’t know where you even get those numbers from , unless you think every single bank in the country would shut down, never to be re-opened, the entire concept of banking rendered untenable. That’s ridiculous.

    My argument, restated, is that even if many many banks collapsed, their storefronts would have reopened eventually after being bought out by other banks – banking is a fairly generic service. Making Ford Mustangs (for example) is not – the people put out of work by an automaker collapse would be out of work much longer (possibly terminally), and the down-stream impact would be much worse for the economy. If a bank collapses – even a huge bank – other banks step in to fill the gap of needed banking services. If Ford collapses, it’s just gone. Other makers might sell a few more cars with less competition, there’ll be a lot fewer people able to buy them…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  29. george says:

    What Tilman said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    It never even occurred to me that there was anything political in this, until I read it here. Nor did anyone I was watching the game with (including a couple of guys who are pretty political) comment that they thought it was political. I guess you can read anything into anything if you want – believing is seeing, as they say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Barb Hartwell says:

    I did hear it as political, but I loved it. I was somewhat taken aback since I always thought Mr. Eastwood was a Republican and I thought this is going to PO a-lot of them. If they would just understand just what he is really saying though, It`s time we start rebuilding and working together to put Americans back to work. I love Clint Eastwood Bravo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Barb Hartwell says:

    @Hey Norm: Carl Rove is a disgusting subhuman and he is offended by a great guy with a lot of fans saying what is right for middle-class Americans. Something that scum cannot understand, since it doesn`t help the 1%er pigs

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  32. Doubter4444 says:

    This is interesting – I’m in the business, and have worked on a fair share of Super Bowl spots.

    I’ve also met Mr. Eastwood a couple of times, and know several of his close, long time friends.
    I haven’t asked what they think yet, but they’ve made it clear they don’t like Obama, or agree with much of his agenda, and they made it pretty clear Eastwood feels pretty much the same, so the handwringing that he’s all of a sudden in the tank for the President is ludicrous.
    Mr. Eastwood ‘s a very died in the wool Republican, who mostly (and smartly) keeps his political views reasonably private, he is not endorsing, even tacitly, the president.

    As for @Tano:
    Again, I know what I’m talking about – I WORKED for almost 20 years with the guys who created the “Morning in America” stuff.
    They were (are, they aren’t dead, just retired) brilliant advertising people.

    Advertising is not a subtle medium, and in that regard, very little is left to chance, so I really doubt that there was an attempt to recall “Morning in America” – creatives are pretty caught up in the latest thing and the latest work, (and young) so as I said, don’t read too much into it.
    Besides, “homage” to most young creatives is taking the look or feel of an era or spot, and the work would be all lens-flared and warm and cosy – not gritty and dark and dreary, not a considered structural spinoff, or rhetorical extension of a campaign done while most who did the work were in elementary school.

    Rather, if anything they “Homaged” the look of a couple other Eastwood films like Million dollar Baby, Unforgiven and Grand Torino.

    The creatives involved, as they are (and I know some of these guys too) too young and not meta enough to make a direct correlation to the old Alies/Messner work.
    There maybe some oldsters in Detroit who tried to shape it that way, and maybe, maybe, the director of the spot (presumably Sam Bayer, I haven’t checked), was paying a little homage to “Morning in America” (he’s good enough to do so).
    But I doubt it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. Kenny says:

    Can someone please point out to Chrysler that western Michigan hasn’t been annexed into Canada.

    “Imported from Detroit” is less than good, even for a purple America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    My comment was in direct response to your quoted text:

    had the financial industry tanked it would have cost tens of millions of jobs.

    And so was mine. Most the major banks (probably all of them) were insolvent …… So the Fed took something like 1.4 trillion of iffy assets off their books and gave them cash in return to bolster their balance sheets (and the Treasury chipped in another 250 billion) so keeping them solvent …..Without this they would have had to close their doors, suspend credit and call in loans, this is what happens when banks close their doors……. The contagion would have spread to the secondary banking and insurance sectors and other intermediaries like brokerage houses, bill discounters, mortgage lenders, bond trading houses, etc, who would also have had to close their doors….. Corporate liquidity for corporations large and small would have seized up overnight as businesses couldn’t borrow, couldn’t access their balances and would see their loans called…… Ten of millions of workers would have been laid off for how long we don’t know but many forever as companies went bankrupt because businesses had no means to finance WIP, payrolls, interest payments and receivables…. This is exactly what happened in 1929-32 when the economy was far less integrated than today.

