If you go by buzz there is no question that the Clint Eastwood ad “It’s Halftime in America”, for Chrysler was a Superbowl winner. It’s a great commercial that eclipses last year’s version, which itself was pretty good. It is of course the political charges by the Monday Morning quarterbacks in the Republican aparachnik, that give this spot real heat and can make it trend positively for Obama not just this week, but throughout the election season.
It’s strange, but it seems a chance series of elements coalesce to create a perfect election year narrative for Obama.
Combine an action hero living legend, the most depressed big city in America, and a bailed out car company, then drape it in a message of hope and glory and a call to those who are willing to fight hard and win.
“Yeah, it’s halftime in America, and our 2nd half’s about to begin”Nothing is more American than the football half-time speech, or more political. Every Republican
wants to win one for the “Gipper,” even if Reagan’s policies would virtually disqualify him for party leadership today.
It’s an incredibly powerful narrative. The idea of Barack Obama at the half-way point of his Presidency, refusing defeat and fighting on, and asking you to fight on with him. A national effort to “come from behind, and come together” and be great again. The car companies rescued and now thriving are the perfect illustration of why Obama should be given a second term. Biden may a windbag at times, but I’ll give him credit for his recent statement on why Obama should be reelected, “Bin Laden’s dead and GM is alive.” Good night, game over, drive home safely.
The ad itself is masterfully produced, with it’s placement right at halftime grabbing your attention as Clint Eastwood references the players of the game you are watching. Of course, there is no badder ass than Dirty Harry, as his cinematic speech about the wonders of a .44 Magnum is practically hymnal in these United States.
Seeing it live, about halfway through I myself thought that it seemed politically tinged, referencing the bail-outs, and division within the country, and the fact that people are out of work and hurting. But I quickly realized it was Chrysler’s follow-up commercial similar to last year's spot with Eminem. To a political junkie, or a hyper-sensitive republican operative, it screamed like an Obama ad. Karl Rove and Michelle Malkin quickly registered their offense, even as Clint Eastwood and Chrysler disclaimed any political intention, saying they were simply trying to engender some cheap sympathy, play on people’s patriotism, and ultimately move some iron and make some frackin’ money.
Most people will likely see this commercial for its original intent, to sell cars. Republicans are going through a “purity” phase in their party, and are so quick to witch hunt, they’ll turn on anyone who even talks about an “elephant in the room.” But while the Right may be deranged about Obama, it does know powerful political messaging when it sees it; and it gets positively nauseous when it sees a democrat benefiting from it. The Right's only conclusion can be of conspiracy, even if in this case there is no there, there.
Still that doesn't mean that the Obama reelection effort should just laugh this windfall off as a funny coincidence. This ad, and the concept of “It's Halftime in America,” is a gift from heaven to the Obama reelection effort, and they should pick this up and run with it. Like Robert Duvall’s character in the Paddy Chayefsky film Network says about his TV show “It’s a big fat big-titted hit.” It resonates perfectly with the never say die spirit of football, and America, and it’s a very effective way of framing the argument for Obama’s 2nd term, and against the people who’s only goal is to see him fail.
Football season will be in full season again during the election, “It's Halftime in America” makes people want to see the home team win, and the home team in this case is Obama.