'Halftime in America': Clint Eastwood Hates Car Company Bailouts, but Loves Car Company Commercials
The much-talked-about Crysler commercial starring Clint Eastwood is being praised, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
During halftime at Super Bowl XLVI yesterday, Chrysler unveiled a commercial titled "Halftime in America" starring the legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood.
"Halftime in America" was essentially a call that America could turn itself around, following Detroit's emergence from the depths of the housing-driven recession, and it's creating an enormous amount of buzz this morning.
You can view it here (and the script is below if you can't view the video).
And here is the script:
Now I have nothing against good old-fashioned patriotism, and I'm certainly glad that Detroit survived.
It’s halftime. Both teams are in their locker room discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half.
It’s halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game.
The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again.
I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.
But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one.
All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? And, how do we win?
Detroit’s showing us it can be done. And, what’s true about them is true about all of us.
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. Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.
But the reality is that this commercial made little sense coming from Chrysler, and absolutely zero sense when you factor in Clint Eastwood's appearance.
Let's break it down.
First of all, Clint Eastwood is a hardcore fiscal conservative.
You don't have to believe me -- you can take it straight from Clint, who told this to the L.A. Times in November 2011 (emphasis mine):
"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.”
Yep, you read that correctly. Clint Eastwood was against the auto bailouts!
Against the auto bailouts!
And yet he starred in a commercial from Chrysler -- a multiple-bailout recipient (remember 1980?) -- saying that an industry that survived only because of taxpayer support should inspire the nation to move forward.
The U.S. didn't rally around what any real fiscal conservative would consider was "right." The government threw money at the problem and fixed it. That's not to say that the auto bailouts were necessarily bad -- but let's acknowledge reality.
In fact, according to ProPublica, General Motors (GM), GMAC, and Chrysler still haven't returned all of their bailout money!
Even Ford (F) took $5.9 billion in government financing to retool factories.
Clint Eastwood may be an absolutely brilliant actor and director, but his appearance in this commercial stinks of hypocrisy.
Now, if America wants inspiration from major corporations and industries, there are other places to look -- like our booming tech sector.
For example, just look at how the very-American Apple (AAPL) has completely disrupted the historical Japanese dominance of the gadget industry. It just reported a monstrous quarter (see: Apple Earnings: Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence), while foreign electronics companies like Sony (SNE) and Panasonic are falling apart at the seams.
Or what about Google (GOOG), which organized the world's data? Or Facebook, which organized the world's people? These companies are the envy of the rest of the world, and they're making tons of money and creating high-paying jobs through good old-fashioned ingenuity.
When it comes to large-scale, life-changing technological innovations, America is beating the pants off the rest of the world.
It's not half-time for our innovative tech sector.
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It's half-time for the rest of the world -- and they know they're in for more pain.
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