    My argument, restated, is that even if many many banks collapsed, their storefronts would have reopened eventually after being bought out by other banks

    Which “other” banks would these have been? ALL THE MAJOR BANKS WERE INSOLVENT…. and their collapse would have taken the entire financial system down with them. What don’t you understand about this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doubter4444:

    Mr. Eastwood ‘s a very died in the wool Republican, who mostly (and smartly) keeps his political views reasonably private, he is not endorsing, even tacitly, the president.

    Er…he’s an actor for godsake making a paid appearance in a TV commercial, what he thinks is irrelevant to the content and to any overt or subliminal message contained in the ad. I’m quite sure the company wasn’t making any political point here but it’s hard to escape the inadvertent sub text. Republicans don’t like it. Tough. They’re just making themselves look rather small and anti American by this temper tantrum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. Racehorse says:

    Let me get this straight: there was a football game, the “Super” Bowl, best of the best, and all everyone is talking about is a commercial? NFL: you have a problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    I don’t know where you even get those numbers from , unless you think every single bank in the country would shut down, never to be re-opened, the entire concept of banking rendered untenable. That’s ridiculous.

    A very large number would have had to shut down with colossal economic damage and sure in due course the banking system would recover but what happens in the meantime? Tens of millions of layoffs, some for months, some for years, some forever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Racehorse:

    yep it was a good game.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. rodney dill says:

    Clint himself claims he’s not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama….
    That’s good enough for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Tano says:

    @Doubter4444:

    I know what I’m talking about – I WORKED for almost 20 years with the guys who created the “Morning in America” stuff.

    What difference does that make?

    They were (are, they aren’t dead, just retired) brilliant advertising people.

    No doubt.

    Advertising is not a subtle medium, and in that regard, very little is left to chance, so I really doubt that there was an attempt to recall “Morning in America” –

    That is a ludicrous statement. It starts off well – nothing is left to chance. You are telling me that in the process of developing this ad, none of these brilliant people sat up for a moment and said – “hey, halftime in America – y’mean kinda like morning in America”??? (thats assuming it wasn’t explicit from the beginning). None of these professionals saw the blatantly obvious comparison? Or are you saying that they saw it (maybe even intended it), but figured no one amongst the public would notice?

    It seems that the only other possiblities are that they saw the comparison, and decided to go with it, or they intended it from the git-go. In either case they were making a decision to cast this into the political realm.

    Besides, “homage” to most young creatives…

    I don’t know what your point is here. I did not use the word “homage”.I am merely making the obvious point that they decided to use the exact same sentiments, framed around a very similar catch-phrase, on a subject that is at the heart of our political debates in a political season.

    But I doubt it.

    I see…its just totally a coincidence. I do not find that remotely plausible.

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  41. Doubter4444 says:

    @Brummagem Joe:
    This:
    Er…he’s an actor for godsake making a paid appearance in a TV commercial, what he thinks is irrelevant to the content and to any overt or subliminal message contained in the ad.
    Just to quickly unpack that a bit,
    First, Eastwood almost never shills, and he never (at least in the last twenty years or so), takes the cash for advertising work, he gives it away. He’s pretty devoid of the hollywood agent/manager/retinue crap that hangs on to most A listers – he super private.
    Plus he’s a million years old, and does not suffer fools.
    So doing this was a considered action by him. I’ll give his and his manager the credit for thinking though the implications, and since he did it, he obviously agreed with the message – subtext or not.

    Second, he would get approval on the script (which you can bet he did), and the cut of the spot (if he thought the ad guys were idiots, if he liked them, he would feel the need), so what he thinks is actually relevant, as he would not have done it if he thought there were overt political overtones.
    As for subliminal one, I personally don’t get them, I get it as a rah rah pull together spot, not an approval of the bailout or politically specific.

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  42. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Didn’t see the commercial, didn’t watch it here. Reading the text, the political implication is clear and visible all the way to Korea. The partisan content–not so much. That Karl Rove thinks this is Chicago-style politics is only Karl Rove being himself.

    Good luck running the country this way for 4 more years–no matter which hapless doofus you elect (or re-elect).

