Clint Eastwood tells it like it is
Yesterday’s Super Bowl was the most viewed telvision event ever, with a world wide audience estimated at 111 million plus. Yeah, it was an exciting game, down to the last second failed Hail Mary pass in the dead end zone by the New England Patriots‘ Tom Brady. But it was the half time interregnum that has the advertising, entertainment, and political worlds all abuzz.
For the advertising industry, the Super Bowl is, well, the Super Bowl of advertising. Entire prime network television time shows are dedicated to airing the classics from Super Bowls past. Yesterday, a 30 second spot set a company’s advertising budget back a cool $3.5 mil.
For the entertainment industry, the half time show has featured nearly a half century of the world’s greatest performers including Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Dianna Ross, James Brown, Paul McCartney, Prince, Tom Petty, The Who, The Black Eyed Peas, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, U2, Boyz To Men, Stevie Wonder, and Phil Collins.
Last night featured a blow out performance by a remarkably retrained Madonna. It’s theme of “World Peace” played out against a backdrop of Egyptian, Spartan, cheerleading, and gospel singing motifs. It climaxed with Madoona disappearing in a cloud of smoke, singing: “Just like a prayer…Life is a mystery…I hear you call my name, and it feels like home.” The final shot is an overhead of the audience, the words “World Peace” illuminated in the darkness. (For a more cynical critique, see Spencer Kornhaber‘s review in the Atlantic.)
Madonna’s pop homage to World Peace
That leaves the political domain, something that Bowl sponsoring networks try to avoid like the plague. Overt (and increasingly negative) political commercials that innundate televison markets during national elections are routinely refused broadcast, buzz kills to what is otherwise a communal celebration of some the best athletes (and entertainers) in the world. Into the breach comes a 2 minute ad by Chrysler titled “It’s Halftime in America” , narrated by conservative icon Clint Eastwood (believed to have been on the short list of vice-presidential candidates for George H.W. Bush).
The ad is dominating post-Super Bowl commentary today on radio, television, and the internet. One camp has it that is is a non-political, feel good message about the resiliency of the American worker in the face of overwhelming economic odds. The other camp is composed almost entirely of Rethugs and their sympathizers, who see it as pro-Obama, Democratic party propaganda.
“I was frankly offended by it” Rove whined to Fux News today.
Celebrating the triumph of unionized American workers working in cooperation with management during some of the darkest days in American economic history is not something Rove and his ilk can easily abide. Especially given President Obama’s crucial leadership in helping put the auto industry back on its feet, saving over a million jobs, not to mention a critical component of US manufacturing strength (vital to it’s national security as well).
It is also a devastating contrast to the philosophy of with Rove’s anointed candidate, Willard Mitt Romney, who in late ’08 penned a NY Times editorial titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Goes to show just how desperate the Rethug establishment is becoming as they watch their brand implode from internecine warfare over who should bear the party’s presidential standard against President Obama this fall.
Meanwhile, Obama’s approval rating has once again reached 50%, a level not seen since last May when he succeeded in having UBL located and terminated. And the most recent national poll from WAPO/ABC shows him from moving from a tie with Romney just a couple of weeks ago to a 6 point lead today, concomitant with a significant rise in Romney’s negatives. (Thank you for your endorsement of his candidacy last week, Donald Trump!) No wonder Rove is “offended.”
And yeah, Clint. We all have heard “the roar of American engines” signalling that America is back, despite the best efforts of the Rethugs to keep it down pursuant to their schemes to regain the White House.
To quote their hero Ronnie Reagan: “Go ahead. Make my decade.”