Clint Eastwood to Karl Rove: 'Do you feel lucky?'
To paraphrase (badly) Neil Armstrong: "That was one small ad for Chrysler, one giant leap for political pundits."
Not to mention that Clint Eastwood apparently didn't "make Karl Rove's day," although I'm sure Bill O'Reilly was "feeling lucky" after Eastwood gave a statement to his Fox News show Tuesday night.
Chrysler's Super Bowl ad Sunday, which featured a deeply patriotic message delivered by Eastwood, was quickly decried by Rove and others as a sop to the Obama administration and its bailout of the U.S. auto industry.
On Monday on Fox News, Rove, in essence, drew first:
"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 and the best wishes of the management, which is benefited by getting a bunch of our money that they'll never pay back."
On Tuesday night's "The O'Reilly Factor,' Inspector Harry Callahan let Rove look down the barrel of his .44 Magnum:
"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 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. Chrysler to their credit didn’t even have cars in the ad. Anything they gave me for it went to charity. If Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, I say go for it."
Really, though, how did we get here? Do we have to start reading the tea leaves of Bud Light commercials for political messages?
And as for Chrysler, who knows what to think. The company, which is owned by the Italian automaker Fiat, puts out a simple, pro-America ad, then somehow gets bashed for being pro-Obama.
What, you think Chrysler was supposed to say "Hey, thanks for nothing, America and Mr. President; now buy our cars"?
Meanwhile, in its other ad -- for a Fiat 500 Abarth -- the Italian company features a Romanian supermodel (speaking Italian) who seduces a nerdy American on a street in some big American city.
What horrible message did that send? Oh, I know: That Obama's a European-style socialist, and that he's seeking to seduce Americans by flaunting the sex appeal of a native of a former Soviet bloc country, and he wants you to buy cars built in a profligate European nation that's deeply in debt, and ...
Although I will say, if someone calls Eastwood next year for a Super Bowl ad, I'm afraid his response will be right out of "Dirty Harry":
"Well, you can just get yourself another delivery boy."
-- Paul Whitefield
Photo: Scene from Chrysler's Super Bowl ad featuring Clint Eastwood. Credit: Chrysler