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  43. labman57 says:

    The resurrection of the U.S. auto industry was good for middle class America, and as we have repeatedly observed over the past 3 years, if it is good for the vast majority of Americans, then it is bad for the GOP.

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  44. Doubter4444 says:

    @Tano:

    That is a ludicrous statement. It starts off well – nothing is left to chance. You are telling me that in the process of developing this ad, none of these brilliant people sat up for a moment and said – “hey, halftime in America – y’mean kinda like morning in America”??? (thats assuming it wasn’t explicit from the beginning). None of these professionals saw the blatantly obvious comparison? Or are you saying that they saw it (maybe even intended it), but figured no one amongst the public would notice?

    What I’m saying (and said in the post) is that Advertising has a short memory, likes the shiny and new and is populated by 20-30-40 year olds that while they make have some historical reference, it’s much more likely that they wanted to do something cool, riveting.
    One of the upshots of the crash was a restructuring of advertising work in the Auto sector, and a lot of the old guard were left out in the cold.
    The people doing the work now are younger and “hipper” (whatever that means), and are looking ahead, not behind.
    Add that they were also working off the esthetic of previous commericals ( last years chrysler) and that if they were to reference something it would be in a more in your face way – as in taking the look and feel and design of the “Morning in America” work, not a nuanced spin off it.
    I’m not saying in is not possible, just not likely.
    As for the
    none of these brilliant people sat up for a moment and said – “hey, halftime in America – y’mean kinda like morning in America”??? (thats assuming it wasn’t explicit from the beginning).
    Yes, I’m saying that. Loudly.
    Again, maybe some creative director brought it up – but I really doubt it.
    I personally did not think about it in that way – maybe after you mentioning it – sure, but not rightaway.
    As for this:
    Or are you saying that they saw it (maybe even intended it), but figured no one amongst the public would notice?
    I’m just saying that I doubt it was intended to be an extension the “Morning America” stuff.
    And I used Homage, because I kinda think that:
    to use the exact same sentiments, framed around a very similar catch-phrase, on a subject that is at the heart of our political debates in a political season.
    Seems to be paying attention to the pervious work, in a kind of “homage”.
    Didn’t mean to throw you off, I know you did not use the exact phrase.

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  45. Doubter4444 says:

    By the way,
    none of these brilliant people sat up for a moment and said – “hey, halftime in America – y’mean kinda like morning in America”??? (thats assuming it wasn’t explicit from the beginning).
    This assumes the guys in the room were brilliant. That’s not necessarly true. They are very sharp, and smart. Jury is out on “brilliant”.

    The brilliant ad guys I was talking about, who came up with “Morning in America”, were Tom Messner and Barry Vetere working with Roger Ailes.

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  46. Tano says:

    Yes, I’m saying that. Loudly.
    Again, maybe some creative director brought it up – but I really doubt it.
    I personally did not think about it in that way – maybe after you mentioning it – sure, but not rightaway.

    Well, I don’t know what to say about that. I am a bit of a political junkie, but not really a media junkie, and the MiA message came through very loudly, instantly. It is very hard for me to believe that professionals in the field, no matter how young, would not be aware of one of the most iconic political ads in history.

    I mean, if Clint had picked up a daisy and picked off the petals as he recounted the hits that the auto industry, or America had taken, and then the camera zoomed in on one of his pupils until it filled the screen and then in the midst of the darkness we saw an atomic bomb go off – you think the brilliant (or not so brilliant) kids would have caught the reference? You think they could have put out an ad like that by coincidence?

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  47. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doubter4444:

    Just to quickly unpack that a bit,
    First, Eastwood almost never shills, and he never (at least in the last twenty years or so), takes the cash for advertising work, he gives it away.

    I don’t give a damn what he did with it or how much control he had over the script, I don’t even care if he walks on water. He was an actor paid to make an appearance in an ad. Period. I clearly stated I didn’t think anyone concerned had any intention of producing an overt or subliminal political message but inadvertently no doubt there is a subtext about the revival of the auto industry. So why all the need for special pleading?

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  48. anjin-san says:

    Er…he’s an actor for godsake making a paid appearance in a TV commercial, what he thinks is irrelevant to the content and to any overt or subliminal message contained in the ad.

    Do you have a clue how wealthy and influential this guy is? He is dialed in in a way few people ever dream of. If you think he is a hireling, you don’t get out much.

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  49. WR says:

    @Doubter4444: “The people doing the work now are younger and “hipper” (whatever that means), and are looking ahead, not behind.”

    If the ad biz is anything like the TV and movie biz, it means “cheaper.”

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  50. legion says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Which “other” banks would these have been? ALL THE MAJOR BANKS WERE INSOLVENT…. and their collapse would have taken the entire financial system down with them. What don’t you understand about this?

    All the “non-major” banks that _didn’t_ get involved in hyper-leveraged toxic mortgages. All the smaller banks that have failed _since_ the bailout precisely because they _didn’t get_ a bailout for betting (and losing with) other people’s money. A collapse of the majors would flatly _not_ have taken down the entire banking industry – that conclusion is simply ludicrous. Banking is one industry where the term “creative destruction” can be properly applied – yes, a lot of people would have been put out of work, but a large portion of them would have been hired back (or just brought over wholesale) as failing banks got bought out by survivors.

    The auto industry, OTOH, doesn’t work that way. Skills built up over years of building Ford Mustang engines don’t transfer as well to making Chevy diesel truck engines. While a bank collapse would have been damaging for many people, for some time, I still insist an auto failure would have had wider-reaching damage. The biggies wouldn’t have been offering credit, but the need would still be there, and other sources would rise to meet that need – your doomsday scenario of a worldwide fiscal collapse is completely overblown fantasy – the sort of thing to give folks like Soros or Buffett or the Koch bros. bad dreams, but absolutely unbelievable.

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  51. ernieyeball says:

    @Racehorse: “NFL: you have a problem.”

    “The Nielsen Co. said Monday that an estimated 111.3 million people watched the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots on Sunday night.”

    Problems like this they can live with!

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  52. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    A collapse of the majors would flatly _not_ have taken down the entire banking industry – that conclusion is simply ludicrous. Banking is one industry where the term “creative destruction” can be properly applied – yes, a lot of people would have been put out of work, but a large portion of them would have been hired back (or just brought over wholesale) as failing banks got bought out by survivors….. your doomsday scenario of a worldwide fiscal collapse is completely overblown fantasy – the sort of thing to give folks like Soros or Buffett or the Koch bros. bad dreams, but absolutely unbelievable.

    Enough already. None of this is rocket science but apparently it’s beyond your understanding. The majors handle nearly 70% of all the banking business in the US. If a collapse scenario was so ludicrous I guess that’s why the Fed/Treasury pumped in over $1.6 Trillion to prop up the system. And you’re not even addressing the issue of liquidity. As I’ve taken the trouble to explain to you businesses receive credit from banks and vendors and grant credit to their customers. Without it they can’t function. The vast majority of this revolving credit is financed by the banking system. If 70% of it went down the entire economic system would stall out. It’s not a matter of debate but fact however much you want to waffle about Mustangs and the Koch Bros.

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  53. Fiona says:

    Second, he would get approval on the script (which you can bet he did), and the cut of the spot (if he thought the ad guys were idiots, if he liked them, he would feel the need), so what he thinks is actually relevant, as he would not have done it if he thought there were overt political overtones.

    Eastwood has said that he did have control over the script and even rewrote parts of it to suit his needs. He’s also said that it wasn’t meant to be political, whatever anybody wants to read into it.

    http://news.yahoo.com/clint-eastwood-speaks-super-bowl-ad-025134634.html

    I just watched the Morning in America ad (ah the wonders of the Internet)–a Reagan America that was pretty much devoid of minorities–and while I can see some stylistic parallels, I doubt the creators of the Chrysler ad consciously channeled the MIA ad. It’s not like the Halftime ad was all that original and stuff like this hasn’t been done and redone many times over. Well-done and powerful–yes–but original–no.

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  54. Brummagem Joe says:

    @anjin-san:

    If you think he is a hireling, you don’t get out much.

    I know exactly who he is. I’ve stayed in his hotel in Carmel a few times. But in this context he was a hireling. The fact that he’s an iconic film star doesn’t alter the reality that he was making a paid appearance to promote a product. The point being that Eastwood’s predilictions in everything from politics to breakfast cereal are totally irrelevant to the content of this ad.

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  55. B-Rob says:

    Once again, I continue to believe that Obama is the luckiest politician in American history . . . it is almost as if he channels his opponent’s own destruction, then lets them carry it out.

    Let’s go back three years: credit markets were frozen, the Dow bottoms out around 6,600, unemployment was surging, and the auto companies were reeling, losing tens of billions of dollars. Bush and Cheney propose loans to keep the auto sector from imploding and exacerbating already bad unemployment numbers and bad GDP numbers. GOPers, to a person, opposed the Obama auto bailout and wanted a private sector bankruptcy, which had the severely high risk of simply not coming together given the lack of lending out there at the time.

    Fast forward to last week. We got upwardly revised 4th quarter GDP numbers, upwardly revised employment numbers, the unemployment rate dropped another two tenths of a percent, wonderful profits for the car companies, a Facebook IPO in the billions of valuation, and the Dow soared to a high not seen in years. The GOPers spent all day Friday through Sunday poo pooing the unemployment numbers. Then Clint comes out with his ad extolling the rebirth of Chrylser, the rebirth of Detroit, and the rebirth of America.

    As I posted on FB when I saw the ad, “This Clint Eastwood ad for Detroit and Chrysler . . . really not good for the GOPers . . . .”

    It was not pro-Obama as much as pro-Detroit, and therefore anti-GOPer, since they opposed the entire plan that worked out so well. The best reaction, though, would have been silence, not whining. But whining only serves to remind us which side they were one — not Clint’s side!

    And that is why I say Obama is lucky. Only Obama could Jedi-mind-trick the GOP to making Clint Eastwood and icon for the left!

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  56. ole sarge says:

    I’ve been to, or watched plenty of football games where the team ahead at half-time still lost the game. Half-time is the game changer…

    Those that were behind surged forward.

    Sure it was an endorsement for the Democrat Party?

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  57. Brummagem Joe says:

    @B-Rob:

    Their capacity for self destruction is unique. Now Isee they want to re fight the payroll extension and the Medicare doctor fix. Can you imagine any other items that reach right down into the heartland and spit in the face of middle America. And for dessert Ryan apparently is about to issue Scrap Medicare II.

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  58. Brummagem Joe says:

    @ole sarge:

    Sure it was an endorsement for the Democrat Party?

    What’s your daytime job? Casting the runes?

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  59. anjin-san says:

    @ Brummagem Joe

    Sorry, but I can’t imagine a circumstance where he does not have veto power over the content. Most likely he had considerable input well before shooting started.

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  60. anjin-san says:

    A collapse of the majors would flatly _not_ have taken down the entire banking industry

    Bank failure caused the depression, not the stock market crash. Of everything that happened in Sept. 2008, the proto-bank runs were by far the scariest. Do you really think FDIC can cover a cascade failure of major banks? The effects on individuals would be catastrophic. Factor in the consequences for businesses, and you have a meltdown on your hands.

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  61. legion says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Gee, pompous ass much? I have a very good grasp of what I’m talking about; you should try reading all of it before you decide the point I’m trying to make. I’m not “too stupid” to grasp the concept, I’m disagreeing with your conclusions. There’s a big difference between the financial system “stalling out” and having it fail completely. Yes, having some biggies hit the wall on the default swapping & speculation they’d been doing without proper backing assets would have been highly disruptive, but the thing about a “stall” is that it’s recoverable – the demand for financial services would have brought new players into the game, elevated smaller players into the majors, and (one hopes) left a solid object lesson in the minds of those remaining, giving us (again, one would hope) a stronger and more credible system than we have today.

    I’ve never said it would have_no_ impact, I simply disagreed with your assumption that, if we’d had to choose between car makers and banks, letting the banks drop would have put drastically more people out of work. I’ve defended this by pointing out that, when banks fail, their assets & customers tend to get gobbled up by other banks. It would have shaken a lot of trees, but If a major automaker went down, I strongly believe the impact would have been felt across a much broader range of the country, both geographically and economically. I’ve explained exactly why I think this is, but rather than actually argue that point, your response has been to repeat that if the majors failed, it would be the end of credit and therefore the end of civilized commerce, which I think is a huge exaggeration. Banking services (and, to a certain extent, the people who provide them) are rather fungible – credit provided by bank A can be replaced by credit from bank B. If bank A fails, its assets will be on the market for banks B, C, D, etc to pick up. The same doesn’t hold true for automakers. Do you have a cogent response to this position, or is your argument limited to “You are stupid. Fail ALL THE BANKS!” ?

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  62. legion says:

    @anjin-san: I think many of the issues that caused the ’08 crash were related to a lot of the majors playing fast & loose with assets, aided & abetted by ratings agencies & regulators that were largely in the tank for them. But that’s a casino that only the biggest of the big get to play at – there was certainly the _risk_ of a cascade meltdown, but only if _all_ the players (banks, the Fed, etc) acted irrationally and demanded full coverage for what were clearly bad bets, and I think there were enough people _not_ playing that game to pick up the pieces after the first few hit the ground.

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  63. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    “I’ve never said it would have_no_ impact, I simply disagreed with your assumption that, if we’d had to choose between car makers and banks, letting the banks drop would have put drastically more people out of work.”

    To start with I never posed it as a question of a choice between the banks and the auto industry and made it abundantly clear the auto industry had to be saved. But as to relative damage it’s a total no brainer. The collapse of the banking industry would have been infinitely more destructive to economic activity and hence jobs.

    If bank A fails, its assets will be on the market for banks B, C, D, etc to pick up.

    If 70% of the banking industry implodes (which would unquestionably have taken the smaller banks down too) who are banks B, C and D who magically acquire the wherewithal to take over BoA, Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, GS, et al?

    your response has been to repeat that if the majors failed, it would be the end of credit and therefore the end of civilized commerce, which I think is a huge exaggeration

    Now you’re in strawman territory I never said it was the end forever of civilised commerce but would have caused most the US economy to stall out for an undefined period with disastrous consequences. Neither did I say you were stupid. Just totally ignorant of the most basic knowledge of what you are talking about which is woefully apparent.

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  64. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    I think there were enough people _not_ playing that game to pick up the pieces after the first few hit the ground.

    So you think there were enough people around to pick up the pieces. So who were these people? Would you like to give us a list of the entities who had the resources and management capability to take over the assets and liabilities of 70% of the US banking community and inject $1.6 trillion of new funds in order for them to remain solvent. Should be easy for someone with your expertise in this subject.

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  65. legion says:

    @Brummagem Joe:
    1) 100% – 70% = 30%, not zero. This is basic algebra.
    2) When demand exceeds supply, new banks enter the market to meet that demand. The “source” of these new entrants would include (but not be limited to) the competent folks within that failed 70% who very much want to work again, supplemented by other people who weren’t bankers before, but feel they could do a better job than the people who just blew up. This is basic economics.
    3) You are an insulting pompous prick, and I’m done having this discussion with you. good day, sir.

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  66. Brummagem Joe says:

    @legion:

    When demand exceeds supply, new banks enter the market to meet that demand.

    But you can’t tell us who they are, how they were going spring up overnite and find trillions of dollars. Of the twelve largest banks probably nine or ten of them were zombies…the only two that might have made it thru were Wells Fargo and Morgan Chase but even that was doubtful in a conflagration of this size. The algebraic 30% is basically several thousand small banks and credit unions spread across the US who aren’t remotely capable of taking over the role of the giants. And while this magical process you think will be taking place occurs the US economy goes to hell in a handbasket.

    You are an insulting pompous prick,

    Exit stage left (hurling epithets) pursued by bear..

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  67. David M says:

    You two have almost beat this horse to death, but I’ll chip in again. At the time there were banks that were though to be too big to fail, and it was anticipated they would do a lot of damage to the economy if they collapsed. In a perfect world, yes other banks would step in to take the place of any banks that closed. The problem in 2008 was the other banks couldn’t step up in a timely manner, and the failures were likely to cascade through more banks, they were too interrelated. It’s not unreasonable to think the economic costs of not bailing out any institutions would have been larger than the cost of the bailouts. That doesn’t mean the bailouts were perfect or the terms shouldn’t have been more favorable to the taxpayers.

    All in all, good commercial, stupid controversy.

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  68. Brummagem Joe says:

    @David M:

    That doesn’t mean the bailouts were perfect or the terms shouldn’t have been more favorable to the taxpayers.

    I never said it was perfect and anyone can sit on the sidelines and critique but when you’re up to ass in alligators etc etc. The problem is people like Legion have a simplistic view and want heads on pikes regardless of reality and due process. Yep a lot of people got away with murder but that ultimately wasn’t a good enough reason to destroy the US banking system. The greater good?

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  69. Doubter4444 says:

    @WR:

    If the ad biz is anything like the TV and movie biz, it means “cheaper.”

    LOL, that’s the truth.

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